Muslim community calls Yves Francoeur's comments 'islamophobic'
Police union president says Montreal's multicultural nature plays role in radicalization of individuals
Yves Francoeur, the head of the Montreal police union, has backpedalled after making comments on Monday about the city’s "multi-ethnic character" and its relationship to radicalized Muslims.
Canadian Muslim Forum president Samer Majzoub called Francoeur out on CBC Daybreak on Tuesday morning, telling host Ainslie MacLellan that the union head’s explanation of his comments didn’t cut it.
When you start targeting people in particular, whether it’s because of their skin colour or religion or culture, it only complicates matters.- Samer Majzoub, Canadian Muslim Forum
"It’s a very, extremely islamophobic statement," Majzoub said on Tuesday.
On Monday, Francoeur told Radio-Canada that “police officers are not immune to the possibility of attack because of the ‘multi-ethnic’ character of Montreal.”
He later put out a news release intended to clarify his comments.
In the release, he said Montreal’s cultural diversity was not a problem in and of itself, but that it was an important facet for police to consider.
Statement not satisfactory
Francoeur said Montreal has all the characteristics of a large international city, and with that comes “complex problems.”
"The new phenomenon of radicalized, isolated individuals is one of them. To reduce this phenomenon to its religious nature is reductionist," his statement read.
Majzoub said he wasn't satisfied by Francoeur’s statement.
He said it’s unfortunate, because Montreal Muslim community and the police have an otherwise good relationship.
"When you start targeting people in particular, whether it’s because of their skin colour or religion or culture, it only complicates matters. I don’t think this is really facilitating the co-operation between the police and the Muslim community, or any other community," Majzoub said.