Canadian town rules: a man cannot stone a woman to death

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HEROUXVILLE, Quebec: A delegation of Canadian Muslim women paid a visit Sunday to a Quebec town that passed a controversial code aimed at immigrants.

Clad in traditional Islamic headscarves, six women and several Muslim students met with the council and residents of Herouxville, 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of Montreal.

Last month the town council passed the list of societal norms for would-be immigrants, letting them know that a man cannot stone a woman to death or burn her with acid.

According to the so-called “code of life,” faces are not to be covered except at Halloween and children cannot carry weapons, including Sikh kirpans, to school, despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada has already upheld that right for Sikh Canadians.

Najat Boughaba, the head of the delegation from Montreal-area Muslim groups, said she came to dispel myths about Muslims.

“This will be enriching for the people of Herouxville and for us, as well,” she told reporters outside the community hall where the meeting took place.


“We’ll certainly learn about them and there are certainly things we want to teach them about ourselves.”

The norms on the list are based on negative and wrongful stereotypes, Boughaba said.

Town councillor Andre Drouin said the town is eager to welcome its visitors and show that residents are not racists.

But Drouin said the code will stay put.

The town council will discuss the norms at the next town meeting and may make some changes if warranted, but Drouin said the list, and the principle, will remain in place.

The Muslim delegation brought gifts for about 50 residents who came out to meet them and they planned to tour the small town of 1,300 after the meeting.

• Original title: Muslim women visit Quebec town which has controversial code aimed at immigrants

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AP, via the International Herald Tribune, USA
Feb. 11, 2007
www.iht.com

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This post was last updated: Feb. 12, 2007