Maghrebis faced with Quebec terror attack aftermath
Tunis - A bdelkrim Hassane left the warmth and comfort of his Berber village in northern Algeria to migrate to Canada in 2009 in the hope of securing a better future for his children.
Hassane was one of six Muslim worshippers killed January 29th in a Quebec City mosque allegedly by a 27-year-old Canadian Islamophobe. His body, alongside that of fellow Algerian Khaled Belkacemi, a chemistry expert who was also killed in the attack, was flown to Algeria for burial on February 4th.
The bodies of Tunisian expatriate Boubaker Thabti and Moroccan Azzeddine Soufiane, also victims of the attack, were returned to their home countries the same day.
The six victims left behind 17 children in total.
It is not the first time that Maghreb migrants have died in terrorist attacks in recent years. Last year, they were among the victims of massacres in Paris and Nice.
This, however, was the first time people from the region have been killed in a terror attack in Canada.
The Quebec City attack hammered home the message that terrorism extends to all parts of the world. Canada’s reputation as a peaceful, tolerant society made it a top destination for migrants from the Maghreb who want their children to grow up outside the influence of radical Islam and away from the increasingly tense climate caused by far-right populists in European societies.
Unlike those who migrate to Europe, Maghrebi migrants to Canada have mainly been ambitious students, highly skilled professionals and intellectuals, who are especially in high demand in parts of Canada because of their fluency in French.
“It is not easy to die in a place where one came to seek peace,” Louisa Hassane, Abdelkrim’s wife, said before his burial.
Asked about her feelings towards her husband’s suspected killer, she said: “I harbour no hatred towards him. I have pity for this boy.”
Hassane and Belkacemi were from the same Berber region of Bejaia. They often crossed paths at Bab Ezzouar University in the outskirts of Algiers.
They — along with the other victims — will be missed.
“I told my daughters that their father is gone to the paradise,” said Louisa Hassane, “but I need my husband. I have three girls who are very young and need their father.”