Islamic holiday celebrated in Montreal criticized after public prayer session

Borough mayor Emilie Thuillier said that she is considering banning religious events in public parks.

Islamic holiday celebrated in Montreal criticized after public prayer session
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Images posted to social media of Muslims praying together in a Montreal park have stirred controversy in the province after members of the city's Muslim community gathered earlier this week to celebrate Eid al-Adha.

Their communal prayers in a park in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough prompted complaints from residents and political commentators.

Le Devoir newspaper featured a letter from a group of secularists condemning the public prayers.

Borough mayor Emilie Thuillier said that she is considering banning religious events in public parks, CTV News reports.

Frederic Dejean, a professor in the department of religion at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal has responded to this controversy, saying that larger gatherings of Christians taking place in the streets of downtown Montreal doesn't stir up the same level of anger.

A spokesperson for a collective representing pro-secularist organizations in Quebec put forth that "religious celebrations should not be allowed on public space because they exclude people who aren't members of the faith."

The controversy comes at the same time that Toronto police announced they were investigating hateful messages advertised on a video truck. The truck, owned by Rebel News, broadcasted a message from the "Canadians Opposed to the Occupation of our Streets and Campuses" group, about Islamic prayer sessions in public spaces.

The truck sparked controversy online, with several politicians disavowing the message, including NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who called it an "Islamophobic campaign" done to "incite fear and fuel hatred."

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