Quantcast
Connect with us

Accused Quebec mosque killer quietly embraced far-right ideology

Published

on

Alexandre Bissonnette cut a low profile as a shy, withdrawn political science student, keen on far-right ideas.

Now, he stands accused of gunning down six worshippers at a Quebec mosque in one of the worst attacks ever to target Muslims in a western country.

The 27-year old grew up in a quiet suburb of Quebec City, posting online about friends, family and food.

ADVERTISEMENT

He studied anthropology and political science at nearby Laval University, and most recently lived in a fourth-floor apartment with his twin brother that neighbors described as often noisy.

The apartment is one kilometer (0.6 miles) from the Sainte-Foy mosque where Bissonnette allegedly shot worshippers in the back.

His Facebook account has since been deleted, but an analysis of stored pages by SITE Intelligence Group — a US-based organization that monitors extremists’ activities — described his posts as “largely apolitical.”

“It is a cruelly banal profile that resembles many others and it is extremely difficult to perceive the evolution,” David Morin, co-director of the Observatory on Radicalization and Violent Extremism, told AFP.

Bissonnette went to classes at Laval University, read the essays of French poet Charles Baudelaire, and worked part-time at the province’s blood collection agency. It has expressed alarm over learning that one of its employees was suspected in the mosque shooting.

ADVERTISEMENT

Although Bissonnette was not affiliated with any group, he appears to have embraced a “right-wing, a bit reactionary, somewhat anti-immigrant, anti-feminist ideology,” said Morin.

He espoused positions taken by US President Donald Trump, French National Front leader Marine Le Pen, and a Quebec group that rejects multiculturalism.

SITE Intelligence Group noted that on his Facebook page, “There were no posts about Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIS), or Muslims, nor were there any posts related to immigration.”

ADVERTISEMENT

But he “liked” the pages of Le Pen, Trump and Quebec’s Generation Nationale.

– ‘The light went out’ –

ADVERTISEMENT

Morin said it is always hard to determine exactly what will lead to a person’s break with reality, to an existential crisis, insecurity about their identity, and a need for self-affirmation.

In fact, this young man “may not even have been radicalized” to nationalist ideas. In a moment it is likely simply “the light went out,” he said.

This might explain why after allegedly carrying out these murderous acts, Bissonnette fled and called police to turn himself in.

ADVERTISEMENT

Morin suggests parallels with a case in the US state of South Carolina in which Dylan Roof shot dead nine black parishioners at a church in 2015.

Profiles of the suspects in both cases run contrary to the fanatics who typically commit suicide, including blowing themselves up during or after an attack.

There were no obvious signs of Bissonnette’s predilection for violence. Prior to Le Pen’s controversial March 2016 visit to Quebec City, he showed little interest in politics, despite majoring in it at school, his friends told local media.

Former classmates described him as a quiet, unassuming guy who blended in. Others said he was introverted, socially awkward and frequently bullied in high school, but that he brushed it off.

ADVERTISEMENT

People who knew him described him as having lately become a xenophobe, an ethnic nationalist and an online troll, but not a racist.

He denounced, for example, the flood of Syrian migrants into Europe last year.

“He was someone who made frequent extreme comments in social media denigrating refugees and feminism. It wasn’t outright hate, rather part of this new nationalist conservative identity movement that is more intolerant than hateful,” Francois Deschamps, who runs a refugee-support Facebook page, told the daily Globe and Mail.

One of Bissonnette’s last online postings was a photo circa 2002 of himself as a boy in a military cadet uniform, stone-faced.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Trump advisors futilely trying to get him to stop ranting about statues as his re-election prospects collapse: report

Published

on

According to a report focusing on Donald Trump's rally at Mt. Rushmore on the evening before the 4th of July, advisors to the president ate attempting to get him to start focusing on bread and butter issues that will get him re-elected instead of harping on statues being pulled down by protesters across the country.

As the Daily Beast report illustrates, their efforts appear to be futile based upon his Friday night speech.

With the president trying to fire up the crowd by insisting, “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders. They think the American people are weak, and soft, and submissive,” the Beast reported that Trump, "decided to focus heavily Friday evening on protesters and Black Lives Matter activists who want various American monuments, including those honoring Confederate, white-supremacist, and slave-owning figures of history, torn down and destroyed for good. "

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s a traitor — and the Russian bounty scandal is the final straw

Published

on

The first story of the rest of Donald Trump's life was published last Friday in the New York Times, revealing that the Russian intelligence agency known as the GRU has been paying bonuses to Taliban fighters to kill Americans, and that this intelligence had been reported to Trump and had been known at least since March. The story was subsequently confirmed by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the AP.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

GOP scrambling to pay for Jacksonville convention after Trump yanked it from North Carolina: report

Published

on

According to a report from the New York Times, Republican officials are having difficulties getting donors to pay for the Republican National Convention to be held in Jacksonville, Florida after Donald Trump yanked the gathering out of Charlotte, North Carolina in a fit of pique over COVID-19 health restrictions.

At issue, the report notes, is that millions of dollars were spent in North Carolina where a smaller event will now be held, and now the party is, in essence, forced to pay for a second convention.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image