Quebec premier plans to meet Muslim leaders, create 'early risk-detection' program
Quebec premier Philippe Couillard. (SIMON CLARK/QMI Agcncy)
QUEBEC CITY -- Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced plans to meet Muslim leaders to set up an "early risk-detection" program to try to prevent violent radicalism.
He made the announcement Thursday morning at the Quebec legislature, where security was beefed up following terrorist murders of two Canadian soldiers this week.
"Whatever the (source of the) anger, radicalism should not be a lifeline," Couillard told the legislature.
He continued: "It's people from here who did these things. Together, we will face the threat with firmness."
Couillard has been the most outspoken Canadian premier since homegrown jihadists killed two soldiers this week.
He blamed the ultra-violent terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) following the targeted killing Monday of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent of the 438 Tactical Helicopter Squad.
Martin Couture-Rouleau, 25, ran down Vincent, 53, and a second soldier with his car in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. A police chase ensued and officers shot and killed Couture-Rouleau.
On Wednesday, another convert to Islam, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, in front of the National War Memorial across the street from Parliament Hill. Authorities gunned down Zehaf-Bibeau after he stormed Centre Block.
Couillard lauded the "firm and quick response of Muslim leaders" following the Ottawa attack, but he said more meetings are needed.
He mentioned preventive and community outreach in mosques and other community centres.
One prominent Quebec Muslim leader reacted to the attacks with a strong anti-terror stance Thursday.
"If I see a group or individual making remarks inciting violence and hatred, I will deliver them myself to the police," said Mohamed Kounna, president of an Islamic association in Sherbrooke, Que., in the Eastern Townships.
He says he wants to lead an intervention team that will visit mosques to speak out against extremism.