Quebec town to hold referendum over proposed site of Muslim burial ground

Quebec town to hold referendum over proposed site of Muslim burial ground

SAINT-APOLLINAIRE, Que. — The fate of a contentious proposal to establish a Muslim cemetery in a town southwest of Quebec City will be decided by referendum on July 16.

Sixty-two residents of Saint-Apollinaire will be eligible to weigh in on a zoning change that would allow the establishment of the burial ground.

A register that was created at city hall in recent days to gauge citizen opinion drew 22 signatures — five more than the minimum required to send the issue to a vote.

Only people who live adjacent to the site will be able to vote in the referendum, which will be decided on a 50 per cent plus one basis.

A deadly mosque shooting in January highlighted the fact that Quebec City’s Muslims don’t have a place to bury their dead.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, was charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder with a restricted weapon following the massacre.

The cemetery project is being led by the mosque that was targeted, in partnership with a promoter.

Some of the opponents have previously said they would prefer a multidenominational cemetery.

Mayor Bernard Ouellet, who is in favour of the cemetery, admits he would have preferred a different result from the register.

Nevertheless, he says he will leave the pre-referendum campaigning to others.

“Democracy will end up expressing itself,” he said.

Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Press

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