Quebec mosque attack suspect liked Trump, Israeli army, French far-right

A screenshot from Bissonnette’s Facebook page shows he “liked” the official account of the Israeli army.

This article is being updated as new information is available.

The Facebook account of the man charged in the shooting attack that killed six persons and injured several more at a Quebec City mosque on Sunday evening indicates he was a fan of US President Donald Trump, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, the Israeli army and other far-right groups.

A fellow student of the suspect has also confirmed he had strong pro-Israel, anti-immigration and pro-Trump views.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, was arrested as a suspect in the slayings several miles from the mosque, after he called police himself, the newspaper Le Soleil reported.

A source close to the investigation, told the newspaper La Presse that during the hours-long interrogation following his arrest, Bissonnette did not conceal his hostility toward Muslims.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the shooting as a “terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge.”

Bissonnette appeared before a judge in Quebec City on Monday afternoon and was charged with six counts of premeditated murder and five counts of attempted murder.

Pro-Israel, pro-Trump

Bissonnette studied political science at the University of Laval.

Jean-Michel Allard-Prus, a fellow student, told Le Journal de Quebec that he often talked politics with Bissonnette.

“He has political ideas on the right, pro-Israel, anti-immigration,” Allard-Prus said. “I had a number of debates with him about Trump. He was obviously pro-Trump.”

Initially, police said there were two suspects and media named the other as Mohamed Khadir, reportedly in his 30s. He was detained near the mosque minutes after the shootings that took place when the building was packed for evening prayers.

But on Monday Quebec police said said only one of the men was a suspected shooter and the other was a witness.

Bissonnette is the suspected shooter.

The other man initially arrested and held over night before being released – his name is actually Mohamed Belkhadir – told La Presse that he had been been at prayers in the mosque on Sunday night, and then went outside to shovel snow on the steps. A short time later, he heard the gunshots that lasted 15 to 20 seconds. He then went inside to call emergency services. He saw an injured person and tried to assist. He then saw an armed man and ran away, not knowing the armed man was a police officer. “I thought it was someone who had come back to shoot,” he said.

Police evidently thought Belkhadir was a fleeing suspect and arrested him.

“I understand and respect that they caught me,” Belkhadir added. “They saw me run away and thought I was a suspect.”

Victims

Khaled Belkacemi (University of Laval)

On Monday evening Quebec authorities confirmed the names of the six persons killed.

They include Azzeddine Soufiane, 57, a Moroccan native and pillar of the local Muslim community who ran a grocery store near the mosque; Algerian native Abdelkrim (Karim) Hassane, 41; Mamadou Tanou Barry, 39, an accountant and married father, originally from Guinea; and Ibrahima Barry, 39, who worked for the public health system and had also immigrated from Guinea.

Also killed were Khaled Belkacemi, a professor of agriculture at the University of Laval and pharmacist Aboubaker Thabti.

Thabti had emigrated to Quebec from Tunisia in 2012 with his wife and three young children.

Well-wishers have left floral tributes and gathered near the mosque:

On Monday night thousands of people held a solidarity vigil near the mosque.

Far-right affinity?

Quebec media have pointed to the Facebook page of Bissonnette. The Facebook page became inaccessible some time after The Electronic Intifada made copies of it.

The Facebook page showed that Bissonnette has “liked” a number of political figures and entities which, if taken as signs of his views, may indicate far-right leanings.

A screenshot of Bissonnette’s Facebook page shows he “liked” far-right leaders Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen.

His “likes” include the official Facebook pages of Trump, Le Pen, the “Israel Defence Forces” and a group called “United with Israel.”

He “liked” Richard Dawkins, a leading proponent of “new atheism,” which often veers into strident Islamophobia.

Bissonnette also “liked” the nationalist Parti Québécois which ran a losing general election campaign in 2014 on a “Charter of Values” that was widely seen as promoting intolerance of Muslims. The party has strongly condemned the attack.

Most of the postings on his personal page showed Bissonnette engaging in mundane activities, including fishing and enjoying cheese pairings.

But the Quebec publication La Presse reported that Bissonnette was known as a troll to members of a Facebook group called Bienvenue aux réfugiés – Welcome to Refugees.

According to the group’s administrator, Bissonnette often posted comments attacking foreigners in general and feminists, who he termed “feminazis.”

Trump’s false news.

Meanwhile, the far-right outlet Fox News initially focused on Belkhadir – about whom next to nothing was known except his name and his reported Moroccan ancestry. It later updated its story, but only after disseminating the ultimately false impression that a Muslim man had been the shooter.

The Trump administration itself used the false information from Fox News to justify its ban on travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries.

This follows a familiar pattern of downplaying threats of right-wing violence and the possible political motives of suspected attackers when they are not of Arab ancestry or Muslim.

It ultimately turned out that Belkhadir is not a suspect at all.

Fox News headline emphasized Moroccan ancestry of man who turned out not to be involved in shooting.

Authorities have termed the shooting a “terrorist” attack but have yet to reveal any other motives.

While social media postings can’t tell the whole story, the US government clearly thinks they are relevant to discerning people’s beliefs or intentions.

The Trump administration is considering asking foreign visitors for their social media accounts, a policy that actually started under Obama.

In September, a man arrested for burning a Florida mosque had shared extreme pro-Israel and anti-Muslim propaganda on his Facebook page.

Dylann Roof, who was sentenced to death for murdering nine people at an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, had similarly used the Internet to spread his white supremacist creed.

The Quebec killings come at a time of heightened tension, amid protests over Trump’s ban on refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

An archived copy of Alexandre Bissonnette’s Facebook “Likes.”

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Comments

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A Trump supporter in Canada massacres Muslims in a mosque. A Trump spokesman in Washington then explains that this incident demonstrates the need to restrict entry of Muslims to the U.S.

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He also liked hitchins, dawkins, and the John Paul 2 plus other very confusion things...

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Christopher Hitchens wrote the book God Is Not Great.
He argued simplistically that religion is the root of all evil and war. It kinda stunk.
I don't know that a mass shooter has to have good consistent thinking on everything, but I can see how someone could like Hitchens' book while harboring bigotry against a religion.

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Ali, please add this to your website. It is a screenshot taken from Bissonnette's website before it was taken down. And he posted it on the same day in which the morning of which Trump signed the Muslim Ban.

Bissonnett posted the photo of a crusader about to kill and Bissonnette wrote "Hallelujah!" Two nights later, he went into the mosque and killed and injured many.

Please see it here and please post it in your website and tweets:

I tried posting it but the photo was not posted so please see it for yourself here as you scroll down...please ask all to retweet the particular photo and please mention that this is proof how Trump's Muslim Ban is dangerous and how it led to this carnage.

https://twitter.com/governoroo...

This shows how Trump's illegal and unconstitutional ban has led to "carnage" the word Trump used in his inaugural speech.

And the 6 killed is 6 more than what any immigrants or refugees from any of the 7 countries killed from looking at the data from 1975 to now.... zero were killed.

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He liked a number of sites but he was consistent in his support for hatemongers such as Trump and Le Pen.

And he expressed joy on Jan 27 saying Halellujah which in likelihood is in response to Trump signing that Muslim Ban which was on that day and probably in the morning. This is assuming that Governor Oopsies Tweet having that screen save of that photo before Facebook took Bissonnette's page was correct.

https://twitter.com/GovernorOo...

This is a very important photo for all to tweet and retweet.

On that photo as shown above he says Halellujah, he showed that photo of a Crusader knight with a sword in the position to kill someone.

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A few thoughts from Quebec: All Canada's 'terrorist' incidents have been perpetrated by caucasian born Canadians. And the premier was just boasting that Quebec City hadn't had a murder in 21 months.

Nonetheless, Quebec City has been ripe for this. Of course the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) "has strongly condemned the attack," as they must. But they have nurtured this sentiment here among their “pure laine” base ever since the party leader blamed immigrants for losing the separation referendum in 1995.

The 2014 PQ Charter of Values to which you refer was an unbashedly overt anti-Muslim hatefest that would make Trump blush, front and centre for a year before it brought down the government. Nonetheless, the Federal election turned entirely on Prime Minister Harper dog whistling that sentiment in Quebec in late 2o15, with the front-running socialist NDP criticism of it losing their support to the muted Liberals, hence PM Justin Trudeau.

As part of that inherent anti-immigrant "nationalist" sentiment here, the Quebec City french shock jocks take unique licence against immigrants (i.e. 'slant-eyed chink' is openly used for any Asian! I'll spare you the rest), which influences local culture, and they see Montreal as sin city for multi-culturalism.

Bissonnette was an innocent enough looking young man who is nothing more than a product of his local culture. That said, as the Liberal Premiere has noted, most but not all Quebecois find this acting out deplorable.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.