Five critical in Quebec mosque shooting
QUEBEC — A hospital spokeswoman says five people who were injured in a horrific mosque shooting in Quebec City last night are in critical condition.
A spokeswoman with the Centre Hospitalier Universite Laval says at least three of those people are currently between life and death.
Six people, between the ages of 35 and 70, were killed in the bloody massacre that took place during evening prayers on Sunday at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec in Quebec City’s Sainte-Foy neighbourhood.
At least 12 other people were taken to hospital with minor injuries, according to the Centre Hospitalier Universite Laval.
Police had two suspects in custody Sunday night — one was arrested not far from the mosque while another was arrested just east of Quebec City’s downtown core.
Police are expected to provide more details on the mosque shooting at a news conference set for 9 a.m. E.T. today.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard have called the shooting a “terrorist attack.”
The mosque targeted in the attack issued a statement of thanks on its Facebook page late Sunday for the many messages of compassion being sent its way.
It has been the subject of threats in the past. Last summer, a gift-wrapped pig’s head was placed at the entrance to the building.
Vigils are expected to be held in Montreal and Quebec City today.
A number of Canadian Muslim groups have expressed shock and anger at the attack.
“Quebec Muslims are frightened right now,” said Haroun Bouazzi, president of AMAL-Quebec, a Muslim human-rights group based on Montreal. “We are urgently waiting for answers as to how and why such a tragedy could occur.”
The National Council of Canadian Muslims called on law enforcement agencies around the country to increase security around mosques and Islamic centres.
“We are horrified by this despicable act of violence,” the council’s executive director Ihsaan Gardee said in a statement. “This act of wanton murder must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Gardee added that the council was “heartened” by the support expressed for the Muslim community by other Canadians.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama also spoke out against the attack.
“We are deeply saddened by the attack that took place in a mosque in Quebec City and we pray for the rapid recovery of the wounded,” said national president Lal Khan Malik. “We are taking steps to ensure that all members of the community feel secure and safe.”
The mosque shooting has also drawn international outrage.
French President Francois Hollande has condemned what he called an “odious attack” while a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel calls the shooting “despicable.”
By Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press