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Quebec Zoo Defends Decision to Let Muslims Pray as People Call for Boycott

flickr/@mjb

A Quebec zoo is being criticized for allowing a group of Muslims to hold prayers within the zoo’s grounds after a video of the prayers was posted to Facebook.

The Hemmingford, Que., zoo, Parc Safari, rented the outdoor area to the Canadian Muslim Association on July 2. In the Facebook video, you see the Muslim group praying on the grass.

The zoo said Tuesday that though it received multiple complaints following the prayers, it stands by its decision to allow the prayers, according to a statement.   

“Parc Safari is sorry freedom of religion may have offended some. In no case this was the objective,” the statement said. “Parc Safari is a place for all, no matter their nationality, religion, colour, culture or sexual orientation.”

Zoo officials said that they host corporate groups often and renting the area to the Muslim association wasn’t any different.

The park stated they will not accept any inappropriate or hateful comments and that any such messages will be removed from their social media. They say they have received a number of hateful and racist comments.

Zoo management says the Muslim association followed all the rules and would have been asked to leave if they had not. But as it were, no rules were broken and the park says they do not discriminate.

“Parc Safari is a place where everyone is welcome. A zoological institution is by definition a multicultural place where small and large can discover the wonderful diversity of nature and animals and thus develop affection and respect for this diversity, these differences, and their intrinsic beauty,” the statement reads.