Muslim Council of Montreal invites all inhabitants and town councils of Quebec to open dialogueFebruary 7, 2007
Montreal, Quebec, Feb. 7th, 2007- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) calls for a balanced and informative dialogue on the issue of “reasonable accommodation”, following the declaration of accepted standards by the town of Herouxville.
“It was Franklin Roosevelt who once said, ‘no democracy can long survive which does not accept as fundamental to its very existence the recognition of the rights of minorities’,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “The democratic process upholds the rule of law. The Canadian and Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms both guarantee and protect the rights of all Quebecois to practice their religion in peace and freedom and it is not in the jurisdiction of a town council to vote out the rights of minority groups.”
MCM invites all the inhabitants and town councils of Quebec to have an open dialogue with various religious groups, including members from the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu communities who may have felt alienated from the town council’s declaration. MCM stresses that the purpose is not to argue or debate, rather to foster positive dialogue, build bridges and come to a common understanding.
“This is not an issue of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’,” Elmenyawi said. “We are all equal citizens of Quebec, we must all be dedicated to working together to build a strong and united place to live, a place that espouses the values of tolerance, respect and understanding which are enshrined in our Charter.”
“Hate is not something that is genetic or inherited, hate is something that is learned,” Elmenyawi said. “We must ask ourselves whether we want our children to grow up in a country that alienates and divides its different communities, or one that brings everyone together and celebrates the diversity that makes Canada so special. Differences should not be something to be afraid of.”
The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) is an umbrella organization representing a number of Islamic institutions in the Montreal region. There are over 150,000 Muslims in Montreal, about 750,000 in Canada and 1.5 billion worldwide.