Montreal’s (and Quebec’s) response to a ‘radical’ Muslim preacher may be worse than the problem

Nothing to see here, people, just move along.

Quebec’s repressive former premier Maurice Duplessis was known for, among other things, his imaginative use of the law against individuals he deemed a threat to public order.

In 1946, in what the Supreme Court of Canada would rule 13 years later was an abuse of his authority, Duplessis forced a Montreal restaurant owner named Frank Roncarelli out of business by having Roncarelli’s liquor licence revoked. This was because Roncarelli had been posting bail for fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses arrested for distributing material criticizing the Roman Catholic Church.

So Duplessis probably would have approved of the ingenuity of Montreal municipal officials in using zoning bylaws to prevent a “radical” Muslim preacher from opening a storefront religious centre in the city’s east end.

In a news conference hastily called for Saturday morning, as if to respond to an emergency, Mayor Denis Coderre and Réal Ménard, mayor of Mercier—Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, confirmed what Premier Philippe Couillard had happily announced the day before: Hamza Chaoui wouldn’t get a permit to operate the centre.

This spared Couillard the need to Do Something himself. Chaoui had become Public Enemy Number One in the Quebec media last Thursday, when La Presse labelled him the “radical imam” and reported his intention to open the centre for Muslim youth. Among Chaoui’s fundamentalist beliefs, the newspaper reported, are that democracy is incompatible with Islam because it allows the election of homosexuals and atheists, and that women require male guardianship.

And of course Jehova’s Witnesses are a huge problem worldwide — requiring a massive military response.  They are now controlling large amounts of territory and their co-religionists frequently carry out attacks in the West.   I see a strong similarity here.  This journalist is a true genius.