Alexandre Bissonnette's parents ask Prime Minister to stop calling their son a terrorist
Published Friday, April 26, 2019 8:02AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 26, 2019 7:01PM EDT
The father of Alexandre Bissonnette, the man who committed mass murder at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre two years ago, has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop referring to his son as a terrorist.
Alexandre Bissonnette killed six people and injured many more when he walked into a mosque during evening prayers and opened fire in January 2017.
Raymond Bissonnette's letter states that the use of the word terrorist to describe his son is putting his family at risk.
"The day after the crime committed by my son Alexandre Bissonnette at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre, you stated categorically: Make no mistake-- this was a terrorist attack. A few days later, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner confirmed that several Canadian politicians had already labelled Alexandre Bissonnette a terrorist," wrote Raymond Bissonnette.
Raymond Bissonnette points out that his son was charged and convicted on six counts of first degree murder, but was never charged with terrorism.
He added that his son's crime was extremely terrible and severe, and that the absence of terrorism charges in no way diminishes the gravity of the crime "but it has no link to terrorism or to any particular ideology."
On Friday the federal public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, reiterated that Alexandre Bissonnette committed a terrorist act.
"His intent was to instill fear and terror in the hearts of Canadians and as a consequence of his conduct, six Canadian citizens at prayer and in mosque lost their lives. And many others were very seriously injured. That behavior is horrific and I don’t think a semantic argument will satisfy Cdns in terms of that behavior," said Goodale.
Witnesses testified that Alexandre Bissonnette committed mass murder because he was afraid immigrants and refugees would kill his parents and other family members. The judge also stated that Bissonnette was motivated by "racism and hatred."
As an example of the supposed threat to the family's safety, Raymond Bissonnette pointed out that in April 2017 a man flew from the UK to Quebec in an attempt to find the family.
That individual was arrested for making threats, pleaded guilty, and deported from Canada.
Raymond Bissonnette also said that last week's attacks in Sri Lanka, as revenge for the Christchurch attacks, were another reason to be cautious in using the label terrorist.
Alexandre Bissonnette was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole for 40 years for committing murder. Both the Crown and Bissonnette are appealling the length of the sentence.