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Religious Tolerance logo

Mass murder of religious minorities.

Shooting in Quebec mosque shakes
. Part 2: Cause? Reactions.

Latest update: 2017-FEB-05

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This topic is continued here from the previous essay

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What triggered the event? (Continued):

Also, during the second half of 2017-FEB, two mosques in Texas were burned to the ground. One was at Lake Travis; the other in Victoria.

It is quite possible that the President's executive order might have emboldened the Quebec shooter to attack people in the mosque. After all, if a person with the stature of the President of the United States treated Muslim immigrants with such contempt, then the shooter's might have been motivated to attack Muslims with bullets. On the other hand, the executive order may not have been involved; the gunman might have been planning the attack for some time.

The accused is Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, who was born and raised in Canada. He is a student in the faculty of social sciences at Université Laval. He is also an employee of Héma-Québec -- a non-profit organization that manages the blood supply for the province of Quebec.

Catherine Solyom, a reporter for the Montreal Gazette, wrote:

"Héma-Québec expressed its deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of the tragedy and will not provide any further comments regarding Bissonnette so as not to hinder the police investigation. 

Earlier in the day, police searched the home of Bissonnette’s parents in the Cap-Rouge district of Quebec City.

The young man, who appears to have acted alone despite initial reports of a second gunman, did not have a previous criminal record and was known as an introvert, and a victim of bullying in school." 1

Ian Austen & Craig Smith, writing for the New York Times, said:

""Mr. Bissonnette was well known to people who monitor far-right groups in Quebec, where he frequently commented on sites speaking about immigration and Islam. He was a particularly vocal supporter of Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far right National Front party, when she visited the city last year." 2

Alexandre Bissonnette has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.

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Fox News misreports events and apologizes after the Canadian government complained:

At 12:31 PM on Monday, JAN-30, Fox News dispatched a tweet saying:

"Suspect in Quebec mosque terror attack was of Moroccan origin, reports show."

Actually, the "suspect" referred to was Mohamed Belkhadir, an engineering student who was born in Morocco and a member of the mosque. He was not a perpetrator; he was the witness who alerted police by phone about the shooting. Alexandre Bissonnette, the alleged shooter, was born and raised in Quebec.

Kate Purchase is the Director of Communications for the Canadian federal government. On Tuesday, JAN-31, she wrote to Fox News, demanding that their tweet be taken down or corrected. She wrote:

"Canada is an open, welcoming country that stands by its citizens. We are a nation of millions of immigrants and refugees, of hundreds of cultures, languages, and religions bound by one, unwavering, unshakable belief: we are stronger not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

These tweets by Fox News dishonour the memory of the six [murder] victims and their families by spreading misinformation, playing identity politics, and perpetuating fear and division within our communities. ..."

Muslims are predominantly the greatest victims of terrorist acts around the world. To paint terrorists with a broad brush that extends to all Muslims is not just ignorant — it is irresponsible.

If we allow individuals and organizations to succeed by scaring people, we do not actually end up any safer. Fear does not make us safer. It makes us weaker. Ramping up fear and closing our borders is not a solution. It distracts from the real issues that affect people’s day to day life."

She referred to "six victims" in her letter. Actually there were apparently about 25 victims, of whom six were killed and perhaps 19 were injured.

Later on Tuesday evening, Fox News deleted the original tweet.

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Responses to the shootings across Canada:

Ian Austen & Craig Smith, writing for the New York Times, said:

"In a world often hostile to migration, Canada has stood out, welcoming thousands of refugees fleeing war and seeking a haven. It has been a feel-good time for Canada, proud of its national tolerance. ..."

"The nation quickly rallied after the attack. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it an act of terrorism, and there was a collective outpouring of remorse and empathy. But the attack also forced Canadians to confront a growing intolerance and extremism that has taken root particularly among some people in this French-speaking corner of the country.

It was also a wrenching event for a country not accustomed to mass killings and even less used to the acrimonious immigration debate that has echoed from across the United States. Before Sunday, many Canadians were watching the immigration ban there with fascination and, for the most part, disgust." 2

By Thursday morning, FEB-02, 4,941 people had donated $294 thousand dollars towards a $300,000 goal via the GoFundMe web site. 3,4 The LaunchGood web site has collected $148,000 from 2024 supporters toward their $250,000 goal. 5

Mohammad Fakih, the CEO of Paramount Fine Foods has offered to cover the funeral costs for the six men killed. He has also volunteered to pay the costs of repairing the mosque. 3.4

Ahmed Elrefai is an administrator at the mosque. He said that he and his fellow administrators are planning renovations to the building to change its appearance. He said:

"We are all Canadians. We live in Quebec so we are Québé​cois, and we're going to stay here, and this is our message to people."

Negi Gadab is a member of the mosque. He returned to pray on the morning of FEB-01. He said:

"The mosque must reopen. We must say to terrorists that we're here and we won't go away. We don't want them to attain their goal: that we stop praying."

Amel Henchiri is another member. She said, with tears in her eyes:

"Before the shooting, this was our place of worship. It was our place of peace. But today, it will remind us that humans make mistakes. It will remind us that there are people in the world who don't accept difference. In spite of the pain, it's our right to be here." 6

David Hyde, an independent security consultant, said that investigators often comb:

"... through the different forums [in social media where the shooter] has been speaking on or was involved in. It’s very often the case there is information in there that reflects the state of mind of the individual over time." 3

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Catherine Solyom, "Quebec mosque shooting: Alexandre Bissonnette faces 11 charges," Montreal Gazette, 2017-JAN-31, at:
  2. Ian Austen & Craig Smith, "Quebec Mosque Attack Forces Canadians to Confront a Strain of Intolerance," New York Times, 2017-JAN-30, at:
  3. Simon Druker & James Cybulski, "Donations continue to pour in following Quebec mosque shooting," News 1130, 2017-FEB-01, at:
  4. "Support Victims of #QuebecMosque," Go Fund Me, 2017-FEB-01, at:
  5. "Helping the families and victims of Quebec mosque shooting." Launch Good, 2017-FEB-01, at:
  6.  Kamila Hinkson & Jonathan Monteptit, "Quebec City mosque opens doors to reveal traces of carnage that occurred inside," CBC News, 2017-FEB-01, at:

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Posted on: 2017-FEB-02
B.A. Robinson
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