Quebec provincial police have charged Alexandre Bissonette with six counts of murder in the Quebec shooting attack of Sunday night. They have not speculated on the motive for the attack. One of those earlier arrested had been identified as Moroccan in origin, but his role in the attack may have been as witness. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to brand Sunday’s attack as a “terrorist attack on Muslims,” as he said in the Canadian House of Commons today and in an official statement.
President Donald Trump called Trudeau this morning when the president offered his condolences and any support that may be requested.
Early reports suggested that Bissonette may be a student at Quebec City’s Laval University. Ever since news of the attack first broke, there has been widespread speculation throughout social media that the attack may not have been instigated by anti-Muslim fanatics. Police at a morning news conference refused to label the attack as “Islamophobic” and would not comment on the weapons used.
Canada has some of the strictest gun control regulations in the world.
A joint-task force, including the Quebec provincial police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, is investigating what has been designated as a terrorist incident.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard also issued a statement to assure Canadian Muslims of their acceptance in Canadian society.
“I want to say a few words to our Québécois compatriots of the Muslim confession. We’re with you. You are home, you are welcome in your home. We’re all Québécois,” said Mr. Couillard.
In his official statement, Trudeau insisted that Muslim-Canadians hold a special place in Canadian society and underlined his oft-repeated claim that “diversity is our strength.”
“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge.
“While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, 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. 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.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also chimed in and said the NYPD would be augmenting its presence around NYC mosques after the attack.
“All New Yorkers should be vigilant. If you see something, say something,” he wrote 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.”
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