February 8, 2019 6:31 pm
Updated: February 8, 2019 10:40 pm

Quebec City Muslim community ‘astonished and very upset’ by Alexandre Bissonnette’s sentence

WATCH: Aymen Derbali, one of the victims in the Quebec City mosque shooting, commented on the sentence laid against Alexandre Bissonnette Friday, saying they didn't know how the judge came to his decision and said they were "astonished" and "very upset" after the sentence.


Members of Quebec City’s Muslim community say they are “astonished and very upset” after Alexandre Bissonnette, the man responsible for the Quebec City mosque shooting, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.

“You can see from the faces in front of you that we are in total shock,” said Quebec Islamic cultural centre president Boufeldja Benabdallah Friday.

READ MORE: Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette sentenced to life in prison, no parole for 40 years

“We will release a statement in the coming days once we have taken the time to let this absolute shock pass.”

“It’s not anger that we feel. It’s disappointment. We don’t want anyone to feel the pain that we feel, the disappointment that we feel.”

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Aymen Derbali, 42, was one of more than 50 people attending evening prayers when the shooting started.

READ MORE: Quebec City mosque shooting: Remembering the victims and moving on 2 years later

“I was disappointed and surprised,” said Derbali, who is now in a wheelchair after being hit by seven bullets that night.

“Everyone is surprised. We were hoping for justice for all the victims.”

Hassan Guillet, ambassador for Islamic Relief Canada, said he understand how the judge came to his sentence, but that gives little comfort to the community.

“We were wishing to have this peace of mind and to allow these widows and these orphans start their lives,” he said.

READ MORE: Defence argues 150 years in prison for Quebec mosque shooter would deprive him of hope

“At least the judge recognized that it’s a hate crime, that it’s racist and that this person came only to kill people because they are Muslim.”

Guillet said Bissonnette’s actions destroyed the lives of many people.

“I saw Alexandre Bissonnette’s parents in the courtroom and they were just as destroyed, as demolished, as us.”

WATCH: Imam says orphans of shooting victims would relive incident in possible parole hearing

Bissonnette will be eligible for parole when he is 67 years old.

“My thoughts are with the families of the victims during this drama,” said Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume.

“I hope this verdict allows them to mourn and remember those they lost. My thoughts are also with Alexandre Bissonnette’s parents, the collateral victims in this story.”

Bissonnette pleaded guilty last March to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder in the attack at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec.

WATCH BELOW: Alexandre Bissonnette arrives for sentencing in Quebec City mosque shooting

According to the numerous victim testimonies, many of the people there that night are still traumatized, live in fear, and some are unable to work because of the terror they feel.

READ MORE: Quebec Muslim community welcomes statement by accused shooter’s parents

Reading his judgement, Quebec Superior Court Justice François Huot mentioned security footage of “a small girl with a pink hat runs without knowing where to hide,” until someone pulls her to safety.

Sketch of Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty in the 2017 mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, Fri., Feb. 8, 2019.

Mike McLaughlin/Court sketch artist

There were four children in the mosque that night. The massacre lasted 90 seconds. There were 48 shots fired in that time.

READ MORE: After nearly two years of fighting, Quebec City Mosque shooting widow will get compensation

He noted Bissonnette acted with “calculation, determination and in cold blood,” adding he held racist beliefs and the crime was precipitated by a “visceral hate for immigrants.”

The mosque shooting claimed the lives of six men: Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57 and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

WATCH: Quebec mosque gunman gets life with no parole for 40 years


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