– Mosque Attendance: 2 Letters to the City Planning Department

Below are 2 letters that were sent to the City Planning Department:

1) August 13

2) August 28

To: Kenan Handzic
Cc: Karen Leibovici; Linda Sloan; Tim Ford; Gail Hickmore
Subject: Lessard Mall – Mosque attendants on Friday, August 13

Another Friday and another major infraction of the law  at Lessard Mall; this time however it comes  with a noticeable difference.  Today, Friday, August 13, we counted 468 attendants at the mosque – more than twice the number of seats allowed by the City.  Consequently, parking was a much more serious issue than in the last two Fridays.  This time, many cars parked along the two sides of 172 street, creating a very dangerous situation for drivers, especially when busses drove through.  If this situation continues, an accident is a matter of time. 

 We would like to add that several cars parked at the church’s parking lot.  As far as we know, the church has never agreed to that.

 Keenan, how is the City going to respond, given that MAC has been warned last week?  How is the City going to respond to a group that egregiously, and as a matter of course, does not hesitate to demonstrate their disrespect of the law?  MAC has stated on public TV, and in a letter to the residents, that they would like to be good neighbors and contribute to our community.  “As it is enshrined in our vision,” they told us in March, “(to establish an Islamic presence in Canada, that is balanced constructive and integrated, though distinct, within the social fabric and culture of Canada) we strive to be part of the social fabric of the Canadian society.”  Breaking the law and bringing chaos to our neighborhood is a strange way to show that. 

 The residents are getting more and more frustrated by the week.   They feel angry with MAC and the City.  It is one thing for the City to tell us that we have to monitor attendance at the mosque and report it to the City; it is quite another to have the information and not act upon it. _______________________________________________________________________

Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010
To: Kenan Handzic; Gail Hickmore; Tim Ford; Linda Sloan; Karen Leibovici
Subject: Mosque attendance – August 27

 Dear all:

 On Friday, August 27, 389 attended the mosque for the early afternoon prayer.  This number is still below capacity , as we all know.  However, you should know that whereas the City has helped MAC to stay within the law, the City has exacerbated the traffic issues.  As we all know, the 4-worshippers-per-car formula does not apply in this case.   Many cars carry no more than one or two passengers.  As a result, the new by-law is a license to make traffic issues more serious in our neighborhood.  On Friday, the parking lot at the mall was full; about 20 cars parked at the church; and the two sides of 172 street were lined with cars, including at least one heavy truck.  Thus a permit that has made it easier for MAC to comply with the capacity limit, has aggravated the situation for the residents.

 I know that all of you are operating within the City zoning and by-law requirements.  However, I find it very discouraging (and sometimes depressing) how little has been done (and perhaps can be done) to protect the resident rights.   Many of us have lived here for over 20 years.  I know many of the residents in this neighborhood.  They are exemplary citizens, the bedrock of Canadian society.  Together, we have built ice rinks, playgrounds, coached sport teams, etc.  We paid taxes and never broke the law as a matter of course.  Respect, tolerance, and decorum are our core building block.  In short, together we have created a very healthy community, one of those that makes Canada the envy of most other countries in the world. 

 I am not the smartest person in the world.  So perhaps you can explain to me how come that literally overnight, a group that has done nothing for our community, that has not invested an ounce of sweat into the fabric of our neighborhood,  has been able to create so much trouble so easily?  Do property rights outweigh our rights?  Is worshipping more important than our own daily rituals (e.g., why worshipping is more important than the sleep of an older sick neighbor who is awaken late at night by the noise of the cars leaving the mosque) and values?   

 What are the obligations of the City to its citizens?

 With much respect to all of you,

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