Justin Trudeau Asked Fox News To Remove A Misleading Tweet About The Quebec Shooting

"Canada is an open, welcoming country that stands by its citizens."

Last week's deadly shooting at a mosque in Quebec City was a painful example of the consequences of the anti-Muslim hostility prevalent in the west today. The incident, labeled a terror attack by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, dealt a blow to a Muslim community already tense from the Islamophobic sentiment rampant beneath Canada's southern border. 

Two men were apprehended by the police in the wake of the attack, though one was released after being identified as a witness. The latter was a man reportedly of Moroccan descent, and Fox News clung to that bit of information in its reporting, tweeting: "Suspect in Quebec mosque terror attack was of Moroccan origin, reports show."

Twitter users quickly excoriated the conservative network for feeding into anti-Muslim rhetoric. Even after Canadian officials announced he was released and that the lone suspect was a white supremacist, Fox News only updated the story much later, though they left the original tweet up. 

In fact, it took a request from Trudeau himself for Fox News to finally remove the original tweet. The Prime Minister's Communication's director Kate Purchase shared the email she sent taking the network to task about the misleading language it used and reiterated Canada's commitment to its values. She wrote:

Canada is an open, welcoming country that stands by its citizens. We are a nation of millions of immigrants and refugees, of hundreds of cultures, languages, and religions bound by one unwavering, unshakable belief: we are stronger not in spite of our differences, but because of them. These tweets by Fox News dishonour the memory of the six victims and their families by spreading misinformation, playing identity politics, and perpetuating fear and division within our communities. 

Canada has been exemplary in its acceptance of refugees and the general absence of xenophobia in its society, a stark contrast to the clash on immigration in the United States. "Before Sunday, many Canadians were watching the immigration ban there with fascination and, for the most part, disgust," Ian Austen and Craig S. Smith wrote in the New York Times

But as the Quebec City shooting shows, there is a streak of intolerance in the country, and it can turn deadly — and that's all the more reason powerful political figures like Trudeau and his counterparts abroad should speak up. 

Cover image via Vitaliy Holovin / Shutterstock

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