A mosque shooting in the Canadian city of Quebec has left at least five people dead according to a BBC News report. Initial reports say a gunman opened fire at worshippers who were offering their evening prayers. At this time, the number of gunmen involved in the mosque shooting remains unclear, with some reports claiming there was only a single gunman. A Reuters report, however, claimed there were at least three gunmen involved in the Quebec Mosque attack. Another report by a local newspaper said that the attackers used AK 47 assault rifles to carry out the attack.
Meanwhile, Russia Today reports that the incident happened inside the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center (Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec) and that there were more than 40 people inside the mosque at the time of the attack. Following the attack, local police officials reached the spot and put up a security perimeter around the mosque. The official Facebook page of the mosque posted a live Facebook videos showing the aftermath of the attack. We have embedded the same below.
The reason for the attacks and the identity of the people behind the act remains a mystery at this point of time. There are reports that local police officials have arrested two people in connection with the mosque attack. An investigation is already underway.
Meanwhile, a man who claimed to have witnessed the attack revealed that the attackers shouted “Allahu akbar” as they opened fire at unsuspecting people praying inside the mosque.
“One started shooting. As soon as he opened fire he shouted, “Allahu akbar!” (“God is great!”) The bullets reached people who were praying. People who prayed lost their lives. As for myself, the bullet passed over my head,” he told a Canadian Radio station.
The witness also claimed that the attackers had a “very good Quebec accent” indicating that they were locals.
Apart from the official Facebook page, several locals also posted images of the aftermath of the attack.
— Daniel (@UserDotCom) January 30, 2017
— Alexandre Duval (@alexduval88) January 30, 2017
The mosque attack has shocked people around the area. The Mosque’s president Mohamed Yangui termed the attacks “barbaric.”
“Why is this happening here? This is barbaric,” Yangui told local news reporters.
Yangui confirmed that he was not inside the mosque at the time of the attack. He was told about the attacks by frantic callers who were at the mosque for their evening prayers. While he did not reveal the number of dead or injured, he confirmed that several people had been taken to different hospitals across Quebec city for treatment.
This is not the first time that this mosque had come under attack. Back in June 2016, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of the same mosque where this attack took place. Pigs are considered an unclean animal by Muslims and the act was done to offend the Muslims who attended the mosque. In a similar incident, another mosque in Quebec was splattered with what is believed to be pig blood. This was back in 2013. In another 2015 incident, a mosque was set on fire just one day after the Paris attacks.
According to locals, there has been a steady increase in the number of incidents of Islamophobia in Quebec over the recent years. The spike in the number of incidents happened after there was a huge political uproar over a proposal to ban the niqab (face covering) for Muslim women in the region.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned the attacks through his official Twitter account.
Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims & their families.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 30, 2017
[Featured Image By Jae C. Hong/AP Images]