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.