Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the shooting at a Quebec City mosque during evening prayers an act of terrorism. Six people had died in the brutal attack. Police arrested two suspects, including one who called 911 to say he was armed but ready to give himself up.
More than 50 people were at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre when the shooting erupted last night. In addition to the six who died, five were in critical condition and 12 others suffered minor injuries, University of Quebec Hospital Centre spokeswoman Genevieve Dupuis said on Monday.
The dead ranged in age from age 35 to 65. One suspect was arrested at the scene and another in his car nearby on a bridge near d'Orleans, where he called 911 to say he wanted to cooperate with police. Police said they did not believe there were other suspects but were investigating.
Police didn't give a possible motive or release names of the suspects, who they said were in their late 20s or early 30s and had no prior police records. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard both characterised the attack as a terrorist act, which came amid heightened tensions worldwide over President Donald Trump's travel ban on several Muslim countries.
"We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge," Trudeau said in a statement. "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. "Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our nationalfabric, and these senseless acts have no place in ourcommunities, cities and country," he said.
Canada is generally very welcoming toward immigrants and all religions, but the French-speaking province of Quebec has had a long-simmering debate about race and religious accommodation. The previous separatist government of the province calledfor a ban on ostentatious religious symbols such as the hijab in public institutions.
"The Muslim community was the target of this murderous attack," Couillard said at an early morning news conference. He said solidarity rallies would be held across Quebec on Monday.
Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume, appearing shaken, said, "No person should have to pay with their life, for their race,their colour, their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs," Labeaume said. Cultural Centre President Mohamed Yangui said the shooting occurred in the men's section of the mosque.
He said he wasn't at the centre when the attack occurred, but he got some details from people on the scene. Ali Hamadi said he left the mosque a few minutes before the shooting and said a friend, Abdelkrim Hassen was killed. He said Hassen, who worked in information technology forthe government, had three daughters and a wife, whom he had tonotify of the death.