President Trump's Jan. 28 executive order barring nationals of seven Middle East countries from entering the US was immediately followed by the burning of a mosque in the south Texas town of Victoria. Two days after that, six were killed and eight others injured when at least two gunmen opened fire at a mosque in Quebec City. The attack came as worshippers were gathered for evening prayers at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. (Montreal Gazete) Now, amazingly, the White House is exploiting the Quebec attack to justify the very policy that may have inspired it. "We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms," press secretary Sean Spicer said at his daily briefing Jan. 30. "It's a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant, and why the president is taking steps to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to our nation's safety and security." (Toronto Star)
Another one to file under "Orwell would shit."
But it gets worse. One suspect in the Quebec attack has been arrested, identified as Alexandre Bissonnette, a student at Laval University. He is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. A former classmate told local media Bissonnette "has right-wing political ideas, pro-Israel, anti-immigration. I had many debates with him about Trump. He was obviously pro-Trump." (Heavy.com) A second man, Mohamed el-Khadir, was also detained, providing fodder for the right-wing media to gloat that the suspect was of Moroccan background and portray internecine Muslim-on-Muslim violence. Fox News was later forced to back-pedal: "But police later announced there was only one suspect in the attack, and Khadir was identified as a witness." By then, however, Fox had tweeted: "Suspect in Quebec mosque terror attack was of Moroccan origin, reports show"—with an image (intended to be ironic) showing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his words, "We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims." The tweet has not been deleted.
The Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec had been the target of xenophobic threats and vandalism in the past. Last July, in the middle of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a gift-wrapped pig's head was left at the front door with a note saying, "bon appétit." (CBC)