On Sunday in Quebec City, six people were murdered and 19 were injured when a man opened fire on individuals worshipping in a mosque in the city. According to The Washington Post, Alexandre Bissonnette was charged with the crimes on Monday night. It was initially reported that there were two shooters at the scene, but one suspect was later released and determined to have only been a witness.
The attack comes after the news of a mosque in Texas being burned down on Saturday, the investigation of which is still ongoing.
Bissonnette turned himself in via a 911 phone call not far from the scene of the shooting. He was seen in court on Monday “under tight security wearing a white prison garment and looking downcast,” Reuters reports.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not mince words about the likely motivation of the attack. “This was a group of innocents targeted for practicing their faith...Make no mistake. This was a terrorist attack,” said Trudeau.
Bissonnette is a 27-year-old male student at Université Laval. In interviews with his neighbors and people who knew him, Bissonnette has also been described as “taking nationalist, pro-(French far-right politician Marine) Le Pen and anti-feminist positions at Laval University and on social media,” reports the BBC.
At a vigil held for the victims and survivors of the attack, Trudeau spoke further on the event and addressed Muslims in Canada personally. “"We stand with you. We love you and we support you and we will always defend and protect your right to gather together and pray today and every day," Trudeau said.
Isn’t that something? A leader with some humanity? U.S. politicians should take note.
The rest of the information about this individual and his motivations will come out during his trial, but let’s stop calling these kinds of beliefs “alt-right.” If the reports about Bissonnette are true, this is but another example of white supremacy at work. This is racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and violent hatred at their absolute worst.