Canada: 6 people dead in attack on mosque

Six people were killed in a shooting attack on a mosque in Quebec City. The motive is still unconfirmed. 

A shooting attack on a mosque in Quebec City during evening prayers left six people dead and eight injured. One person remains under arrest for what Canada’s prime minister called an act of terrorism.

Two students at Quebec’s Université Laval were initially arrested for the slaughter. They were identified as Mohamed Khadir, of Moroccan origin, and Alexandre Bissonnette.

Later reports indicated that only Bissonnette remained a suspect and that Khadir was merely a witness.

Witnesses said the masked killers shouted Allahu Akbar [“God is greater” in Arabic] in what sounded like Quebecois accents as they went on the rampage.

Others say that Bissonnette is a white supremacist who disliked foreigners and specifically attacked Muslims.

Quebec provincial police spokeswoman Christine Coulombe said early Monday that some of the wounded were gravely injured. She said the dead were approximately 35 to 70 years of age. Thirty-nine people were unharmed. More than 50 were at the mosque at the time of the attack.

“The Muslim community was the target of this murderous attack,” Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said at an early morning press conference Monday. There will be solidarity rallies across the province, he added.

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume appeared visibly shaken.

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“No person should have to pay with their life, for their race, their color, their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs,” Labeaume stated.

Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre President Mohamed Yangui, who was not at the mosque during the attack but gathered details from people who were there, said the shooting occurred in the men’s section of the mosque. “We are sad for the families,” he said.

Ali Hamadi said he left the mosque a few minutes before the shooting. His friend and co-worker, Abdelkrim Hassen, a married father of three girls who worked in IT for the government, was killed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Couillard both characterized the attack as terrorism.

“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge,” Trudeau said in a statement. “It is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear.”

“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country,” he continued. “Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance.”

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The mayor of Gatineau, Quebec, near Canada’s capital of Ottawa, said there will be an increased police presence at mosques around his city following the attack.

The New York Police Department said it was also stepping up patrols at mosques and other houses of worship. “NYPD is providing additional protection for mosques in the city. All New Yorkers should be vigilant. If you see something, say something,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter.

“Our prayers tonight are with the people of Quebec City as they deal with a terrible attack on a mosque. We must stand together,” he said in another tweet.

No Known Motive

Canada’s public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, said on Twitter Sunday that he was deeply saddened by the loss of life. His office said no motive has been confirmed

In the summer of 2016, a pig’s head was left at the doorstep of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre. The incident occurred in the middle of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. Practicing Muslims do not eat pork.

However, no connection has yet been established between the two incidents.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff