A Quebec animal park is defending itself after receiving a barrage of criticism for allowing a group of Muslims to spread out their prayer rugs on the grass and start praying in full view of non-Muslim visitors. Even worse, they used amplifiers to broadcast their Islamic supremacist beliefs loud enough so that everyone in the area was forced to listen to them.
CBC (h/t Homer S) Parc Safari is defending itself and a group of Muslims after a video posted on social media criticized them for holding prayers on the grounds of the zoo in Hemmingford, Quebec.
Parc Safari says it has been the subject of hateful and racist (what “race” is Islam?) comments since a Facebook/YouTube video was posted on Sunday showing the prayers. A woman can be heard shouting, “we are too conciliatory,” while another says she is against prayers in public spaces.
Parc management says the Muslims respected all the guidelines and would have been expelled had they not. Parc Safari officials say the zoo is a multicultural location. It is in Hemmingford, about 70 kilometres south of Montreal.
“Safari Park is sorry that freedom of religion may offend people,” the zoo said in a statement. “In any case, this was not the objective.
The Facebook video posted Sunday shows the group observing one of five daily calls to prayer at the zoo about 60 kilometres south of Montreal. The video’s caption, translated from French, says, “I find it inappropriate that at Parc Safari on a Sunday afternoon we hear prayers on the speakers. Can you just do this in your living room and not impose it on me please!”
We repeat: Safari Park is a place for everyone, regardless of nationality, religion, colour, culture or sexual orientation.
Jean-Pierre Ranger said he has been operating the zoo for 45 years and the criticism won’t change how he runs his business. “I’m very proud of what Parc Safari stands for and nobody is going to tell us how to behave, whether they’re Muslim or any other faith, or those do-gooders that think they can run the world.”
(Hey Jean-Pierre, will Parc Safari be as accommodating to Muslims when they decide to celebrate Eid, the festival of sacrifice, in the park, and start cutting the throats of the animals in full view of everyone?)
Véronique Ranger, a Parc Safari spokesperson, said the Muslim association members followed all the park’s rules, including bringing their own speakers and not using the park’s sound system. Ranger said zoo visitors were offended even though the group didn’t solicit other visitors, wasn’t disrupting other guests or animals, and didn’t block any paths.
A zoological institution is by definition a multicultural place where small and large can discover the wonderful diversity of nature and animals and thus develop affection and respect for this diversity, these differences, and their intrinsic beauty.