Comment by Blog Administrator: Why do muslims plant their mosque in our neighbourhood?
“One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.” — former Algerian President Houari Boumedienne warned Europe in a speech at the UN, 1974
“Soon we will take power in this country. Those who criticize us now, will regret it. They will have to serve us. Prepare, for the hour is near.” — Belgium-based imam in 1974.
Markham City Council voted last week for the Islamic Society of Markham to build a 28,000-sq. ft. mosque, at 6232 -16th Ave., just east Markham Rd., beside St. Brother Andre Catholic High School.
The $7 million mosque, to begin construction next year, will hold about 500 worshippers and include parking spots for 188 vehicles. Its dome and minaret is about 40-metres tall.
The plan has sparked so many concerns from residents that Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti took out a newspaper ad last Saturday to “provide the facts about the size, parking, traffic” and other concerns.
Scarpitti said the site was deemed a place of worship in 2003 and sat idle for three years until purchased by the Islamic Society of Markham.
“The plan is in complete compliance with zoning bylaws,” he said on Monday.
“The site plan approval process cannot be used as a tool to stop a a permitted use.” Scarpitti said a pubic meeting was held last month to discuss the matter and flyers were sent to 150 homes in the area.
“The size is comparable to many other places of worship in the community,” he said. “Some people think this was rushed through but that’s not the case since this has been in the works for years.” Ward 3 Councillor Don Hamilton said he’s fielded many calls from irate residents.
“Some residents are very upset,” Hamilton said on Monday. “It was zoned correctly but there are concerns about high traffic and the height of the minarets.” Hamilton said some residents believe the project may have been rushed through by council.
“Some residents have complained they weren’t given proper notice,” he said.
“One of the main concern is the traffic congestion.” Regional councillor Joe Li said the mosque “resembles the Taj Mahal in India.” Officials of the Islamic society said a new mosque is needed because the current one has reached its capacity and more Muslims are moving into Markham.
“Markham is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and Muslims make up a large part of the growth,” according to the society website. “Most of the Muslims in this community are first generation immigrants from all over the world.” The site many of the Muslims are primarily professionals and working class people.
Meanwhile, dozens of residents are expressing mixed feelings about the mosque in postings on an Internet website.
“I think it should not be planned there, not because it is a mosque, but because it is a mass daily rally point for non-residents in a residential area,” one Markham resident wrote.
“Its kinda cool that your neighbours might have a different religion, something you can learn from,” another resident said. “This will hopefully bridge gaps and help become more tolerant of other ideologies.” “Most folks are afraid of crackheads, porn shops, strip clubs and massage parlours moving into their neighbourhood,” another writer said. “This is the first time I’ve heard someone complain about a church.”