In the small city of Shawinigan, group of Muslims organized as Le Centre culturel musulman de Shawinigan, wanted to build a mosque, instead of having to travel 30 kilometres to Trois-Rivières every week. They found a convenient location in an industrial park. But then the city, citing zoning rules, said “NO!”
Globe and Mail Zoning bylaws are designed, for example, to protect residential householders from finding themselves next door to a noisy, smoky factory with heavy-truck traffic. But having a mosque there was even more repugnant.
The use of the park for a mosque required a minor variance from the zoning bylaw. Until then, there was no evidence that the people of Shawinigan were disturbed by having Muslim neighbours among them (that’s because there were no Muslims there). But the idea of an actual mosque suddenly became alarming tomany people. Mayor Michel Angers tried to calm them down, but he and the city council felt overwhelmed and gave in to popular sentiment.
Mr. Legault, seeing political opportunity in the misfortunes of others, is now upping the ante. He is calling for changes to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms – for the purpose of restricting religious (Islamic) rights and freedoms.
He wants a new, investigative body to be created, to conduct inquiries into any and all proposals for new religious communities and institutions. He says the body would investigate whether applicants for a new mosque “have consistently denigrated Quebec values,” as Muslims do everyday in their prayers. And if they have, their application could be rejected.
This isn’t really a story about reasonable accommodation. It’s about basic religious freedom. A group of Muslims in Shawinigan just want a building to worship in, openly, like other Canadians. (NO, not like other Canadians, like the Muslim colonizers and supremacists they are)