The organization that runs the Palais des congrès has cancelled a Muslim youth conference, scheduled to be held in September, based on what it described as a “security review.”
The conference, titled Entre Ciel et Terre (Between Heaven and Earth), was scheduled to be held at the popular Montreal conference centre on Sept. 7 and 8. But the Société du Palais des congrès, the organization that runs the centre, issued a brief statement on Saturday stating it was cancelled “following a recent security review.” The conference was organized by a Montreal group called collectif indépendance.
The planned conference drew controversial attention earlier this month when Agnès Maltais, the provincial minister responsible for the status of women, asked the federal government to bar some of the invited speakers from entering Canada. Maltais called the speakers she wanted barred “radical Islamists” who have expressed backwards opinions towards women.
The Independence Collective, which had organized the event, held a press conference Friday to defend itself against charges of embracing a radical view of Islam and denounced what they said was a vilification campaign against the event..
The speakers who were expected to come from France to address the conference include Mohamed Francois, president of the Information Culte Musulman, Farid Mounir, President of the Islamic Sociocultural Centre, Nader Abou Anas, president of the D’CLIC Association and Mohammed Patel an expert on legalities of Islamic finance.
The four are experienced speakers who frequently address Muslim crowds and many of their speeches can be seen on YouTube.
The Quebec authorities objected to some of their ideas, which include a critique of what they consider the sometimes too-liberal clothing habits of western women.
One speaker, Nader About Anas, had previously said that women are "servants of Allah" and are "not free to do what they want in this world."
Agnes Maltais, the provincial minister in charge of women's affairs wrote to her federal counterpart Kelly Leich on August 21, asking her to “take the measures necessary to avoid the propagation of dialogue unacceptable to Quebec women.”