[Pig’s blood was sprayed on the wall of Mosquée de Saguenay and a hate letter was also left at the scene.]
By Elham Asaad Buaras
Police in Quebec’s Saguenay region are investigating what they are calling “heinous act” after a mosque in Chicoutimi in the city of Saguenay was sprayed with what is believed to be pig’s blood on Saturday August 31.
Mosquée de Saguenay official Moustafa Elayouby said, “No one has claimed responsibility for the vandalism, but a letter was left at the mosque, denouncing Islam and telling supporters to assimilate or go home.”
“This mosque has been baptized with fresh pig’s blood from Quebec,” said a copy of the letter sent to Radio-Canada in the Saguenay region.
Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay said he believes this was an isolated act committed by “fanatics,” and not representative of his community.
Tremblay said he believes the vandals may be using these public religious debates as an opportunity to get attention.
“With the discussion we will have all over in Quebec in the next months, maybe you will see many things like that. It can be dangerous.”
It’s not the first time something like this has happened in the Saguenay. In February, someone distributed hate-filled pamphlets aimed at religious minorities.
This incident comes at a time where the Quebec government is introducing a controversial secular charter, which would ban the wearing of hijabs and other religious clothing and symbols.
A spokesman for the Canadian Muslim Forum, told The Muslim News he is certain there is a link between the Islamophobic incident and the political the charter.
“Clearly the government of Quebec is intending to deny a segment of Quebecers their human right of their expression of religion, either by their dress or their expression of values. This comes as no surprise to us and we are even expecting the worst.”
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the proposed ban on religious headwear and symbols in some workplaces promotes intolerance.
“Not only do I think that it is an abrogation of Canadian values and ethics, I also think it’s horrible public policy,” says Nenshi.
“We’re not talking about government neutrality. We are actually saying to some children because of the faith you follow there are some jobs you are not eligible for. Imagine if we put a sign up in a window of that deli and said orthodox Jews need not apply here? Imagine the outcry there’d be? That’s what we are talking about here,” he adds.
Nenshi says anyone who is uncomfortable living in a society with those kinds of laws is welcome here in Alberta.
“Whether or not you are person who wears a turban or hijab, if you’re uncomfortable living in a society saying people who wear turbans should be excluded from certain jobs, come here – we ‘re happy to have you,” says Nenshi.