This is one to watch. I will be very curious to see if the cultural sensitivities of Muslims will be observed and the laws will not apply to them, while the culture of Canadians who built this city and country, (you know the place, the one where millions of Muslims are willing to fly, boat, sneak, lie and in every manner possible from legal or not get into to live) will be ignored. Jut another example of why multiculturalism must not be actual policy. A jurisdiction cannot survive if there are different laws for different groups. It is the recipe for violent revolution.
I personally feel that all bar owners, restaurants and so on have the right to determine if smoking is allowed on their property or not and no, it is NOT public property. Bars are private property where certain members of the public are allowed to go. If a person breaks a leg they hold the owners responsible. If a person gets too drunk and has an accident on the way home the bartender and owner are sued. Another thing with which I disagree, but it is more proof that bars are private space.
Iranian Muslim social clubs should certainly have the right to smoke. At exactly the same time and place as sports bars do so Canadians can watch the hockey game, enjoy a beer and a cigarette if the owner of the bar allows it.
VANCOUVER – Two hookah shop owners are going to court to fight a Vancouver city bylaw they say will put them out of business.
Owners of the Ahwaz Hookah House on Georgia Street and Persia’s Smoke Shop on Davie Street are filing a charter challenge against a bylaw which prohibits the burning of any substance in public places, according to their lawyer.
In 2007, the province passed a law which banned the smoking of tobacco in public places, said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Dean Davison, in a news release.
The owners, both immigrants from Iran, switched from tobacco to a mixture of herbs, fruit and molasses, in order to comply with the new rules.
City officials weren’t satisfied, and passed a bylaw, also in 2007, which banned the smoking of “any substance” in public places, Davison said.
In 2009 the city issued fines against both businesses, Davison said in an email.
“We are fighting those fines.” he said. “If the bylaw is not changed they are out of business.”
Hookahs, according to Davison, are popular social and cultural hubs for many Muslims, who gather around the communal water pipe for discussion, and reflection. It becomes increasingly important during the holy month of Ramadan, when many Muslims come together at hookahs following post-sunset feasts, after days spent fasting.
The owners, which have operated their shops since 2005 and 1999 respectively, are scheduled to go to court late in the fall. They say their charter rights to cultural freedom have been infringed by the bylaw.
Davison said he hopes Vancouver mayor and council will acknowledge the importance of his clients’ cultural traditions before the legal battle ensues.