Open letter to our Muslim friends

Dear friends,

Welcome to Quebec,

Whoever chooses to settle down in Quebec is straightaway a friend, straightaway welcomed. However if you feel that suddenly the welcome leaves much to be desired, here are some points to be considered:

I assume that you wear religious symbols, then you should know that that falls at a bad time in our history. We are not more closeminded than other societies, but it is good to understand at which moment you arrive in a given country. We are just out of a few decades of fighting to free ourselves from the yoke of the church, therefore we are a bit allergic to all that is religious.

We have also spent a few decades to establish man-woman equality , therefore we are not too crazy about the veil and some people would not want their daughter recruited in a movement which for us constitutes a move backward.

Having said that, it remains that, regarding religion the watchword should be "Live and let live". Yet, it takes two to tango: as soon as we can live American style in Saudi Arabia, you can live here Saudi style.

Other point to be considered: admit that largely you constitute a closed society which does not favor good neighboring.

Let us approach now the general perception of Islam in the West. It is clear that Islam has moved towards a marked toughening. We understand that only a small minority follows this movement, Nevertheless, it is them who lead the ball and it is true in numerous countries.

Finally, for many Quebecers, a religion it is a spiritual quest, a quest of transcendence, not a political movement, not a code of laws.

Welcome in a secular society.

Serge Bellemare
June 11, 2013

(Published in: le Journal Le Courrier de l'île June 18 2013)


The reaction of Dr Renno :