Two-thirds of Quebecers support the city of Shawinigan’s decision to block potential modifications to zoning rules to allow the construction of a mosque, according to a new poll.
The poll completed by SOM for Cogeco Nouvelles suggests 65 per cent of Quebecers agree with the city’s decision to turn down organizer’s requests for a zoning change, while 24 per cent are not in support. The rest of respondents abstained from sharing their opinions.
The results also suggests nearly the same number of Quebecers do not wish to have a mosque built or moved in their neighbourhood. Sixty-four per cent of people polled said they “mostly disagree” or “completely disagree” with the proposition.
Most of those who said they were opposed to the presence of a mosque in their neighbourhood mostly live outside of Montreal, are older than 55 years old and most did not complete post-secondary education programs.
Meanwhile, the 28 per cent of people in favour mostly live in the Montreal region, are between 18 and 34 years of age and obtained a university degree.
It’s important to note that building or creating a mosque or other building for religious purposes — like a church — is illegal in most residential neighbourhoods because of bylaws regarding zoning.
In Shawinigan’s case, a zoning change would have been required because the mosque was to be created in a semi-industrial zone. The city did, however, state that it remained possible to open a mosque in nearly 60 other sectors of the city that are open to religious activity.
The SOM poll for Cogeco Nouvelles was completed online between Feb. 20 to 22, 2015. A total of 1,240 adult Quebecers were polled in French and English. The maximum margin of error is of 3.1 per cent, or 19 out of 20 times.