Last week, a disturbed young man walked into a mosque in Laval, Quebec armed with multiple firearms. Screaming "Allahu Akbar", he emptied an AK-47 and a 9mm handgun into parishioners in the middle of their evening prayers. Nine people died and many more were injured. In the mayhem, there were initial conflicting reports - some said two gunmen, others said one. Two men fled the scene, and while the Sureté du Quebec were trying to figure out what was going on rumors were flying that it was recent Syrian refugees and/or a Moroccan man was involved.
When the proverbial and literal smoke cleared, there was one suspect, a young white Quebecois named "Alexandre Bissonnette" - and an arrested witness who was cleared (the Moroccan man) and a whole host of finger pointing. Because people wanted news before the police gave it out, reporters desperate to "scoop" had presented the refugee and Moroccan angle, which was redacted as soon as the truth came out. But in the midst of the reporting, the arguments for Trump's "Muslim ban" were echoed loudly and furiously, only to be rescinded and replaced with the Social Justice Warrior narrative that the real problem is white males, who are the source of all the world's evil. A call for a "Trump Supporter" ban came out, as it was revealed that the young man had recently become enamored of the "alt-right" and supported Trump.
Much hand-wringing ensued, and many political points were argued in real life and also online. Quebec separatist and alt-right groups are now very much under the radar: homegrown groups like "La Meute" and imported groups like "Sons of Odin" are now the new causes of concern.
But in the midst of all of this, the lone voice of reason came from the imam of the mosque who saw his congregation cut up with bullets and subjected to terror.
"There is one victim. None of us want talk about him... His name is Alexandre Bissonnette. Alexandre, before being a killer he was a victim himself. Before planting his bullets in the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas more dangerous than the bullets in his head. This little kid didn't wake up in the morning and say 'Hey guys instead of going to have a picnic or watching the Canadiens, I will go kill some people in the mosque.' It doesn't happen that way."
Sobering and levelheaded words from the only voice of reason in the whole midst.
The outpouring of love and support for this mosque has come from all over the world. The Eiffel Tower went dark in support of the victims.
And from what I can see, the support is going to some very, very deserving people.