Montreal

Hérouxville drops some rules from controversial code

The town council in Hérouxville amended its provocative immigrant code of conduct Monday night to remove certain rules.

The town council in Hérouxville amended its provocative immigrant code of conduct Monday night to remove certain rules.

Council adopted the changes, which include removing references to "no stoning of women in public" and "no female circumcision."

Councillors said the rules were open to misinterpretation by journalists who have flocked to the Mauricie town of 1,200 since it adoptedthe code of conduct in January.

The town's leaders denied the amendments had anything to do with a visit from a delegation of Muslim women on Sunday as part of a mission to educate residents about their beliefs and practices.

The code itself will remain enshrined in the town's public documents.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest has ordered a commission to look into the debate over the reasonable accommodation of cultural and religious beliefs.

Seven out of 10 towns in the neighbouring region have moved to support Hérouxville's code of conduct.

Women's delegation satisfied with visit

The Canadian Islamic Congress is still considering filing a human rights complaint againstHérouxville, but a group of Muslim women who visited the town Sunday said they're generally pleased athow residentswelcomed them.

"There was a real exchange," Najat Boughaba told Radio-Canada on Monday. "There were people who reached out to us. I really think our visit to Hérouxville benefited both sides."

Boughaba, who led the women's visit, said she was struckby how little the townspeople knew about Islam and its customs.

Boughaba said André Drouin, the municipal councillor who drafted the code, told the women's delegation he had done some research before writing the rules.

"But people I met knew very little," she said.

She was glad to share some of her beliefs with Hérouxville locals, but is realistic about changing people's opinions on reasonable accommodation.

"Hérouxville won't change," she said.

Boughaba believes pride is preventing Hérouxville from scrapping the code altogether.

"We'll leave them to think about it for a bit of time."

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