Canada: Green Party candidate forced to resign for criticizing mosque leader

Luc Saint-Hilaire called on the leader of Quebec City mosque to denounce a man who lit his ex-wife on fire.

Sunday 18 August, OTTAWA—A federal Green Party candidate was forced to drop out of the upcoming election campaign as he continues to call on the leader of the Quebec City mosque that was site of a 2017 massacre to denounce a man who allegedly lit his ex-wife on fire.

Luc Saint-Hilaire, the Green candidate for the Quebec riding of Lévis-Lotbinière, told the Star that the party gave him 24 hours to resign after he shared a post on Facebook following reports that a man accused of trying to kill his ex-wife by setting her on fire is Muslim.

Earlier this month, 39-year-old Frej Haj Messaoud was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault for allegedly setting his ex-wife on fire in Quebec City, The Canadian Press has reported.

Saint-Hilaire’s post was first reported by blogging philosophy professor, Xavier Camus. Dated Aug. 13, it shows an image of Boufeldja Benabdallah, co-founder of the Centre culturel islamique de Québec, and reads in French: 'It would be a good moment for the president of the Islamic Association to condemn the repugnant actions of this "Mohamed" who made his wife a human torch in front of her kids… but no! It’s silence…'

Rosie Emery, a spokesperson for the Green Party, confirmed Saint-Hilaire was asked to withdraw his candidacy this week. 'We have no further comment at this time,' she said by email.

In an interview with the Star, the marketing strategist said he admits it was 'maladroit' to share the post without outlining his precise views. He insisted he is not racist or prejudiced against Muslim people, but that he truly believes leaders of the Muslim community in Quebec—including of the mosque that was attacked in 2017—should speak out about the recent attack in the provincial capital.

In a subsequent email, Saint-Hilaire added that he feels that silence gives members of the 'extreme right' the chance to link the attack to Muslims in general.

Editor's comment - No one should be blamed for the actions of other people, but given that Islam sanctions the beating of disobedient women (Qur’an 4:34) and that many Muslim countries have reduced legal penalties for honor killing, it is not unreasonable to ask the president of the Islamic Association for some clarification on this matter. But no, mosque leaders are never to be questioned; the protected class must never be impugned or disturbed.

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