After the horrific -- and now very clearly anti-Islamic -- terrorist hate crime committed at a Quebec City mosque on Sunday night there was, for a short period of a few hours, some confusion as to who the police thought might be involved.
Quebec police took two men into custody. One of the two was Mohamed Belkhadir who was identified as being an immigrant from Morocco. As a result of this fact, as The Intercept noted:
Almost immediately, various news outlets and political figures depicted the shooter as Muslim. Right-wing nationalist tabloids in the UK instantly linked it to Islamic violence...Likewise on the Canadian right there were those who made similar comments.
...White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer exploited the attack to justify President Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. “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,” Spicer said at this afternoon’s briefing when speaking of the Quebec City attack.
Later it turned out that the Quebec police had made a mistake and that Belkhadir was an innocent witness who had been at the mosque, had tried to render assistance to victims and had been apprehended when he tried to flee police as he did not realize he was being approached by police officers as opposed to possible attackers.
Quebec police determined that Belkhadir was not involved and released him. Police then announced that it was only the other person who had been arrested -- a white nationalist right wing extremist named Alexandre Bissonnette -- who is now alleged to have been the shooter. Belkhadir has been totally cleared.
These sorts of initially mistaken media and police reports, arrests, statements, and eyewitness comments are, of course, incredibly common in the chaotic aftermath of such terrible crimes and while they sadly are then used by conspiracy theorists as "proof" of a cover-up it makes perfect sense they would occur. The CBC explained why it initially reported the names of both Belkhadir and Bissonnette, then took both names down when the police announced they were not both culpable until finally posting Bissonnette's name as the alleged perpetrator when the police clarified matter. There is nothing nefarious about this -- there was an investigation that established that a person that the police had thought might be involved was not.
But this, of course, upended the notion that rather than being a racist attack on Muslims it was actually a terrorist attack by Muslims.
So it was time for the tin foil hats to come out.
The increasingly Alex Jonesesque commentator and Toronto Sun columnist Tarek Fatah took to Twitter to raise the specter of a cover-up!
And, needless to say, Rebel Media had to get in on the act. Ezra Levant and crew sent "journalist" Faith Goldy to Quebec City to file a report "Quebec Terror: Blame Trump, Ignore Witnesses" that talks about reports of "second shooters", claims to ask all the challenging questions, etc and to assure readers that "unlike the mainstream media, we’ll follow the FACTS — wherever they lead."
This is pretty disgraceful.
And who has got one of the banner advertisements right above these Rebel Media dispatches from the deluded?
Given what some of her supporters were saying on her Facebook page after the attack, she might want to reconsider.
Update: It turns out that Rebel Media is actually using the Quebec Mosque attack to fund raise so that their "reporter" can continue to sow doubts and to allegedly find out "What’s really going on at the mosque in Quebec City?"