Montreal hasidim threaten suit over ban on new places of worship

Hasidic Jews in Montreal’s Outremont borough are vowing to go to court after a referendum upheld a bylaw banning new places of worship.

JTA ,

Montreal
Montreal
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Hasidic Jews in Montreal’s Outremont borough are vowing to go to court after a referendum upheld a bylaw banning new places of worship.

“It’s very disappointing,” hasidic leader Abraham Ekstein told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

The bylaw, passed last year, was upheld Sunday by a vote of 1,561 to 1,202.

The basis for the court case, according to Ekstein, will be religious discrimination running counter to rights guaranteed under Canada’s and Quebec’s human rights charters.

While the bylaw prohibits any religion from establishing a new house of worship on a specific upscale street — ostensibly to promote local business activity — Ekstein and others feel the real target was the haredi community, which makes up one-quarter of the borough’s population and is growing rapidly.

Mindy Pollak, a haredi Jew who is also an Outremont city councillor, also did not accept the pro-business argument for the bylaw, pointing to a nearby street where synagogues and business were thriving.

The argument “just doesn’t hold water,” she told CBC.



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