Canada 'What are they afraid of?' Quebec imams condemn vote against Muslim cemetery

20:37  17 july  2017
20:37  17 july  2017 Source:   cbc.ca

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19 voters quash Muslim -run cemetery in Saint-Apollinaire, Que. ' What are they afraid of ?' Quebec imams condemn vote against Muslim cemetery .

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The news of Sunday night's vote opposing the creation of a Muslim cemetery in Saint-Apollinaire has been met with disbelief and dismay in the Muslim community, says a well-known Quebec imam.

Imam Hassan Guillet said Quebec's political and social discourse had been © CBC Imam Hassan Guillet said Quebec's political and social discourse had been "poisoned" by fear and hatred of Muslims.

"People are demoralized. Outraged. They're outraged at how come only 19 people can decide the fate of thousands of people," Hassan Guillet told CBC News on Monday morning.

Guillet said it's important to recognize the decision was not a rejection of the Muslim community in Quebec, but rather the rejection of the creation of a cemetery by the people who live adjacent to the proposed project.

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Still, he expressed his personal disappointment, saying he believed the area was well situated for a burial ground.

"I was very sad. Surprised and especially very sad and upset."

Only residents who lived adjacent to the proposed site were allowed to cast ballots. The vote was 19-16 against the cemetery, with one spoiled ballot.

Quebec Muslims currently bury people in a cemetery in Laval. After the Quebec City mosque shooting last January, the mayor of the city vowed to create a burial ground for Muslims.

Guillet caught the world's attention with his address at the funeral for three of the victims of the shooting.

'What are they afraid of?'

Mohamed Labidi, president of the Quebec City mosque that was the scene of the shooting, said the referendum's result shocked its members.

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He said the community had been working to establish a Muslim cemetery for nearly 20 years and kept running into these kinds of technicalities.

He feels they've been used to quietly rejecting the project, if not the Muslim community itself.

"In Saint-Apollinaire, it was clear," Labidi said on Gravel le matin, Radio-Canada's Montreal morning radio show.

"It's clear when more than half [of voters] don't want a Muslim cemetery on their territory.... What are they afraid of?"

Saint-Apollinaire Mayor Bernard Ouellet admitted some of the opposition was founded in fear. For many of the residents, they're only exposed to negative depictions of Islam in the media, he said.

"When you lack information, fear predominates," Ouellet also said on the radio show. "In the worst of cases, they were talking about being invaded or losing their roots as Quebecers."

But Labidi said Muslims wouldn't be visiting the town that often. All they want is to bury those who've died, he said.

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Ouellet said he was disappointed by the vote's result, but satisfied with the process, despite the fact only 49 people could cast ballots under the current zoning laws.

"I think we'll have to take a look at that," he said of the decades-old legislation created when Quebec's population was a lot less diverse.

"I think it would have been interesting if the whole population could have voted, for sure."

Drainville, politicians respond

Bernard Drainville, the former Parti Québécois politician who drafted the party's controversial Charter of Values, voiced his support for the Muslim cemetery, tweeting in French that the referendum result was a blow to inclusivity in the province.

"We tell Muslim Quebecers 'it's your Quebec.' Then they ask for some land for their dead and it's no? Disappointed. Very," he wrote.

Quebec NDP MP Guy Caron also took to Twitter to express disappointment with the referendum result.

"With respect, trust and dialogue, our society will be stronger."

Defaced Qur'an, hateful note left at Quebec City mosque where January shootings occurred .
Defaced Qur'an, hateful note left at Quebec City mosque where January shootings occurredThe anonymous package arrived at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City via Canada Post on Friday, two days before residents in nearby Saint-Apollinaire voted in a referendum on a Muslim cemetery in their town.

Source: http://ca.pressfrom.com/news/canada/-37096-what-are-they-afraid-of-quebec-imams-condemn-vote-against-muslim-cemetery/

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