A WHITE university student is the sole suspect in a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque in which six worshippers were killed.
Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old French-Canadian man, was arrested alongside Mohamed el Khadir on Sunday night after the shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre.
Bissonnette was nabbed about 24km from the scene after reportedly calling police to say he was armed but ready to surrender.
Mohamed el Khadir, believed to be of Moroccan descent, is now considered a witness and not a suspect.
|Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, has been arrested over the shooting. Picture: Facebook|
US President Donald Trump called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday to express his condolences and offer assistance.
More than 50 people were at the mosque when the shooting erupted in the men’s section.
The six victims were reportedly aged between 35 and 65. A hospital spokeswoman said five were in critical condition and 12 others suffered minor injuries.
Sûreté du Quebec spokeswoman Christine Coulombe told TVA: “There is nothing to suggest that there are other suspects.”
Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard both characterised the attack as a terrorist act, which came amid heightened tensions worldwide over Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim countries.
“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“It is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear. Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.”
On Monday, Trudeau told the House of Commons that all of Canada stands with its Muslim minority population.
“Last night’s horrible crime against the Muslim community was an act of terror committed against Canada and against all Canadians,” Trudeau said
“We will grieve with you, we will defend you, we will love you, and we will stand with you, and over the coming days take solace in one another. We will mourn this devastating attack and we will heal together, as one community, as one country, and as one family.
“Canadians will not be intimidated. We will not meet violence with more violence. We will meet fear and hatred with love and compassion.”
Canada is generally very welcoming toward immigrants and all religions, but the French-speaking province of Quebec has had a long-simmering debate about race and religious accommodation.
The previous separatist government of the province called for a ban on religious symbols such as the hijab in public institutions.
The mayor of Gatineau, Quebec, near Canada’s capital of Ottawa, said there would be an increased police presence at mosques around his city following the attack.