A cemetery near Quebec City will open a Muslim section

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SHAFAQNA – A month after talk of opening a Muslim cemetery dramatically divided residents of another town near Quebec City, a funeral business in St-Augustin-de-Desmaures announced Wednesday it will open a Muslim section in Les Jardins Québec.

The Lépine Cloutier/Athos funeral home said 500 plots have been made available to Muslims in the 1.5-million-square-foot cemetery. The section will be officially opened in late May or early June.

In late March, about 200 attended a public meeting in St-Apollinaire, 45 kilometres southwest of Quebec City, to discuss opening a Muslim cemetery. About half the residents who spoke said they welcomed the cemetery, while the other half raised concerns.

Though Muslims have lived in Quebec City for generations, there was no Islamic cemetery in the area. Instead, the community has been burying its dead in Montreal or sending bodies back to birth countries.

Though the community has been negotiating to buy the land since the fall, the issue came to a head after a Quebec-born gunman killed six Muslim men at a Quebec City mosque Jan. 29. Five of the six victims were buried overseas.

The Muslim community in St-Apollinaire is hoping to buy 60,000 square feet of land adjacent to a non-denominational funeral-services company for $215,000.

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