Between Quebec’s Mosque and Paris’ Louvre


The imam of the mosque that was attacked in Canada’s Quebec City last week said during the funeral of three of the six victims of the shooting: “We have 17 orphans. We have six widows. We have five wounded.”

Hassan Guillet prayed for their speedy recovery and described the shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, as a victim brainwashed with extremist thoughts.

He said: “Before planting his bullets in the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas more dangerous than the bullets in his head.”

What Imam Guillet said has become more important than the debates on racial statements.

The world is indeed passing through a crisis of sick ideas managing to surpass borders, languages and values by making use of technology, political developments and chaos.

In Quebec, one man killed six worshippers. However, those engaged in wars of hatred and incitement are in the millions, an unprecedented situation that is affecting all societies in modern times.

What’s the difference between Alexandre, who attacked worshippers, and Abdullah al-Hamahmy, who traveled to Paris to attack and kill people at the Louvre Museum?

Both men are racists and extremists, yet they are victims of the era of extremism and hatred.

Hamahmy could have become a different person and could have lived his life as a moderate man, or he could have become an extremist and a victim of any of the other ideologies whether nationalist, communist, leftist, racist, Christian, Jew or Hindu.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and this could be a curse or a blessing as a person could become the victim of his environment.

The world has become contaminated amid this global negligence and recklessness toward extremism in general.

As Imam Guillet said, the ideas planted in both men’s heads are more dangerous than weapons and terrorist crimes.

Extremism is currently more evil than all the weapons possessed in the world today.

Wars nowadays differ from historic battles, which were waged by commanders, governments and where compromises were reached and there were winners and losers. However, that’s not the case with the wars of extremist ideas and hatred battles.

The international community is still confused on how to stop a possible conflict among nations and followers of religious groups. All societies are suffering from this crisis whether Buddhists in Myanmar, Muslims in Syria and Iraq, or Christians in the West.

The blaze of hatred is spreading as fast as messages of incitement through various communication means.

What about U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance that put him in the center of this controversy?

Of course, we cannot accept Trump’s stances as long as they are hostile to Muslims or Arabs or to other people from different religions and races.

As long as punishments imposed by Washington are limited to countries it politically disagrees with, like Iran, and as long as the decisions it takes are against countries that suffer from wars and a collapse in authority, like Syria and Libya, we cannot consider the U.S. decisions racist and hostile.

Many of our region’s governments have also shut their doors on the citizens of these countries out of fear and cautiousness.

Dutch Mosques Lock Their Doors During Prayer Times After Canada Attack

Four of the largest mosques in the Netherlands yesterday announced that they would lock their doors during prayer times after six people were killed in an attack on a mosque in the Canadian province of Quebec.

In a statement, the four mosques that include Masjid Al-Azraq in Amsterdam, Masid Al-Sunnah in the Hague, Masjid Al-Salam in Rotterdam and Masjid of Omar Al-Faruq in Utrecht said “We feel that we have to lock the doors of the mosque when prayers are taking place”. Many surveillance cameras have also been set up in the Al-Azraq mosque which is located in the south-western outskirts of the Dutch capital.

Thousands of worshippers take part in the prayers that are held in the four mosques daily. Saeed Bouhro, from the Dutch – Moroccan Council of Mosques told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the “barbaric acts such as the Quebec attack contribute to increasing the global hatred of Muslims”. He continued by saying that “the mosque is an open building that should be available at all times throughout the day for anyone looking for peace and tranquillity…But we must be cautious of such terrorist attacks. It is unfortunate that we are forced to take these strict safety procedures”. He also pointed out that the mosque leaders are in close contact with the Dutch National Coordinator for Security and Counter-terrorism.

The Netherlands is preparing for parliamentary elections in March and anti-Islam Dutch MP Geert Wilders is leading in opinion polls. Wilders has promised to close all mosques and Islamic schools and ban the Quran if he becomes prime minister.

Quebec Mosque Shooting Leaves Canada in Shock

Alexandre Bissonnette, a suspect in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque, is seen in a Facebook posting. Reuters

Quebec (Canada)- Six people were killed and eight wounded when gunmen opened fire at a Quebec City mosque during Sunday night prayers, in what Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “terrorist attack on Muslims.”

A French-Canadian university student was the sole suspect in the shooting at the mosque and was charged with the premeditated murder of the six people.

“Six people are confirmed dead – they range in age from 35 to about 70,” Quebec provincial police spokeswoman Christine Coulombe told reporters, adding that eight people were wounded and 39 were unharmed.

Court documents identified the gunman in the attack as Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, and charged him with six murder counts and five counts of attempted murder with a restricted weapon.

A second man, Mohamed el Khadir, was initially identified as an additional suspect by Quebec officials.

Reuters reported earlier that one of the suspects was of Moroccan origin.

However, police later announced there was only one suspect in the attack, and Khadir was identified as a witness.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement: “We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge.”

“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.”

The premier of Quebec province, Philippe Couillard, said security would be increased at mosques in Quebec City and Montreal.

“We are with you. You are home,” Couillard said, directing his comments at the province’s Muslim community.

“You are welcome in your home. We are all Quebecers. We must continue together to build an open welcoming and peaceful society.”

French President Francois Hollande condemned the attack.

“The terrorists wanted to attack the spirit of peace and tolerance of the citizens of Quebec,” Hollande said in a statement on Monday.

“France stands shoulder to shoulder with the victims and their families.”

Like France, Quebec has struggled at times to reconcile its secular identity with a rising Muslim population, many of them from North Africa.

In June last year, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of the cultural center.

U.S. President Donald Trump also called Trudeau to express his condolences “and offered to provide any assistance as needed,” said Trudeau spokesman Cameron Ahmad.

6 Killed as Canada PM Says Mosque Shooting is Terrorist Attack

Six people were killed and eight injured when gunmen opened fire at a Quebec City mosque during Sunday night prayers, a shooting that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned and called a “terrorist attack on Muslims”.

Police spokeswoman Christine Coulombe told journalists that two suspects had been arrested, but gave no details about them or what prompted the attack.
Initially, the mosque president said five people were killed and a witness said up to three gunmen had fired on about 40 people inside the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre. Police said only two people were involved in the attack.

“Six people are confirmed dead – they range in age from 35 to about 70,” Coulombe said, adding eight people were wounded and 39 were unharmed.

Trudeau said in a statement: “We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge.”
“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.”

“It is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence,” Trudeau said. “Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear.”

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume appeared visibly shaken.

“No person should have to pay with their life, for their race, their color, their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs,” Labeaume said.

The mayor of Gatineau, Quebec, near Canada’s capital of Ottawa, said there would be an increased police presence at mosques around his city following the attack.

The New York Police Department said it was stepping up patrols at mosques and other houses of worship.
“NYPD is providing additional protection for mosques in the city. All New Yorkers should be vigilant. If you see something, say something,” New York City Mayor Bill Blasio said 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,” Blasio said in another tweet.

The shooting came on the weekend that Trudeau said Canada would welcome refugees, after U.S. President Donald Trump suspended the U.S. refugee program and temporarily barred citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States on national security grounds.

French President Francois Hollande condemned “in the strongest possible terms” what he called the “odious attack” in Quebec.

“It’s the spirit of peace and openness of the people of Quebec that the terrorists wanted to hit,” said Hollande.
“France stands shoulder to shoulder with the victims and their families,” he added.