Two suspects are in custody after gunmen opened fire in a Quebec mosque, killing six and injuring eight. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned it as an act of terrorism aimed at the Muslim community.
"It is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear," Trudeau said in a statement.
The identities of the suspects have not yet been released. Nor have authorities identified a motive in the attack on some 40-50 worshipers gathered at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre. Mass shootings in Canada are rare, reports USA Today.
It comes amid heightened tensions worldwide over President Trump’s ban on admitting refugees and travel restrictions on certain Muslim countries.
"Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country," Trudeau said in his statement. "Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance."
At least one news outlet mistakenly reported that two white supremacists were identified as the shooters, sourcing the details to a fake Reuters Twitter account. CBC News reports that the attackers were masked, had Québécois accents, and yelled "Allahu akbar" as they fired upon praying congregants. A witness told them that...
"... the bullets hit people that were praying. People who were praying lost their lives. A bullet passed right over my head.
"There were even kids. There was even a three-year-old who was with his father," the witness said.
Reuters reports that a pig's head was left on the cultural center's door last year.
We are not safe here," said Mohammed Oudghiri, who normally attends prayers at the mosque in the middle-class, residential area, but did not on Sunday.
Oudghiri said he had lived in Quebec for 42 years but was now "very worried" and thinking of moving back to Morocco.
1:40 pm EST: The BBC reports that one of the two detainees is no longer considered a suspect, but not which.
Photo: Mathieu Belanger / Reuters