Updated: Mon Dec. 05 2011 8:29:49 AM
‘Tis the season for holiday decorations – and holiday controversies.
A group of Muslims living in TMR asked town officials if Islamic symbols could be added to the holiday display at city hall.
Instead, town officials decided to remove everything except a Christmas tree.
The decision, intended to keep from offending anyone, is not sitting well with some residents.
“I think it’s dreadful,” said one TMR resident. “I was born in the town. I remember that since I was little. I don’t think they should remove that at all.”
Mayor Philippe Roy said the move was in response to a request from a local Muslim group who wanted Islamic symbols displayed at City Hall as well.
Instead of adding the religious symbols, Roy said council decided to take a different tack and remove their nativity scene and menorah.
“We talked about it and we felt it wasn’t the best place to do a religious display… at city hall,” he said.
Council gave its menorah away to a local synagogue and its nativity scene to a local church.
The move meant TMR missed an opportunity to display its inclusive attitude, said Samer Majzoub from the Canadian Muslim Forum.
“It is very shocking that they go that far to the opposite side to remove everything, instead of dealing with the issue positively,” said Majzoub.
Roy said the decision is final, and that all religions are welcome in the Town of Mount Royal, but religious symbols will stay out of City Hall.
It’s not the first case of religious sensitivity irking Quebecers this season. On Friday, Service Canada admitted it made a mistake by banning all Christmas decorations from its location at Complexe Guy Favreau. They reversed the decision and will hang Christmas decorations at the federal outlet.