QUEBEC — The man charged with murder in the six slayings at a Quebec City mosque is also a victim, an imam told the funeral Friday for three of the dead men.
Hussein Guillet said someone planted ideas in Alexandre Bissonnette's head and that the accused didn't wake up one day and randomly decide to commit the alleged crimes.
Alexandre Bissonnette has been identified as the suspect in police custody in relation to Sunday's deadly attack at a Quebec City mosque. (Photo: Facebook)
"Alexandre, before being a killer, he was a victim also," Guillet told several thousand people packed into the Quebec City convention centre.
"Before shooting bullets into the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas, more dangerous than the bullets, in his head. But we want Alexandre to be the last one who will have some criminal act like that."
Bissonnette, 27, was arrested last Sunday night following the massacre and has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder using a restricted firearm.
He briefly appeared in court on Monday and his next scheduled appearance is Feb. 21. None of the allegations against him has been proven in court.
"Alexandre, before being a killer, he was a victim also."
Guillet told the funeral service for Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, Ibrahima Barry, 39, and Azzeddine Soufiane, 57, the best way to remember the fallen is by eschewing revenge and by seeking out the future they'd planned for their children.
"In this way, we will respect their memory," he said, adding it is important to build on the tragedy.
"God gave us a lemon, let's make lemonade out of that," the imam said. "Let us build on this negative and then have something positive."
On Thursday, a Montreal ceremony bid a final farewell to Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, Khaled Belkacemi, 60, and Aboubaker Thabti, 44.