Donald Trump’s Muslim ban was made on the pretense that Muslim immigrant terrorists are entering the United States in droves....even though statistics show that in the US, more people are killed by lightning or lawnmowers than by Islamic terrorism each year. But the recent Quebec mosque shooting proves that there is one kind of terrorism we need to fight — domestic terrorism carried out by racist, sexist, Islamophobic, xenophobic, so-called ”alt-right” neo-Nazi white supremacists.
On Sunday night, a man walked into a mosque in Quebec City and started shooting. He killed six people and wounded 19 more. At the time of the shooting, over 50 people were in the mosque — a place of worship and prayer, where they should be safe.
The man accused of being the gunman is a 27-year-old Laval University student named Alexandre Bissonnette.
According to the BBC, Bissonnette was known for his “far-right views.” An official with a Quebec group called Welcome to Refugees added that Bissonnette 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.”
But despite this, Bissonnette is now being called a “lone wolf” by the media. But this isn’t the first time that something like this has happened.
In June 2016, Omar Mateen killed 49 people at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. A former coworker said that Mateen had “talked about killing people” and "had a lot of hatred for people. Black people, women, he did not like Jews, he did not like Hispanics, nor did he like gay or lesbian people."
In July 2015, Dylann Roof killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Although he was also called a “lone wolf,” he also left a paper trail of white supremacist views, posting messages about wanting to start a race war, posting a manifesto outlining his hatred of black people, and sharing photos of himself posing with neo-Nazi paraphernalia.
In October 2015, Christopher Harper-Mercer killed nine people at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. He left a social media trail of angry posts about how women wouldn’t sleep with him and how he’s against the Black Lives Matter movement.
In May 2014, Elliot Rodger killed six people in Isla Vista, California. He left behind posts and videos detailing, once again, his hatred for women who wouldn’t sleep with him, as well as many racist posts against men of color who dated white women.
In August 2012, Wade Michael Page killed six people at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He was involved with white supremacist communities but still described as a “lone wolf.”
In August 2009, George Sodini killed three women and himself at an LA Fitness in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He left social media posts showing an obsession with “hoes” who wouldn’t sleep with him.
And in Quebec at Ecole Polytechnique in December 1989, Marc Lepine killed 14 women. He said he was “fighting feminism” and called the women “a bunch of feminists” before killing them.
When white men make violent comments against women, people of color, Muslims, Sikhs, Jewish people, LGBTQ+ people, or any other marginalized group on social media or in real life, WE NEED TO PAY ATTENTION. Because they aren’t “lone wolves.” They’re part of a terrifying movement of white, male supremacists. And it’s only a matter of time before one of them turns to targeted mass murder again.
And Muslims in particular are in danger. Hate crimes against Muslims in the United States grew 67% last year, reaching a level we have not seen since shortly after 9/11. When the FBI released this data late last year, Mark Potok, an expert on extremism at the Southern Poverty Law Center, named Donald Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric and the resulting news coverage as a possible factor for the spike in hate crimes.
The Quebec shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, was a fan of Donald Trump. Eric Debroise, who knew Bissonnette, told a local newspaper that Bissonnette “really liked Trump and had a permanent grudge against the left,” and that Bissonnette’s politics are “very right-wing and ultra-nationalist white supremacist.” Another local newspaper reported that Bissonnette “was known in the city’s activist circles as a right-wing troll who frequently took anti-foreigner and anti-feminist positions and stood up for U.S. President Donald Trump” and quoted an activist saying that Bissonnette was a troll “who made frequent extreme comments in social media denigrating refugees and feminism.”
So don't call him a "lone wolf" or blame his mental health.
Muslim immigrants are not a threat. Xenophobic, Islamophobic speech and policies are.
And Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and Islamophobic rhetoric create an environment where anti-Muslim hate crimes will keep happening.
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