QUEBEC CITY — The man accused in the slayings of six men at a Quebec City mosque has pleaded not guilty.

Alexandre Bissonnette entered the pleas in a courtroom Monday ahead of pretrial motions to be debated this week.

Bissonnette faces six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder. More than 50 people were at the Islamic Cultural Centre in January 2017 when the shooting began during evening prayers on a Sunday.

Those who monitor extremist groups in Quebec described the French-Canadian university student as someone who took extreme nationalist positions at Laval University and on social media. He was a supporter of French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Quebec’s premier previously acknowledged the French-speaking province has its “demons” in terms of attitudes toward Muslims.