Editorial: Religious Freedom Must be Upheld in Zoning Case

March 5, 2004

Source: The Montreal Gazette


On March 5, 2004 The Montreal Gazette ran an editorial in response to a borough council considering whether "an Islamic centre continue to operate in a building that has been used for religious purposes since it was built 15 years ago." The editorial board wrote, " At the request of the executive committee, neighbours of the Islamic centre, which was originally a synagogue, were asked for their input. The majority of residents said they found the impact of the centre's religious activities acceptable, and preferred that to the proposed day-care centre. So some people want a house of worship, and the neighbours don't object. In a country where religious freedom is a core value, what can explain the borough leadership's tenacious resistance? And yet religious activities remain prohibited at the centre, and officials have threatened it with fines if it does not restrict its activities to conform to residential zoning...Religious freedom is sacred in Canada. At its most fundamental, this is the issue here, and it must be upheld."