Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sharia Discreetly Introduced in Montreal

"We never supported the project. No project was presented to us."
"Since it's causing so much controversy, there's no reason to put more oil on the fire. We told him, 'We don't want any presentation. You can do it somewhere else'."
"You cannot promote a project based on shared customs and values and faith and all that. That's not going to fly."
"We need to build bridges with Quebec society. We are Quebecers. We live in Quebec."
"We came here because we made a choice."
Mohamed Yacoub, co-chairman, management committee, Islamic Community Centre of South Shore, Brossard, Quebec

"Right now we're putting everything on hold."
"If somebody wants to come and live in the [proposed Muslim housing] community and provoke some reactions that maybe she did not expect, she will have to adjust."
Nabil Warda, promoter, suburban Montreal Muslim housing development
Islamic Community Centre of South Shore
The developer says he will present his plan at the Islamic Community Centre of South Shore in the coming weeks. (Radio-Canada)

The "she" to whom Mr. Warda refers is roughly put, any female, Muslim or non-Muslim who may live or even pass through the housing complex he is contemplating building for the Muslim community which will be regulated under Sharia law, so that should anyone want to drink alcohol, he/she may, but only within the inner confines of their home, unseen by other scandalized members of the community. Even though alcohol consumption is forbidden by Sharia law, this exception will be generously made in recognition that the people concerned live in a democratic country where choices and equality reflect the way of life.

As for any women insufficiently grounded in Sharia law which exhorts Muslim women to behave and dress modestly, as Mr. Warda would have it, any women who might be impudent enough to think that wearing shorts and a halter top regardless of the season and the weather, would have to think twice; her presence would be unwelcome within the housing complex. The Koran may be silent on the topic of niqabs and burqas but they would represent the garments of preference for Muslim women as far as Mr. Warda is concerned.

The proposed project met with immediate condemnation by the provincial and municipal governments when it was revealed through a Radio-Canada program segment. The provincial premier planning to advise his municipal leaders that such a permit to proceed with a Muslim-restricted colony or ghetto would be refused. Initially, the man whose proposal and intent it represented -- Mr. Warda -- responded by stating it was his intention to proceed irrespective of the controversy that has arisen.

Brossard in the foreground with part of Montreal's skyline on the other side of the Champlain Bridge.
Dario Ayala/Postmedia/File    Brossard in the foreground with part of Montreal's skyline on the other side of the Champlain Bridge

He had planned to circulate information about the proposed housing project at the local mosque, and to elicit from mosque habitues their opinions, along with prospective buyers. Mr. Warda advanced his reason for building such a suburban ghetto being that Sharia law does not permit the paying of interest on bank loans for mortgages. Instead, what Sharia law does promote is the bank buying the property, selling it to those living in it, taking a profit which Sharia law recognizes as having been 'earned'. As though semantics of interpretation makes interest illegal and profit legal.

Following the initial news of the rejection of his proposal and the reaction of the Brossard mosque, mosque authorities have since refused to permit Mr. Warda to promote his proposed project through their auspices; he will as a result have to hold his promotion and feedback from prospective buyers at some other venue. In response, Mr. Warda repeated his original assertions that women would not be permitted to walk about the project "half-naked"; that anyone wearing sexually provocative garments would be banned.

Screengrab   The website for the Islamic Community Centre of South Shore in Brossard has received hate messages despite having nothing to do with the proposed housing development for Muslims.

Mr. Yacoub has described hate messages being posted on the mosque's website "non-stop". The concern that protesters would be drawn to the venue of such a public meeting about the proposed Muslim housing plan represented yet another reason why the mosque withdrew its auspices from the proposed real estate project.

Which project, according to Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, discriminated against non-Muslims, leading the National Assembly to pass a unanimous motion denouncing the very idea of such a real estate project which cannot, in consideration of Quebec norms and values, be based on "religious or ethnic segregation".

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