It is with heavy hearts that we must report yet another tragic shooting attack that has taken the lives of at least five innocent Muslims in Quebec City, Canada. While details are still sparse at this time, numerous witnesses reported that three attackers opened fire on an evening prayer service at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center around 8 pm local time.
Mohamed Yangui, the mosque’s president, confirmed that at least five people were killed in the attack but did not specify a number of wounded. It is believed that at least forty people were gathered at the mosque for evening prayers at the time of the shooting. The Quebec City police have announced the detention of two suspects who have not been named, presenting the possibility of an armed and dangerous suspect on the loose.
Canadians of all stripes were quick to offer their support to the victims of the attack. Justin Trudeau, the nation’s prime minister, offered his condolences to the victims of the “cowardly attack.” While we should be careful not to speculate this early in the investigation, it seems almost inevitable that the attackers will be right-wingers of the Trumpist bent. And while Trump and his neo-fascist cronies will be quick to offer “thoughts and prayers” and hollow condemnations of the attack, there is little doubt that Mr. Trump and other conservatives’ inflammatory rhetoric and bigoted policies inspired the attack, just as they have hundreds of hate crimes since the November election.
Indeed there had already been dangerous signs of budding anti-Muslim violence in Canada at least since a divisive and hate-filled debate on banning the niqab in Quebec in 2013. Just last June, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a pig’s head was left at the same mosque attacked tonight, and a mosque outside of Toronto was firebombed the day after the 2015 Paris attacks.
There can no longer be any doubt that Trump and his ilk have opened a dangerous can of worms with their aggressively Islamophobic rhetoric. It is a cruel irony that such a fascist attack would occur even as Trump and his Republican cronies institute their shameful and illegal ban on Muslim refugees that was driven by Islamophobic fear-mongering. Outside the alternate reality of the Republicans’ Islamophobic fear bubble, right-wing terrorists have been responsible for the deaths of more American civilians since 9/11 than Islamic terrorists have. We say it’s time for President Trump to man up, say the words “radical right-wing terror” and institute a #RightWingBan to keep our nation safe.
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.