A mass shooting at Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec, Canada, left six people dead and 19 injured in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “terrorist attack on Muslims.”
Immediately after the attack, politicians and news outlets quickly labeled the shooter as a Muslim, without any proof, based on shaky witness statements and the fact that initially two men initially were taken into custody, one of whom was identified as Mohamed Belkhadir.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer immediately tried to cash in on the baseless accusations and used it to justify U.S. President Donald Trump’s unconstitutional executive ban on immigrants from certain Muslim countries.
Had a Muslim walked into a white baptist church and done this, Trump would be OUTRAGED. The shooter was white, so he's moved on. https://t.co/N9QOQbCBTF— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 31, 2017
A Redditor started a hoax on a Trump forum claiming that the gunman was actually a Syrian refugee.
Additionally, Fox News “reported” a witness claimed he heard one man shout “Allahu akbar” (an Arabic phrase that means God is great) and then stated on their news channel the suspect was Moroccan.
The fake news was not taken down long after the suspect was confirmed to be 27-year-old French Canadian Alexandre Bissonnette — who is, incidentally, neither a Muslim, nor a Moroccan, or a Syrian for that matter.
In fact, the supposed Moroccan suspect, Belkhadir, was a worshipper at the mosque at the time of the shooting and was the one who called 911. He was trying to deliver first aid to a wounded friend when he saw a police officer approaching with a rifle. Belkhadir mistook the officer for the gunman and so he ran for his life. He was then taken into custody but was released by the police and he is now one of the witnesses to the crime.
As for the other — and the only — suspected shooter, Bissonette, a lot of news channels have started calling him “the lone wolf” rather than a terrorist — quite unlike what they first did when they thought the perpetrator was a Muslim.
getting real sick of white terrorists being called "lone wolfs" #AlexandreBissonnette— WHOMST (@spookyvirgo) January 30, 2017
In fact, a lot of news organizations are asserting the man was a political science and anthropology student at Universite Laval in Quebec City, the grandson of a decorated World War II veteran, is “shy” and “timid,” did not have many friends, was not “taken seriously” by classmates and was apparently bullied at school — in a stereotypical ploy to humanize white shooters and make them out to be misunderstood human beings.
4. The confessed killer Alexandre Bissonnette has a distinct and recognizable profile: anti-feminist, admires Trump & Le Pen.— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) January 31, 2017
Alexandre Bissonnette looks like an ordinary guy, like someone we all know. It will take time before we find answers to why this happened.— Steve Santerre (@stevesanterre) January 30, 2017
However, the fact remains that Alexandre Bissonnette is a racist, Islamophobic, misogynistic white terrorist.
Here’s what we know about him so far:
White Supremacist Views
Jean-Michel Allard-Prus, who was a classmate of Bissonette, told the local newspaper Le Journal de Quebec that the man “has right-wing political ideas, pro-Israel, anti-immigration. I had many debates with him about Trump. He was obviously pro-Trump.”
Another classmate, Vincent Boissoneault told the Globe and Mail “I can tell you he was certainly no Muslim convert. I wrote him off as a xenophobe. I didn’t even think of him as totally racist, but he was enthralled by a borderline racist nationalist movement.”
Eric Debroise, another of Bissonette’s acquaintance told the police, he was “very right and (an) ultra nationalist white supremacist. He really liked Trump and had a permanent discontent with the left.”
In fact, Francois Deschamps, who heads a civil rights group, said he recognized Bissonette as the “troll” who had been hostile to their group on social media.
Anti-Refugee and Anti-Feminist Views
Deschamps also claimed Bissonnette targeted feminists groups.
“He was someone who made frequent extreme comments in social media denigrating refugees and feminism,” he said. “It wasn't outright hate, rather part of this new nationalist conservative identity movement that is more intolerant than hateful.”
According to Bissonette’s Facebook page, — which has been taken down — he was inspired by French far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, of the nationalist, anti-immigration Front National, along with Islamic critics Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, Donald Trump and the Israeli Defense Forces.
He began discussing politics on Facebook after which he was abandoned by many of his friends.
After committing the atrocious crime, Bissonnette then called 911, reported the incident to them and said he was going to shoot himself. When the police arrived, they saw he was armed with an “AK-47” and a handgun, yet he was arrested with no shots fired — unlike some non-white people.
Bissonnette, miraculously, turned himself in, but the fact remains that if he hadn’t confessed, who would have taken the fall for his crime?
The irresponsible news organizations and even the U.S. administration were quick to condemn an innocent Muslim man for the heinous act despite knowing so little of what happened.
Even after it was confirmed the man was a white nationalist, news channels delayed in reporting the fact (some have not even taken off the story as of writing this) and this kind of reckless “journalism” has enabled people with Islamophobic views, primarily Trump’s White House, to justify that Trump was right to ban Muslims from the country.
Congrats to lunatic bigot Trump on his first 6 Muslim kills via his huge fan Alexandre Bissonnette: Only 1.6 billion Muslims left to kill!— Bill Madden (@activist360) January 31, 2017
Alexandre Bissonnette— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) January 30, 2017
A white terrorist who defended Trump and disliked Muslims.
And all whites are not terrorists.
Same for Muslims.
Banner / Thumbnail Credit : Reuters