On Sunday night, the Muslim community suffered yet another blow as two armed men stormed a mosque in Quebec City. Six people have been confirmed dead, while another 8 were wounded as they gathered for evening prayer. Two suspects have been arrested for the shooting, one has been charged with six counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder. He has been identified as a white supremacist, and a Trump supporter with anti-foreigner and anti-feminist political positions. These views are thought to be the driving factor for the terror attack. It is likely that the attack was triggered by The Canadian Prime Minister’s backing of immigration and welcoming of refugees. This open armed approach by Canada’s leader has been a glimmer of hope for Muslim’s in areas of conflict as they seek refuge in the wake of President Trump’s Islamophobic campaign.
This attack on Islam has come after The President of The United States signed an executive order that bans travel entering The United States from 7 predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a contrasting approach, welcoming refugees and migrants from around the world. Trudeau tweeted saying “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength” as many seeking safety from crisis and conflict can no longer turn to America for refuge. While Canada has taken an open armed stance in welcoming Muslims in need, it seems that not everyone has been so welcoming in this attack that Trudeau described as a “terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge”. He further condemned the violence saying, “Muslim Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country”. While the attacks are disturbing and unsettling for all, especially members of the Muslim community, it is positive to see a world leader working to bring people together.
The mosque leader stated that “The neighbourhood is very peaceful. We have a good relationship with the government, the mayor of Quebec. We have no problem whatsoever,” However other local Muslims who attend the mosque have said “We are not safe here”. With Trump’s rise to power in America has seen an increase in hate and violence towards the Muslim community, even in their Canadian neighbours. While Trump has vilified many in the Muslim community, we hope that the rest of the world can be open and move towards peaceful resolution of the conflict and terror faced by millions around the world so that this unnecessary loss of life can come to an end.
Since the attack, Canadians and others around the world have sent their support. Islamic leader, Mohamed Labidi has said “We are touched by this solidarity … and it diminishes our pain”. In times full of hatred and violence, peace seems a long way away and it requires everyday citizens to stand together, despite religion, color and background. I commend Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his efforts to support refugees around the world and I hope that he continues to lead by example.
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