Home World U.S. News Alexandre Bissonnette: French-Canadian Student Charged over Quebec Mosque Attack

Alexandre Bissonnette: French-Canadian Student Charged over Quebec Mosque Attack


French-Canadian student Alexandre Bissonnette has been charged over the fatal shooting of six Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Quebec.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, faces six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder.

He briefly appeared in a Quebec City court over January 29 evening’s attack, during evening prayers at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center.

Vigils have been held across Canada to commemorate those killed and injured.

More than 50 people were at the mosque when the shooting erupted just before 8.00 PM on January 29.

Nineteen people were wounded – all men – and of five people still in hospital, two were in a critical condition.

Quebec provincial police have released the names of all six victims who were killed: Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

Alexandre Bissonnette did not enter a plea as he appeared in court on January 30, wearing a white prison-issue jump suit, his hands and feet shackled.

Image source Facebook

He was arrested in his car on a bridge leading from Quebec City to Ile d’Orleans, where he called police to say he wanted to co-operate with the authorities.

According to local media, Alexandre Bissonnette studied political science and anthropology at Laval University, whose campus is about 2 miles away from the mosque.

Francois Deschamps, an official with an advocacy group, Welcome to Refugees, said Alexandre Bissonnette was known for his far-right views.

The suspect was “unfortunately known to many activists in Quebec for taking nationalist, pro-Le Pen and anti-feminist positions at Laval University and on social media”, Francois Deschamps posted on the organization’s Facebook page.

A man of Moroccan heritage who was also arrested after the attack, Mohamed Khadir, is now being treated as a witness.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard both described the shooting as a terrorist attack.

Addressing the more than one million Muslims who live in Canada, Justin Trudeau said: “We are with you.

“Thirty-six million hearts are breaking with yours. Know that we value you.”

The shooting came amid heightened global tensions over Donald Trump’s travel ban on immigration from seven Muslim countries.

On January 31, the US administration pointed to the Quebec attack as further justification for the new president’s policies.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said: “We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms.

“It’s a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the president is taking steps to be pro-active, rather than reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety and security.”

The mosque has been a target of hate crimes in the past, including last summer when a pig’s head was left on its doorstep during Ramadan.

Mohamed Labidi, vice-president of the Islamic center, said the victims had been shot in the back.

The predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec has welcomed thousands of immigrants from Arab countries and other nations.