Quebec’s Muslim community members are overcome with sorrow but grateful for the sense of solidarity in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Quebec City mosque Sunday night.
The Sunday night shooting at Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre killed six people and injured eight others. All of the victims were men between the ages of 39 and 60, police said this morning.
As members of the mourning Muslim community spoke alongside politicians at a press conference today, some speakers appeared emotional, and one even broke down crying.
One member of the targeted mosque said in English that there’s a large sadness in the community because they take care of each other as brothers; the mosque member said each victim has a family and is a father.
Another mosque member said in French that the people who were most targeted inside the mosque were those standing in prayer. He said the attack was a shock, and said they will ask the city to secure their place of prayer. He added, crying, that it warms his heart to see solidarity from everyone.
Another mosque member said in French that there are no words to describe the unity that has grown out of the tragedy. The mosque member said they feel proud to be Canadian and from Quebec, calling it the most wonderful city in the world.
A female mosque member condemned the violence, saying in French that they are against any violent act against any human being.
The Eiffel Tower went dark at midnight local time as a tribute to the victims.
The Muslim community members said they have been targeted before but added that they do not live in fear.
The Quebec police said this morning that all local mosques have increased security.
The suspect in custody was identified as Alexandre Bissonnette, according to law enforcement sources.
The motive is not clear and police said this morning the investigation is ongoing.
The mosque shooting comes two days after President Donald Trump’s Friday travel ban affecting people from seven predominately Muslim countries, and one day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on Saturday, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith.”
Trudeau called the mosque shooting a “terrorist attack on Muslims.”
“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,” Trudeau said in a statement. “Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.”
Addressing Canada’s parliament today, Trudeau said, “To the more than 1 million Canadians who profess the Muslim faith, I want to say directly: We are with you. Thirty-six million hearts are breaking with yours.”
“We will get to the bottom of this,” Trudeau added. “Canadians will not be intimidated. We will not meet violence with more violence. We will meet fear and hatred with love and compassion, always.”
Philippe Couillard, premier of Quebec, who also called the shooting terrorism, said in French at the press conference that everyone is united today.
Couillard vowed to stand with Muslims in the community, saying in a statement that Quebec should not withdraw as a result of such violence and become a closed society because of the shooting, and should instead continue to welcome everyone.
Trump called Trudeau this morning to express his condolences and offer assistance, according to Trudeau’s office.