Editor's Note: Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed six men and injured six others in a Quebec City mosque in January, 2017, pled guilty on all counts on March 28. In a letter read in court, he says he was “ashamed” of his “insane act,” that he was “neither a terrorist nor an Islamophobe,” but had been “having suicidal thoughts and ideas and an obsession with death for a long time” before the shooting. He asked for forgiveness, and expressed the hope that in pleading guilty he could do a bit of good. Bissonnette is a very thin reed on which to hang the claim of Motion M-103 that there is a need for government action to quell Islamophobia in Canada. This human tragedy must not be hijacked for political purposes, such as creating a “National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia, and other forms of religious discrimination” as recommended by the Heritage Committee’s Motion M-103 report.
Transcript of letter Alexandre Bissonnette read out in Quebec courtroom
QUEBEC -- A judge on Wednesday accepted Alexandre Bissonnette's guilty pleas to six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder in connection with the shooting at a Quebec City mosque in January 2017. Here is a translation by The Canadian Press of the letter he read out in court:
At this moment, as I am free to say everything that is on my mind and in my heart, I would like to tell you, Your Honour and everyone else, that every minute of my existence I bitterly regret what I did, the lives I have destroyed, the pain and suffering I have caused to so many people, without forgetting the members of my own family.
I am ashamed. Ashamed of what I did.
I do not know why I committed such an insane act and, still today, I have trouble believing it.
Despite what has been said about me, I am neither a terrorist nor an Islamophobe.
Rather, I am someone who was overcome by fear, by negative thoughts and a sort of horrible kind of despair.
I had been having suicidal thoughts and ideas and an obsession with death for a long time. It's as though I was battling a demon that finished by winning out.
I would so much like to go back in time and change things. Sometimes, I have the impression that all of this is only a horrible dream, a long nightmare.
I would like to ask for forgiveness for all the hurt I have caused you. I know my actions are unforgivable.
If, at least in pleading guilty, I can do a bit of good, there will be that.
So that is why, Your Honour, I have pleaded guilty.
This article was originally published on the CTV website on March 28, 2018, and can be viewed on their site by clicking here.