Today, Jan. 31, 2015, mayor, Mayor Denis Coderre slams controversial imam followers, saying, “public safety is behind the city’s decision to block Hamza Chauoi from receiving an operating licence for his proposed community centre at Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve,” located in Montreal’s east end.
CTV News reports, “It has nothing to do with freedom of speech,” Coderre said at a news conference Saturday morning. He described Chauoi as “an agent of radicalization and instigator of social tensions,” adding that the imam has “his own agenda” for the site. Real Menard, mayor of the borough Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, said he will not allow Chauoi to set up in his jurisdiction.
Chaoui, viewed as an extremist by some, is a Moroccan-born imam living in Montreal with controversial views on sharia law and ties to suspected radicals. Chaoui has preached at the St-Jean-sur-Richelieu mosque attended by Martin Couture-Rouleau, the Muslim convert who killed warrant officer Patrice Vincent in October. Chaoui to also linked to Chiheb Esseghaier, the leader of a Muslim association at Laval University. Esseghaier is about to be tried on charges related to a plot to derail a Via Rail train travelling between Toronto and New York two years ago.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says, “The city’s lawyers are “ready to rumble” if Chaoui decides to sue.” Coderre stated he has no intention of labelling any one religion in particular, but said his focus is on fighting extremism.
Using social media, Chaoui shares his fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. Sympathetic to sharia law, he posts to Facebook and YouTube that women should have designated guardians. Under the confines of sharia law, women are not much more than a possession, bound and hidden behind a head to toe mask.
There are non-Muslims who come to our home and tell us, “really, you cut off heads, you cut off hands?’ But that’s religion. It’s our religion in our own country. We decide how we implement it,” he said in a YouTube video which has since been made private.
On Friday, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, unveiled an anti-terrorism bill that includes a section giving his government the power “to order the removal of terrorist propaganda” from the internet. Under the new legislation, anyone who urges others to commit a terror act could face up to five years in prison.
The new “Act amends the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other bills in an attempt to crack down on homegrown extremists in the wake of attacks last fall in Ottawa and Quebec. Under the new laws, anyone who posts a video or blog on the Internet urging others to commit a terrorist act will risk arrest, said Justice Minister Peter MacKay.”