Quebec mosque shooting
A mass shooting occurred on the evening of January 29, 2017, at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec (CCIQ; "Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec"), a mosque in Sainte-Foy, a suburb of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Six people were killed and eight injured after two gunmen opened fire just after the end of evening prayers at 8:00 p.m.
53 people were reported present at the time of the shooting. Two suspects had been arrested. Quebec and Canadian authorities are treating the shooting as a terrorist attack
There had been a longstanding debate in Quebec over how to integrate its growing Muslim population within its largely secular society, and a rise in Islamophobic incidents in the previous few years.
The Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec, also known as the Grande Mosquée de Québec, is in the city's Sainte-Foy region in the west end, and is one of several mosques in the city.
It is close to the Université Laval, which has many international students from French-speaking, Muslim-majority African countries.
In June 2016, during Ramadan, it was the target of a hate crime when a pig's head was left outside the mosque. That incident prompted the mosque to install CCTV security cameras.
Quebec City has a low crime rate; in 2015, there were only two homicides in the city.
According to witnesses at the scene, gunmen wearing either hoods or ski masks entered the mosque, shortly after the scheduled 7:30 pm prayers began. They began shooting at those who lingered in the mosque after prayer at about 7:55 pm, when the first calls to the police were made. According to one witness, the gunmen used an AK-47. According to one witness, the attackers were men who "dressed in black", had "Quebec accents", and who shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the shooting.
In the first press conference held by the Sûreté du Québec, the Quebec provincial police force confirmed that six people were killed, eight wounded, and thirty nine people were unharmed, but did not confirm any other details of the attack.
Two suspects were arrested. Details have been withheld by the Quebec police, however, according to TVA Nouvelles, one of the detained suspects had a Québécois background, while the other had an Arab background. One of the two suspects is 27 years old.
The first call to the police was made at 7:55 pm. Police created a dragnet and closed the bridge to the Île d'Orléans while searching for the suspects. Two suspects were arrested by police. One of the suspects was arrested at the mosque and the other after a chase that ended near Île d'Orléans. Police initially did not rule out the existence of a third shooter, but later confirmed that there were only two.
The injured were transported to different hospitals in Quebec City, such as the L'Hôpital de l'Enfant-Jésus and the Centre hospitalier de l'Université Laval.
At 10:40 pm, police declared that the situation was under control, with the building having been secured and the occupants evacuated.
Police began treating the attack as a terrorist incident at 10:00 pm and activated the SGPCT protocol to hand over control of the investigation to the provincial Integrated National Security Enforcement Team – a joint anti-terrorism task force comprising the Montreal police, the Sûreté du Québec, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Philippe Pichet, the chief of Montreal police, and Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, the mayor of Gatineau, both indicated that their cities would increase security around local mosques.
Martin Coiteux, the provincial public security minister, said that religious buildings in the province would be put under protective surveillance, and that religious buildings in the provincial capital would be protected by the Quebec City police.
Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume declared that the city would stand with the victims' families through what he called a "terrible ordeal that defies reason". Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard offered solidarity with the families and friends of the victims, and tweeted, "Quebec categorically rejects this barbaric violence." He also denounced the attack as terrorism and ordered that flags at the National Assembly of Quebec would be flown at half-mast. Labeaume and Couillard, along with Martin Coiteux, the provincial Minister of Public Safety, held a joint press conference and made a joint call for unity. At the conference, Couillard, spoke to Quebec's Muslim population, saying: "We're with you. You are home, you are welcome in your home. We're all Québécois."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also extended his condolences to the victims and denounced the shooting as a "cowardly attack" and as a "terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge".
New York mayor Bill de Blasio expressed solidarity with Quebec City, and announced that the NYPD would increase security around mosques in the city as a result. He added: "The awful attack in Quebec is not an outlier", he said. "Today, a mosque in Texas was burned to the ground. We must stop those who seek to divide us."
French President François Hollande added, "The terrorists wanted to attack the spirit of peace and tolerance of the citizens of Quebec. France stands shoulder to shoulder with the victims and their families".
Sources: wikipedia.org, news.lv
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