Statement Concerning the Attack on the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City
Condemn Hateful Violence, Build Secularism
Rassemblement pour la laïcité (Alliance for Secularism)
Montreal, 1st February 2017 – The Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL, Alliance for Secularism) denounces the heinous attack, on January 29th, against Muslim citizens at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. We condemn this infamous anti-Muslim attack and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims.
In such a situation, there can be no double standards. Hateful violence against Muslim communities is just as reprehensible as jihadist attacks which have occurred throughout the world. No political motivation can possibly legitimize or exonerate such bloodshed. Religious belief is a fundamental freedom. Muslims have as much right to worship in their mosques as Jews do in their synagogues and Catholics in their churches. Nothing and no-one may infringe upon that right.
To guarantee respect for the freedom of conscience of all Quebec citizens, both believers and non-believers, to promote social harmony and the integration of newcomers, the RPL firmly believes that the state and public institutions must be formally secular. For years now, governments in both Quebec City and Ottawa have adopted a complacent attitude towards religious fundamentalism, while fundamentalists continue to gnaw slowly but surely at the democratic and secular bases of society, while simultaneously undermining the principle of gender equality. At the same time, those who favour secularism — the majority of Quebeckers — are the targets of the most egregious slander, including accusations of xenophobia, ethnocentrism, islamophobia, systemic racism or parochialism. Specious and deplorable accusations are made against them. Unfortunately, by failing to offer any secular solution, the political powers-that-be fan the flames of the far-right, so that individuals and movements of that political tendency feel free to act with impunity in the current climate, especially in light of recent events in the United States.
The Rassemblement pour la laïcité is a coalition of Quebeckers of all backgrounds, including those of Muslim culture. The RPL condemns the use of violence for political purposes, whatever those ends might be. We consider that the pursuit of the secularization of institutions and organizations remains a requirement of the highest priority in order to preserve democracy, fundamental liberties and social harmony.
André Lamoureux, spokesperson of Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL, Alliance for Secularism)
English translation: David Rand, LPA-AFT