Trump’s Islamophobia Reflected in Canada


Credits: Mobilus In Mobili // Creativecommons

According to the Government of Canada, Quebec is among the safest provinces of the country. Quebec City, then, unsurprisingly, is ranked the second safest city in Canada by the Global News. Yet an inconceivable casualty happened in this protected Canadian haven on Monday, February 1st. During a peaceful evening, worshippers prayed respectfully in the mosque of Quebec City. Nobody was expecting the 27-year-old university student, Alexandre Bissonnette, to stealthily ambush the place with a shooting, murdering 6, injuring 19, and leaving 2 people in critical condition. During the entire span of 2016, only one homicide was committed in Quebec City. Therefore the shooting was undoubtedly an utter shock for both quebecois and other Canadians on a national scale.

According to those close to Bissonnette, he was pro-Donald Trump, anti-immigration and supportive of the far right. His attack just so happened to be set on the second day after Trump’s immigration ban policy against the seven Muslim countries. That is the main reason that the shooting started, “prompting many to ask whether the current political climate had laid the ground for the attack,” says Ashifa Kassam, the Canada correspondent for The Guardian.

The attack, unfortunately, has not been the pioneering act of Islamophobia in the mosque for the past few days. Swastikas have been sprayed on the walls and a pig head wrapped in gift paper with a label that read “bon appétit” was presented at the doors of the place during Ramadan, the month of fasting in the Islamic calendar. Islamophobic sentiments in Canada have never been as grave as they are now. Kassam claims that the main reason for this outburst is deeply tied with the anti-Muslim wave emanating from Trump’s regime. The premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, noted that Canada had not been exempted from the unsettling political atmosphere that took over the entire world. “Our society is a very open, tolerant and hospitable place, but we’re not different from other societies. We have the same devils as other societies: xenophobia, racism, exclusion exist in Quebec too,” he says. On the note of the rising Islamophobic behaviors, Couillard mentions that hatred had been always present but was infrequent. “People feel they have a license to do that now,” he states.

The anti-Muslim atmosphere spreading in the west has a direct link with Trump’s recent measures. Regarding the mosque shooting in Quebec City, Michael Chong, representative of the Canadian House of Commons, articulated that “This mosque attack is no accident, it’s a direct result of demagogues and wannabe demagogues playing to fears and prejudices.” In midst of this critical period for the Muslim communities, especially those in Canada, there is, however, still a glimmer of hope and positivity.

All across Canada, citizens gathered around mosques in their cities, forming a protective barrier known as “rings of peace” and “human barriers.” Leaving behind all differences, whether religious or ethnic, that separated them, hundreds of people united as nothing more than Canadians, stood shoulder to shoulder and side by side around their local mosques, and prayed collectively. “Although this tragedy has taken irreparable toll on Muslims across the country, the kindness and generosity of fellow Canadians has been a great source of comfort,” said Dr. Syed Pirzada of the Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. Canada has spoken: no to hate, no to bigotry, no to religious violence, no to intolerance.  

Canada has spoken: no to hate, no to bigotry, no to religious violence, no to intolerance.

— Helen Liu

Sources: The Guardian, Government of Canada, Global News