Montreal won’t grant imam Hamza Chaoui a permit to open Islamic community centre

MONTREAL — Controversial imam Hamza Chaoui will not be allowed to open an Islamic community centre in east Montreal.

Real Menard, mayor of the borough of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, says he won’t grant Chaoui an operating licence because places of worship are not permitted in the area where a site had been rented to open the centre.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says he supports the decision.

Coderre told a news conference it’s not a matter of freedom of speech, but an issue of public order and safety.

He described Chaoui as “an agent of radicalization and instigator of social tensions.”

Chaoui has made comments deemed homophobic and sexist. He also says Islam and democracy are “completely” incompatible.

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