QUEBEC — A tax accountant’s proposal to build up to 80 houses for Muslim families on 100 hectares of land near Brossard isn’t going over well with provincial politicians.
Nabil Warda, 68, said he will submit Friday to the Islamic Community Centre of South Shore—Brossard a real-estate development plan to build a community for about 100 Muslim families.
“It’s called a ghetto,” Coalition Avenir Québec MNA Éric Caire said Monday. “It’s not acceptable for our society to build a place reserved to religious people. Just think if we built a place reserved for white people, would that be acceptable? The answer is no.”
Added Parti Québécois MNA Agnès Maltais: “It will never be a good idea to select people based on a religion, it’s unlawful. It’s forbidden by the charter of human rights and freedoms.”
The very same message later came from Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness Minister Kathleen Weil. “A project whose vision is implicitly discriminatory toward a portion of the population could never be deemed acceptable,” Weil said. “In this sense, neither ethnic origin nor religious belief should ever be considered as criteria for the creation of a housing project. Living well together depends largely on individuals’ ability to interact and develop positive relationships.”
But in an interview with the Montreal Gazette on Monday, Warda explained that Muslim families often struggle to find halal financing. Sharia law prohibits borrowing money where interest is payable. Sharia-compliant banks can own the property as an asset and make money through “rent.”
“Essentially, the idea is to help people who haven’t been able to buy houses,” Warda said, adding he’s looking for financial partners to build low-cost housing for Muslims. “We would share services between us and live with people who believe that life on Earth is not only to eat and sleep but that there is something else, and to try to live as close as possible to the monotheist ideals which started with Abraham.”
“We’re always looking to live with the language we’ve heard when we were kids. By living with people who are closer to us, it makes a better life.”
Article 10 of the Quebec charter of human rights and freedoms states that “every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of his human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex and religion,” just to name a few.
Warda said it’s normal for Quebecers to feel skittish about things that are new. But he argued his project makes sense, just as unions do.
“There are always people who are going to criticize,” he said. “People were against the idea (of unions), saying it was the worst idea.
“Can we say that unions were bad for Quebec? I don’t think so,” Warda said..."Things that are new"? Don't think that that accurately describes sharia law, which was first formulated ages ago.