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Quebec Mosque Shooter Was Consumed by Refugees, Trump and Far Right

He was impassive while Megda Belkacemi, the 29-year-old daughter of one of the victims, the university professor Khaled Belkacemi, testified about seeing her father with a hole where one of his eyes should have been.

But when the judge called his parents “collateral victims” of the attack, he sobbed.

Mr. Bissonnette’s erratic personality was also revealed in a haunting 50-minute 911 call — played in court — in which he turned himself in. He repeatedly told the operator he was going to shoot himself.

“I’m sick of this,” he said, adding: “I’ve never hurt anyone.”

Throughout the proceedings, Mr. Bissonnette’s parents, Manon Marchand and Raymond Bissonnette, a public sector worker and a lawyer, sat stoically in the front of the courtroom’s public stalls, overflowing with families of the victims. At one point, the couple comforted a woman in a head scarf.

Experts on radicalization said that in Quebec, a French-speaking province surrounded by an English-speaking majority, the anti-immigrant far right offered fertile and perilous ground for psychologically unstable youths like Mr. Bissonnette seeking a sense of identity and a scapegoat.

Alexandre Bissonnette in an image taken from social media.Creditvia Reuters

Mr. Deparice-Okomba said Mr. Bissonnette was part of a growing number of educated, middle-class youths in Quebec drawn to far-right ideas, fueled by the election of Mr. Trump and fanned by fears that immigrants threatened Quebec’s identity.

When he started the center in 2015, he said it dealt with 17 cases of youths in the province radicalized by the far right. Last year, the center had 154 such cases, he noted, compared with 126 cases of youths radicalized by Muslim extremism.

Nevertheless, he stressed that far-right groups in Quebec like La Meute, or Wolfpack, which castigate Islam, remained marginal.

Source: NYT > World

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