A ‘troubling’ story about faith in Quebec, says minister

More than a decade after its first report, the Church of Canada is once again raising the alarm about a lack of faith among Quebec’s Muslims.

The Church said Monday it has received hundreds of complaints about Islamophobia in Quebec since its initial report in 2001.

“We’ve had more than a thousand reports, some of them very concerning,” said Marc Bibeau, a spokesman for the church.

“And we’ve received several thousand more since then.”

Bibeaus said the number of complaints has increased dramatically.

“In recent years, there’s been a very big shift in how Muslims are portrayed in media, especially in Quebec,” he said.

“What we’ve seen is a real deterioration of the religious landscape.”

Bélanger, a former Quebec government minister, told the House of Commons last week that Islamophobia is on the rise in Quebec.

He said a recent study by the Université de Montréal found that nearly two-thirds of Muslims surveyed said they felt discriminated against in the province.

“The problem is, we’ve not done enough,” he told the Commons.

“If we do nothing, there will be more of this.”

A spokeswoman for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said the church’s report has made headlines across the country.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the church is the sole reason for these increases,” said Sophie Guillimont, a spokesperson for the centre.

“As the church points out, Muslims make up about half of Quebec’s population and we are a minority.”

Bíbé’s comments come as the province’s Liberals are facing questions about whether they are willing to go beyond the promise of a secular curriculum.

Premier Philippe Couillard says the province is “still grappling” with the issue of Islamic extremism, despite calls for a ban on burqas.

He has also pledged to build a mosque in the city of Quebec City.