An original Translation by Carolus
[translator’s note: Terrebonne is a suburb of 100,000 inhabitants, north of Montreal]
A place in the city’s industrial estate is however used for activities and prayers by the Muslim community since 2010
TERREBONNE | After a zoning change to ban a mosque in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve [a Montreal neighborhood], and then the refusal of the city of Shawinigan [a small city of 50,000 inhabitants between Montreal and Quebec] to allow a mosque to be established in the industrial estate, a third mosque is the object of a judicial dispute, threatening to disallow its establishment in the industrial estate.
Terrebonne directed its lawyers to obtain an injunction forcing the eviction of the mosque located in the city’s industrial estate, on Pascal-Gagnon Street, last Friday.
Muslims who patronize the mosque do not find the controversy amusing. “No neighbours complained about us, and we have added fire extinguishers and smoke detectors as per the fire by-laws, ” pleads Karim Sibous, a spokesperson for Estime Rive-Nord and the manager of the mosque.
The hesitations and bungling on the part of the city of Terrebonne seem to prove him right.
The case started December 2010. The mosque had opened without official notice to the city, in 2000 sq. ft. premises located on two floors, in the city’s industrial estate.
Two more years
– It was only two years later, in October 2012, that the city recognized its mistake of having permitted the establishment of a mosque in its industrial estate. The chief inspector, who originally gave the okay, later ordered the mosque to leave its premises within 90 days, but the mosque never left.
– On June 17, 2013, the city’s executive committee refused to change the zoning for the premises to allow the establishment of a house of worship.
– Last January 26, the city issued a legal notice of non-conformity, with an order to evacuate the premises “with the briefest possible delay”.
That refusal to change the zoning and the two legal notices of non-conformity have been up to now ignored by the mosque’s management, and they have not received any further sanction from the city’s authorities.
– It was only last Thursday that the city tasked the Deveau law office to bring to a halt that illegal utilization of an industrial area for worship purposes.
The mosque still has hope
Today, the mosque is patronized mostly on Friday evenings and during weekends. About thirty worshippers were on the premises for the final prayer and some cultural activities last Friday.
Saturday the Muslim association management refused, after consulting its members, to send us, as was agreed, the original written documents allowing the mosque to occupy its present premises for the past five years, in spite of the zoning regulations.
In an e-mail that he sent last Saturday, Karim Sibous writes: “We have the firm conviction that we will be able to negotiate in full confidence with the city’s authorities and find a solution to our problem.”