49 people to decide whether Quebec City's Muslims get their own cemetery

Published on July 14, 2017

Mohamed Kesri during an interview at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in Quebec City. Plans are underway to open the first cemetery in the Quebec City area owned and operated by Muslims, but a handful of people oppose the project and triggered a referendum, which takes place Sunday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

SAINT-APOLLINAIRE, Que. — Forty-nine people will decide in a referendum on Sunday whether the Quebec City region gets its first cemetery owned and operated by its Muslim community.

The proposed burial site is located in Saint-Apollinaire, a town of 6,000 about 35 kilometres southwest of Quebec City.

The number of people allowed to vote is small because only those living or working near the proposed site get to cast a ballot.

Opponents of the project say Muslims should be buried in Islamic sections of existing cemeteries.

But Quebec City Muslims say their community deserves the same rights as all other religious groups, which have their own sectarian burial grounds.

Saint-Apollinaire Mayor Bernard Ouellet says there is no Plan B if the referendum fails.

Mohamed Kesri, who is running the cemetery project, says if the No side wins he will ask politicians to enforce a recently passed law allowing municipalities to forgo referendums regarding land projects.


The Canadian Press