About 40 residents opposed to the establishment of a Muslim cemetery in the Quebec City area town of St-Apollinaire have managed to initiate a possible referendum on the issue.
The number of those opposed is sufficient to have Quebec’s Director General of Elections establish a register to record the total number of citizens opposed to the project. Over the next few days the DGE is expected to announce the number of persons authorized to sign the register.
The number of signatures collected over a five-day period will determine whether a local referendum on the issue will be held.
St-Apollinaire mayor Bernard Ouellet has already come out in support of the cemetery, most notably during a public information session held on March 29 that drew dozens of residents as well as members of Quebec City’s Muslim community.
During the meeting some citizens of the 5,000-member community made it clear they preferred a multi-denominational cemetery.
Others, however, cited the Jan. 29 armed assault on a Quebec City mosque that left six dead as grounds for displaying openness to a community that had been so recently attacked.
On Wednesday, a funeral provider in another town in the Quebec City region announced it was assigning 500 of its cemetery plots to create a Muslim section.
Though Muslims have lived in and around Quebec City for generations, there was no Islamic cemetery in the area. Instead, the community has been burying its dead in Montreal or sending bodies back to birth countries.