The town of Saguenay in Quebec doesn’t have any Muslim citizens, so its mayor is proactively looking for some. He wants the town to construct a mosque — “If we build it, they will come.”
Quebec: The mayor of a village without any Muslims wants to build a mosque
At a time where the rights tribunal forbids the recitation of prayers before the beginning of sessions in the city of Saguenay, (Quebec) Mayor Gendron of the small municipality of Huntingdon offers land and buildings for the construction of a mosque and madrassa.
Poor mayor Gendron. The groups that have the funds to build mosques are very likely to be linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and to be financed by petrodollars. This mayor who wants to repopulate his municipality risks having the one already established run away if in the village a branch of the Islamic league shows up.
Huntingdon wants its mosque. According to what Rue Frontenac has learned, the mayor Stephan Gendron has been searching for many months for a promoter or an Islamic group that will agree to build “a place of cult” in the small city of upper St. Laurent, which has no Muslim citizens. The municipality of 2,600 citizens (it was 2,900 20 years ago) has thrown itself into a business that the mayor qualifies as “a great seduction”. His target: Families, the elderly, and curiously, Muslims. To attract the latter the mayor is using many methods. Even if Huntingdon contains no Muslim citizens, he hopes for the mosque to be on his territory soon and has already made some steps towards that. “I haven’t had an official meeting, but I am talking to some people.”
Stephan Gendron does not stop there. On top of a place to pray he hopes to build a college or an Islamic cultural centre. “I already have the land available” he says, “and if they do not want to build new, I have vacant buildings at their disposal”. He has however no employment to offer his new cohabitants. “The migration around religion is one of the models that works the best,” believes the mayor. “It’s so difficult to attract people to the region that you must be creative.”
Within a week, Huntingdon will have in place a new online website translated in English, Arabic and Spanish, which is extremely rare and maybe even unique for a town of this size. Even Montreal does not go as far on the web. “We are also going to be organizing an open house during the spring,” promises Stephan Gendron.