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Canada must continue on its path of tolerance


Six people killed in an assault on a Quebec City mosque in one of the worst terrorist attacks in the Canada’s history. All the victims are male, ranging in age from 39 to 60 years old, and had gathered for prayers at the mosque.
Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, a political science student at nearby Laval University, has been charged with six counts of premeditated murder and five counts of attempted murder. Bissonnette grew up in the Quebec City area.
Although the investigators are yet to reach to any conclusion about the possible motive behind the attack, police are treating the incident as a terrorist act.
Bissonnette fled the scene in his car and was arrested about 20 kilometers from the mosque after calling 911 and discussing the attack. What baffling the investigators is that the attacker was not known to law enforcement authorities.
The attack is one of the worst ever in Canada, a country that prides itself on a low crime rate and openness to immigration and diversity. Fifteen people were killed in 1989 when a gunman opened fire at a Quebec women’s college.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the violence was an act of terror and an attack on Canada’s intrinsic and most cherished values. Diversity has been the hallmarks of Trudeau’s administration, after he swept to power in 2015 as a pro-immigrant feminist pledging a more inclusive government.
But the mosque attack is the biggest test for Trudeau’s vision of an open Canada since he came to power. The massacre comes at a sensitive time for Trudeau, whose open-door immigration policies stand in contrast to those of the US, where President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week barring citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries.
Trudeau touted Canada as a nation that was welcoming foreigners in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The new US President signed an executive order barring travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days. No wonder, former US Vice President Joe Biden recently hailed Trudeau as one of the last global icons of liberalism. Trudeau took to Twitter defending Canada’s openness.
It is paramount for Canada to stand resolute for defending its values and its impeccable record of diversity and inclusivity. Canada offers hope to the persecuted and must not fail to stand up to it. Those who commit these acts of terror test the country’s resolve and weaken the values.
They aim to divide the community and to sow discord and plant hatred. It is time Canada further reinforce its resolve to help those fleeing persecution, terror and war.
“Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear,” Trudeau said. “Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities. We will not close our minds and we will open our hearts.”
Canada thrives on being a very open, tolerant and hospitable place and should continue to be such. But it also has same devils as others. Government should amend the nation’s anti-terrorism legislation to balance security risks while safeguarding freedoms. Canada must remain a beacon, a landmark of tolerance and openness in this troubled world.

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