Feb 6, 2017
Six people were killed, eight others wounded in the January 29th terrorist attack on a mosque in Quebec City. The victims were all Canadian citizens who had come from other countries: Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Guinea.
Immediately after the attack, Fox News claimed that one of the shooters was a Moroccan national, heard yelling, “Allahu akbar!” Donald Trump’s press secretary jumped in, using the attack to justify Trump’s ban on Muslim immigrants.
In fact, the killer was neither Muslim, nor Moroccan, but rather a white French Canadian, Alexandre Bissonnette, a rabid anti-immigrant and anti-feminist nationalist – at least according to postings he had put on his own Facebook page. He also had declared himself a fan of Donald Trump, repeating some of Trump’s virulent comments about immigrants.
The mosque had already been the target of hate attacks. During Ramadan in 2016, the severed head of a pig was left at the mosque. Violently racist letters followed.
Those acts – like all terrorist actions – were aimed at creating a climate of fear, in this case among Muslims in Quebec. In the midst of increasingly fanatical nationalism, they led to murder.
Whether this was the act of a single deranged individual or a planned terrorist attack, it shows that the words of a racist demagogue can lead to murder.