08 November 2007

Bouchard-Taylor Commission hears about religion in Drummondville

On 6 November, the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, which is canvassing public opinion in Quebec concerning reasonable accommodation, held a session in Drummondville, a city of about 67,000 in the Centre-du-Québec region.

During the session, the commission heard from some Catholics who argued against the province's plan to drop the teaching of Catholicism at public schools in favour of the teaching of religion as a general subject. Gilbert Deshaies, a Drummondville resident, stated that "religious thought should be forged in a child before he submits his faith to criticism."

On the other hand, Lionel Émard, a Catholic priest, argued that it was not the role of the state to promote a certain religion, but rather the responsibility of the relevant religious community itself.

Aziza Aboulaz, an immigrant from Morocco, aimed to counter the negative image of Islam held by some by informing the audience that she did not have to get her husband's permission to address the commission, and that she had a car which she could drive. She also said she had worked in the banking sector in Morocco for 15 years. On the other hand, she asked what she called Muslim fundamentalists to be more realistic in the demands they made from Quebec society at large.

Finally, Gérard Malo, a World War II veteran, spoke out against what he considers to be a moral decline in the province. According to him, this decline has set in due to consumerism and a reduction in religious observance. In this regard, he said Christians had a lesson to learn from Muslims, who pray "a lot and well". Malo finished by praising God in six different languages (Radio-Canada).

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