New Zealand mosque attacks resonate with Quebec Muslims

by - 2 min read

New Zealand mosque attacks resonate with Quebec Muslims

by - 2 min read


Muslims in Quebec who endured the mosque attack two years ago that killed six people say they’re particularly troubled by today’s shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that have left dozens dead and injured.

At least one man, an Australian, is charged with murder following the attacks in Christchurch during Friday prayers.

It’s believed that man may have been inspired in some way by Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette.

Photos posted online of the Australian man’s ammunition show the name of Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the Jan. 29, 2017, shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre.

“I don’t know why they’re targeting our community,” said Kais Chaouache, a member of the Quebec City mosque, who was there Friday morning. “We integrate well everywhere in the world. We try to be ambassadors of peace.”

Chaouache, who has lived in Quebec for 15 years, says it’s worrisome that safety seems to be diminishing. 

“Here, we belong to Quebec society; we are Quebecers. In New Zealand, same thing. Why were they targeted by this act?”

Mehmet Deger, imam at a Dorval mosque in Quebec, say attacks like the one in Quebec City two years ago and Friday’s in New Zealand are intended to divide communities. (CBC)

The mosque post on its Facebook page says the community is following the attack in New Zealand “with worry.”

Quebec City and Montreal police say they will be paying close attention to security around mosques. 

‘It hit like a ton of bricks’

“When I heard the news, it hit like a ton of bricks,” Mohammed Labidi, a co-founder and former president of the Quebec City mosque, told Radio-Canada on Friday morning. “It brings up the pain that we experienced here.”

Labidi called the events deplorable and said members of the Quebec mosque are in shock. 

“It’s sad that the world hasn’t learned a lesson after what happened to the innocent people who died here.”

Mehmet Deger, the imam at a Dorval mosque, says these types of actions are intended to divide the community, and the alleged shooter in New Zealand was brainwashed and is not an example of an entire society.

“Alexandre Bissonnette is another example of a brainwashed person,” Deger said.

Quebec Premier François Legault, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh all took to Twitter to express condolences to the victims and their families of Friday’s shootings.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet reacted.

This story originally appeared on CBC