Kate Purchase, Director of Communications Office of the Prime Minister of Canada, sent a letter to Fox News complaining about a tweet that contained “false and misleading language” relating to the identity of the suspect in the Quebec City mosque terror attack on January 29, 2017.
On January 30, 2017 at 12:31pm Fox News tweeted: “Suspect in Quebec mosque terror attack was of Moroccan origin, reports show.” Later that day, Fox News tweeted an update: “@FoxNews Mosque attack suspect formally charged w/ six counts of murder; Second man cleared, identified as a witness.”
In her letter to Fox News, Kate Purchase said that suspect is a French Canadian and not someone of Moroccan-origin emphasizing that by tweeting misinformation Fox News is “playing identity politics, and perpetuating fear and division within our communities.” She added that “Muslims are predominantly the greatest victims of terrorist acts around the world.”
It has come to my attention that a Fox News tweet posted on Twitter, contains false and misleading language relating to the identity of the suspect in the Quebec mosque terror attack. I have attached a copy of the tweet for your reference.
Over the course of the day, this proved to be false information. In fact, the suspect was identified as a 27 year old French Canadian – not someone of Moroccan-origin.
Sadly, this misleading information has been left to stand on the Fox News Channel’s twitter account and continued to circulate online even now.
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.
We need to remain focused on keeping our communities safe and united instead of trying to build walls and scapegoat communities. Muslims are predominantly the greatest victims of terrorist acts around the world. To paint terrorists with a broad brush that extends to all Muslims is not just ignorant — it is irresponsible.
If we allow individuals and organizations to succeed by scaring people, we do not actually end up any safer. Fear does not make us safer. It makes us weaker. Ramping up fear and closing our borders is not a solution. It distracts from the real issues that affect people’s day to day life. For all of these reasons, we ask that Fox News either retract or update the tweet to reflect the suspect’s actual identity. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
Thank you @FoxNews for deleting the tweet. We appreciate it.
— Kate Purchase (@katepurchase) February 1, 2017
Kate Purchase’s statement goes in line with Trudeau’s position. A year before the presidential elections in the US, Trudeau slammed Donald Trump’s call for a temporary halt of immigration from Muslim countries until re-evaluation of the situation is conducted.
When asked “will you stand up to Donald Trump and condemn his hateful rhetoric?” during the Maclean’s Town Hall (December 16, 2015), Trudeau emphasized his strong belief in cultural and religious diversity as a source of strength and argued that Muslims should not be blamed of terrorist acts committed by ISIS and other groups because they are the greatest victims of terrorism.
The following is the transcript of Trudeau’s statement (36:41-40:34):
First of all, I thinks it’s extremely important that someone in my position doesn’t engage in the electoral process of another country. So, I’m certainly going to be very cautious about engaging in this particular topic just because I think it’s going to be important for Canadians, for Canadian jobs, for Canadian prosperity to be able to have a positive relationship with whoever Americans chose as the President.
However, I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that I stand firmly against the politics of division, the politics of fear, the politics of intolerance or hateful rhetoric.
I stood clearly against that in charte de valeurs [Quebec Charter of Values] divisive issues put forward by the former Premier of Quebec.
I took a very strong stand against the previous governments playing dangerous games with veils and citizenship issues.
I think Canada and indeed any modern society does best when we understand that diversity is a source of strength not a source of weakness, that the elements on which we are similar are always far greater than the elements which we are diverse, and if we allow politicians to succeed by scaring people, we don’t actually ending up any safer.
Fear doesn’t make us safer. It makes us weaker. And at this time when there is a reason to be concern for security around the world and here at home we need to remain focused on keeping our communities safe and keeping our communities united instead of trying to build walls and scapegoat communities.
[I’m] talking directly about the Muslim community. They are predominantly the greatest victims of terrorist acts around the world at the present time. And painting ISIS and others with a broad brush that extends to all Muslims is not just ignorant, it is irresponsible.”