CAIRO – A bylaw applying restrictions on parking on Friday noon in the area of ISNA Canada Islamic Center in Toronto’s city of Mississauga has been decried as discriminatory to Muslims who usually rush to park their cars to attend Friday prayers weekly.
“This is our Sabbath day. The Christians have Sundays, the Jewish people have Saturdays, the Muslims have Friday,” Mohamed Khalid from Toronto's Mississauga told the National Post on Wednesday, June 11.
“It is at noontime. It’s not in the evenings, it’s not in the morning. It is specified in the Koran that that’s the time.”
Every Friday, a ban is applied from 12-3 PM on parking on the side street, approximately one block from the ISNA mosque.
The ban coincides with the weekly Friday or Jumah prayer for Muslim.
Salman Khalid, a 32-year-old emergency physician, who works in a hospital about half an hour from the ISNA Canada Center, has echoed similar problem.
Rushing to the mosque he attends with his family for Friday prayer, the doctor faces troubles in parking his car.
In May 2012, he was given a ticket for parking on nearby Finfar Court rather than the mosque’s parking lot, while attending Friday prayer services.
Facing continuous troubles, both men submitted a complaint against the restrictions as discriminatory to the Muslim community.
They have also asked the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to back their claim.
Khalid, the elder, has also urged a special permission to his son who usually fails to find a room to park in the overcrowded parking area next to the mosque.
In Toronto, some religious congregations were given special permission during their weekly prayers.
“You may find that the officer can give discretion on that because people are generally invited to park in those areas and it’s not causing any hazards or issues,” Kimberly Rossi, parking enforcement unit manager for the Toronto Police Service, said.
Khalid said he would like to see the same form of accommodation given for Muslims in Mississauga.
“It’s very disheartening,” he said.
“This is our place of worship.”
Despite the Muslim doctor's appeals, the city said the prohibition is due to traffic created by the mosque-goers.
“There were safety concerns with respect to the type of parking that was going on. It wasn’t safe,” said Brian Wasyliw, the lawyer representing the City of Mississauga.
“The city feels that it did act appropriately in dealing with the matter and they do feel like they have a strong defense.”
Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.
Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade – from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011.
Muslims represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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