On Sunday, tragedy hit in Quebec, where a mosque shooting in Quebec City reportedly left five dead and several others injured, according to Reuters. Witnesses told the news outlet that up to three gunmen entered the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center and fired on approximately 40 people during evening prayers. Police set up a perimeter around the area, and the mosque's president told reporters that the victims of the attack were taken to nearby hospitals.
According to the CBC, the shooting began just after 8 p.m., and two suspects have been arrested so far. The mosque's president, Mohamed Yangui, told Reuters that he was not in the building during the shooting, but that he received panicked calls from those attending the evening prayers in the mosque.
This was not the first hate crime the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center experienced: in June, a pig's head was left on the center's doorstep alongside a note that read, "Bon appétit." In 2014, the center, along with two other mosques in Quebec City, had a poster plastered on its doorway that read "Islam out of my country."
After the hate crime last year, Yangui told the CBC:
We love everyone. We have no problem with anyone and we respect people. We hope it's mutual. And we are always here to give the image of the good Muslim to all Quebecers.
The number of hate crimes perpetrated against Muslim-Canadians has been on the rise in the past few years, according to Global News, even as the overall number of hate crimes in the country has dropped. In 2015, a survey of 1,500 Montreal residents found that nearly 50 percent of those surveyed had unfavorable views on hijabs, while only 5.5 percent were bothered by people wearing crosses. And in October, public hearings began for Bill 62, which would ban face coverings for public servants in Quebec in an attempt to "foster adherence to State religious neutrality."
The news comes in the wake of a particularly tumultuous period of transition in the United States, with newly-inaugurated President Trump issuing a ban on immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries this past weekend, inciting protests nationwide. In response, Canadian Prime Minister took to Twitter to state that Canada's doors were open for all.
"To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith," he wrote. "Diversity is our strength."
On Sunday Trudeau took to Twitter once again to address the tragic new development in an already fraught era. "Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City," he wrote. "My thoughts are with victims & their families."