Quebec City-area Muslim cemetery project won’t be reintroduced: Mayor

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Quebec Muslim cemetery referendum rejected
WATCH: The residents of Saint-Apollinaire, near Quebec City, have rejected a proposal to establish the area’s first Muslim-run cemetery. Global's Raquel Fletcher finds out what the Muslim community plans to do now – Jul 17, 2017

The mayor of the Quebec town whose citizens rejected a Muslim cemetery project says he isn’t ready to make residents relive the experience.

READ MORE: Quebec City-area residents vote against Muslim cemetery project

Saint-Apollinaire Mayor Bernard Ouellet said Monday he doesn’t have plans to invoke a new Quebec law giving municipalities more power in order to reintroduce the project to voters.

A proposal to establish the Quebec City area’s first Muslim-run cemetery was defeated in a referendum Sunday by a vote of 19 to 16.

“For an ordinary cemetery, I imagine it wouldn’t have been a problem, but this is a Muslim cemetery. That’s what created this conflict,” he said.

He added that some people have told him they think a mosque will be next, that Muslims would start buying houses and that they would “invade.”

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

“It’s so flagrant it was a prejudiced vote,” said Mohamed Kesri, the person responsible for the land deal for the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre.

Leaders in the city’s Muslim community have said they plan to ask politicians to use a new law permitting municipalities to forgo referendums on development projects in order to bring the proposal once again before citizens.

Ouellet says a minority of Saint-Apollinaire voters have been stressed over the past few months after being solicited from all sides.

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

The land for the proposed cemetery is located in a sparsely populated area 35 kilometres southwest of Quebec City.

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