Nearly a week after 27-year-old French Canadian Alexandre Bissonnette stormed into a Québec City mosque and shot and killed six worshippers, a funeral was held for several of the victims at a local convention center. Imam Hassan Guillet gave an address in English during the service that was attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We are here to celebrate Khaled, Aboubaker, Abdelkrim, Azzedine, Mamadou, Ibrahima,” Guillet began his eulogy. “We are going to have a prayer for those who could not finish their prayers.”
Despite the nature of the horrendous crime and the clear pain that lingered in the community, Guillet’s remarks were profoundly magnanimous, going so far as to include in the list of victims Alexandre Bissonnette himself.
We have 17 orphans. We have six widows. We have five wounded. We ask Allah for them to get them out of the hospital as soon as possible. Did I go through the complete list of victims? No. There is one victim. None of us want talk about him. But given my age, I have the courage to say it. This victim, his name is Alexandre Bissonnette. Alexandre, before being a killer he was a victim himself. Before planting his bullets in the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas more dangerous than the bullets in his head.
This little kid didn’t wake up in the morning and say ‘Hey guys instead of going to have a picnic or watching the Canadiens, I will go kill some people in the mosque.’ It doesn’t happen that way. Day after day, week after week, month after month, certain politicians unfortunately, and certain reporters unfortunately, and certain media were poisoning our atmosphere. We did not want to see it. We didn’t want to see it because we love this country, we love this society. We wanted our to society to be perfect. We were like parents, their kids [are] smoking or taking drugs and your neighbour says that your kid was taking drugs, I don’t believe it, my son is perfect. We don’t want to see it. And we didn’t see it, and it happened.