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White House cites Quebec mosque attack to justify Donald Trump's security policies

'It’s a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant, and why the president is taking steps to be proactive', says Sean Spicer

Peter Walker
Tuesday 31 January 2017 09:28 GMT
Sean Spicer uses the Quebec City mosque attack to justify Trump's policies

Donald Trump’s administration appeared to cite the terrorist attack on Muslims at a mosque as justification for the US president’s own anti-terror policies.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the shooting, which killed six worshippers at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Canada, was a “terrible reminder “of why the Republican leader must be “proactive, rather than reactive”.

Twenty-seven-year-old French-Canadian student Alexandre Bissonnette has been charged over what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has branded a terrorist attack.

“We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms,” said Mr Spicer, who did not refer to it as terrorism.

“It’s a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant, and why the president is taking steps to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to our nation’s safety and security.”

Mr Spicer, reading from a statement at the daily press briefing yesterday, did not say which policies he was referring to.

Mr Trump’s team however has talked of the importance of being reactive when justifying the highly controversial immigration ban.

Hundreds on Twitter have expressed confusion over why Mr Trump’s team would link an attack, which appeared to target Muslims, to policies which restrict the immigration of Muslims.

Fox News tweeted yesterday that the suspect was of Moroccan origin, based on reports from French language newspaper La Presse.

But police later said this second man, Mohamed el Khadir, was simply a witness and was never arrested.

“We’re going to put the safety of Americans first, we’re not going to wait and react, as I said in the statement, the president is going to be very proactive in protecting this country,” added Mr Spicer, who said Mr Trump had spoken to Mr Trudeau by telephone.

“We’re not going to wait until we get attacked and figure how we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Mr Trump’s ban suspends admission of all refugees for 120 days, imposes an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, and bars admission for 90 days of all immigrants and visa-holders from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan.

Alexandre Bissonnette has been charged with six counts of murder Reuters (Reuters)

The 70-year-old property magnate has already fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for defying the executive order.

Security expert Dr. Bessma Momani at the University of Waterloo, told Global News: “The reality here is that there is no rhyme or reason from the security lens to explain those seven countries.

“We can’t use the security lens to explain what is frankly a very arbitrary, not very well thought out plan.”

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