Shame and sadness . . .
That’s how I and, no doubt, so many other Quebecers and Canadians feel today after what appears to have been a terrorist attack on a mosque Sunday night in Quebec City, killing at least six people and injuring dozens of others who were praying.
Canada is an inclusive country. We have opened our doors to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, and on Saturday our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, reassured Muslims in light of the ban in the United States that they are welcome here. Our country has been applauded around the world.
Today, Muslims in Canada — particularly Quebec — do not feel safe. And I don’t think the reassurances of our political leaders today and of the population in general will comfort Muslims very much.
So, who committed the crime? Who is responsible? What was their motivation?
Police have not released the names of two suspects being held, and we still don’t know if there are more suspects. But the blame lies with those who committed the crime — no one else.
Not Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon. Not ISIS. Not Satan . . .
No doubt, Trump, Bannon and ISIS, if not Satan, probably influenced the killers. But they didn’t pull the triggers Sunday night.
Quebecers and all Canadians today will face a grim fact: bigotry and extremism exist in Canada, too — the sort of bigotry we have seen in mass shootings in the United States, the sort of bigotry we have seen in the murderous rampages of ISIS.
I’m not sure how or even if we can reach into the hearts of those who hate and help them learn to love . . .
I just don’t know.
Photo: Quebec City. Photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) 88M Views via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
I hope you didn’t have the ilusion that you don’t have any latent terrorists from the far right, religious fanatics and other (fringe) groups that now feel vindicated with events like Brexit, Trump and his cronies, and more of how as a society we are slipping back into attitudes that should never have survived the dark ages…
In Europe just as much.
I wasn’t completely surprised to hear the terrible news on Sunday night. I heard a report on CBC radio in Montreal back in December about groups of “brownshirts,” who were going around the streets of Quebec claiming to be “patrolling,” in support of the police, (the police have NOT sanctioned this,). They were harassing immigrants, and people of color (who may be natural born Canadians,) asking if they have proper documents, questioning their right to be in Canada. It was obviously reminiscent of the early days of Nazi thugs in Germany, and very unsettling. I would find it hard to believe that it was just a coincidence that this attack occurred on the same weekend that Trump started detaining legal immigrants and visitors in the States. Just as there has been a marked increase in hate crimes being reported throughout the States, there are bigots outside the U.S., some with terrorist intent, feeling emboldened by Trump’s election, and other events around the world where hateful voices are rising in prominence.
It is difficult to imagine this type of horror coming to Quebec. I’ve only visited there as a tourist, back during the quadricentenial celebrations, and the huge Paul McCartney concert on the Plains of Abraham. Remembering the happiness in town that weekend, with people from all across North America, seeing license plates from British Columbia, and west coast states, (who drove there to see Sir Paul,) and the beauty of the city, both that which was there for the celebrations and just the traditional scenes that are always there in that great historic city. It is very sad to think of that city in such a different way, today.
It appears at this point the shootings were committed by one person unaffiliated with any groups. Just a very disturbed young man — if the allegations are correct.
I want to know how he got the gun he used. How did a college student get his hands on that type of illegal weapon? It’s also very unnerving his history of hateful comments against women and minorities, and maybe Muslims. There are so many individuals out there who make such comments, in a disconnected manner which the internet allows, but we are now in a time when more of these individuals may be feeling encouraged to take things beyond mere words.
It is also embarrassing, with all the fine statements of support and standing with Quebec which are pouring in from all over the world, and the important words being spoken by Canadians across the country and locally, that Trump’s White House only see’s this as a chance to try and justify their foolish, and illegal, banning of Muslims from the U.S. How does an attack against Muslims, some of whom are immigrants, by a native born citizen provide justification for keeping Muslims out of a country? It seems this tragic incident is pushing Trump even further from sensibility. Or, perhaps he may be feeling some sense of guilt, which he is trying to bury under denial.
Lots of questions still to be answered in this case. I was writing a post this morning mentioning the White House comments, but I didn’t have time to finish it. Will get to it . . .