Quebec City-area residents vote against Muslim cemetery project

The provincial capital’s first Muslim cemetery was inaugurated Sunday, with more than 500 plots in an existing cemetery in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures set aside for those of Muslim faith. Sunday, July 9, 2017. TVA

SAINT-APOLLINAIRE, Que. – Residents of a town near Quebec City have rejected a plan to establish the region’s first Muslim cemetery by a vote of 19 to 16.

Voters were deciding whether or not to allow a zoning change for the proposed site in Saint-Apollinaire, 35 kilometres southwest of Quebec City.

READ MORE: 49 people to decide whether Quebec City’s Muslims get their own cemetery

The plan for the cemetery was developed after January’s deadly mosque shooting, but the issue was sent to a referendum after enough people came forward to oppose the project.

Opponents of the project said Muslims should be buried in Islamic sections of existing cemeteries.

READ MORE: Not enough Muslim cemeteries in Quebec, community struggles to bury dead: immigration specialist

But Quebec City Muslims said their community deserves the same rights as all other religious groups, which have their own burial grounds.

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Thirty-six of 49 registered voters cast ballots. One was rejected.

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