There will be a muslim cemetery in Quebec city
Boufeldja Benabdallah, Régis Labeaume, and Mohamed Labidi
Friday, August 4, 2017 11:17
Friday, August 4, 2017 22:02
Look at this article
The muslim community of Quebec will finally have a cemetery in the capital.
The City will sell at a cost of $ 270,000 at the islamic cultural Centre of Québec (CCIQ) a parcel of city land 5 706 square meters located just south of the rue Frank-Carrel, and neighbor to the Belmont cemetery and a deposit to snow in Sainte-Foy.
Unlike the project in Saint-Apollinaire, no referendum will take place, since the zoning today allows for the development of a cemetery.
The emotion and the relief of the representatives of the muslim community were palpable at the announcement alongside the mayor Régis Labeaume on Friday morning at the city hall of Quebec city.
“This is a great day that saw the Old Capital, said Mohamed Labidi, president of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Québec. This is a historic day”, after more than 20 years of volunteer work to realize such a project, he pointed out.
“The joy is there. We’re all going to die in peace and respect”, noted the acting coordinator of the project of cemetery of the CCIQ, Boufeldja Benabdallah.
“I had difficulty, began Mr. Benabdallah, without being able to finish his sentence. Honestly, I had difficulty to hold back my emotions when you [Régis Labeaume] have made the official announcement that you accept our offer after so many years, let us say, of suffering and of waiting”, he continued, thanking the mayor of Québec to have kept their promise.
A few days after the attack on the 29 January last at the mosque of Quebec, Mr. Labeaume had said : “you have this muslim cemetery”, on the occasion of a funeral ceremony in memory of three of the six victims.
A cemetery “that they deserve”
“We believe in the City of Quebec that every human being has the right to the choice of a burial in dignity and in harmony with his personal beliefs, said Friday the mayor of Quebec city.
“Today, I have the feeling that the population of Quebec gives to the muslim citizens something that they deserve and that should help to forget a part of what happened […], even if we will never forget,” expressed with emotions the mayor in the portion English-speaking of the press conference.
According to Mr. Labeaume, the City has rolled up the sleeves to find a solution to the result of the referendum in Saint-Apollinaire, which has sounded the death knell of the project of a muslim cemetery in the municipality of the South Shore.
“I was embarrassed”
“Honestly, as all the people of Quebec, I was embarrassed,” admitted the mayor. I called everybody and I said : ‘have you come-in and take out the cards, it is necessary to find a solution.””
The CCIQ had attempted to acquire the land in question in Quebec there are close to 10 years, but constraints, “technical and regulatory” had pushed the muslim community to abandon the project. At the time, the Belmont cemetery was the owner.
At the time of the attack in January, the CCIQ was already in talks for land in Saint-Apollinaire. But in recent weeks, with the failure of the project on the South Shore, the mayor of Quebec city has taken to set this folder so dear to the muslim community. A call to offer the land to the CCIQ has been done not later than last Friday. Six days later, on Thursday, the offer to purchase was accepted by the executive board of the City.
A price “according to the rules”
Régis Labeaume ensures that the sale price of $ 270,000, has been fixed according to the rules of art.
“It is legal. […] 270 000 $ are based on all of our rules imposed by the government,” he said, noting that the CCIQ will have to spend approximately $ 200,000 to build a path of a few meters which will connect the cemetery to the rue Frank-Carrel.
According to the CCIQ, the landscaping of the cemetery could be ready as early as the fall. The size of the land will allow the community to bury its dead for fifty years.
“The field, when it is going to be purchased, it will be inalienable, said Mr. Benabdallah. This will be a cemetery for eternity,” he rejoiced.
Free choice for muslims
Now, when the cemetery will be built, the muslim citizens of the greater Quebec city area will have the choice to be buried at this location in Sainte-Foy, lot provided for them in a cemetery, denominational in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, or in their country of origin.
In the end, the representatives of the muslim community admit that the painful ordeal of a referendum, Saint-Apollinaire has been an evil for a good.
“It was the ideal scenario, it is unanimous”, said the president of CCIQ, Mohamed Labidi, who sees hope after the beginning of the year of the most challenging.
The prime minister Justin Trudeau pointed out the news on Twitter Friday afternoon.
“A big and courageous step in support of dignity and decency. Congratulations to mayor Labeaume to have acted”, he wrote.
For his part, the mayor of Saint-Apolinaire said he is “happy” of the outcome for the muslim community.
“They were really discouraged, it was a long time that they were looking for, said Bernard Ouellet to the Log. It has been hard what they have lived with us, but with the benefit of hindsight, it was served a little bit of leverage I think for resolving this matter, at least. This is the positive side,” continued the mayor, himself, was inclined to welcome a muslim cemetery in the municipality.
For his part, the mayor of Lévis, Gilles Lehouillier, said he was satisfied with the decision of his counterpart in Quebec. “We applaud the City of Quebec. This is an excellent decision,” he mentioned.
The mayor Lehouillier was shown opened this spring to accommodate a muslim cemetery on its territory.
He had also denounced the holding of a referendum in Saint-Apollinaire for the reception of such a site. “If we had been approached by the muslim community, or if it is in the future, we will have the same opening”, he assured.
– With the collaboration of Catherine Bouchard
- Field located just south of the rue Frank-Carrel, Sainte-Foy, adjacent to the Belmont cemetery and a deposit to the snow (not visible from where will be located the cemetery)
- Price : 270 000 $
- Size : 5 706 square meters (one-quarter of the land owned by the City)
- Exclusively reserved for muslims
- This cemetery will become an alternative to the batch reserved for muslims in a graveyard confessional of Saint-Augustin
A decision hailed
“A big and courageous step in support of dignity and decency. Congratulations to mayor Labeaume to have acted,” — Justin Trudeau on Twitter
“This is a historic day for the Old Capital. Today, we harvest the fruit of 20 years of volunteer work ” — Mohamed Labidi, president of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec
“We believe in the City of Quebec that every human being has the right to the choice of a burial in dignity and in harmony with his personal beliefs” — Régis Labeaume
“I had difficulty to hold back my emotions when you [Mr. Labeaume] have made the official announcement that you accept our offer after so many years, let us say, of suffering and waiting” — Boufeldja Benabdallah, acting coordinator of the project of cemetery of the CCIQ
“It was tough what they have lived with us, but with the benefit of hindsight, it was served a little leverage, I think, to bring that folder, at least. This is the positive side. “— Bernard Ouellet, mayor of Saint-Apollinaire
“I believe that this is the best scenario that could happen. What is unfortunate is that Mr. Labeaume would have had to do it before to avoid all these emotions that we have made a living [during the referendum in Saint-Apollinaire].” — Sunny Letourneau, a spokesperson for the opponents of the proposed muslim cemetery in Saint-Apollinaire