There’s been a lot of controversy and doubt about the mosque shooting in Quebec. Because the early reporting was botched. Or not really botched—it is par for the course that first reports are often wrong. But the atmosphere is overheated right now.
The right suspects, or wants to believe, Islamism and immigration was involved, and that the authorities are whitewashing it out. What about the early eyewitness reports that there were several gunmen, shouting “Allahu Akhbar”? Why have we not seen the closed circuit coverage?
The left, on the other hand, are pushing hard the idea that it was the work of a “far-right” “white supremacist” “Christian” killer. They are accusing Fox News, in turn, of false news for reporting one of the suspects was a Moroccan immigrant named Mohammed.
Here’s what I think really happened. I’m guessing, sure, but fog of war is a better explanation to me than conspiracy. There was just one shooter. The idea there was two may have been because he left and returned with a new gun. He might have yelled “Allahu Akhbar.” Everyone knows the phrase: he could have meant it sarcastically.
But Bissonnette was not a white supremacist or far right or a militant Christian. It was not about Donald Trump.
It was a Quebec thing. Bissonnette may have “liked” Trump on Facebook, lots of people do. He also “liked” John McCain, Jack Layton, the NDP, and the PQ. That just about covers the spectrum, politically. Quebec society is xenophobic, and has been xenophobic for centuries. That’s how they have survived as a Francophone society: by shutting all the windows. The Francophone majority see themselves as an oppressed group with historical grievances--”les negres blancs”--and so entitled to resent outsiders.
Nothing right wing about this. This nationalism has been, more often, associated with left-wing politics there. They are hostile to immigrants. Immigrants are not “pure laine.” They refuse to vote for separatism, want to teach their kids English. Big flare up only a couple of years ago with the PQ’s “Quebec Charter of Values.”
It all shows where such sentiments might lead. It might be a cautionary tale against “whites” or “Christians” as a group taking the same attitude. But it is not an example of it.
In the end, it still seems as though “whites” or “Christians” are still the one group not acting out in this way. To their great credit.