Canadian mosque victims were African immigrants building up community
Canadian authorities have identified the six men of African origin who were killed during prayers Sunday night at a mosque in Quebec City, as their Canadian neighbors took to the streets in solidarity with the Muslim community.
The men were killed when 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette, a student influenced by the rhetoric of United States President Donald Trump and France’s National Front politician Marine LePen, opened fire on the mosque. Canada’s The Globe and Mail reported acquaintances of Bissonnette, who studied politics at Laval University, said he became a vocal proponent of their nationalist policies beginning last March.
Among the dead was a professor at his own university. Khaled Belkacemi, an Algerian who was a professor of agriculture and soil with a research focus on “green chemistry,” was shot in the back while praying. Fellow Algerian Abdelkrim Hassane, an information technology professional who worked for the Canadian government, also died, leaving behind three young daughters.
Moroccan immigrant Azzeddine Soufiane also studied at Laval after arriving in Canada in the late 1980s, and was a business owner and community leader who helped new immigrants there. “He was almost like the president of the community,” said Nouzha Enkila, leader of a community group for Moroccans, in media interviews.
A second Moroccan who holds dual citizenship is still fighting for his life. Said El Amari, a 40-year-old taxi driver, is among the eight people who were injured.
Two men from Guinea are among the victims. Ibrahima Barry, also employed by the Canadian government, and Mamadou Tanou Barry were friends but not related. The Guinean government issued a statement extending its condolences and support to both the victims and families, and the Canadian people, according to national media accounts.
Moroccan immigrant Azzeddine Soufiane also studied at Laval after arriving in Canada in the late 1980s, and was a business owner and community leader who helped new immigrants there. “He was almost like the president of the community,” said Nouzha Enkila, leader of a community group for Moroccans.
Pharmacist Aboubaker Thabti was originally from Tunisia, the BBC reports.
Image: Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec