'I'm not racist, I'm just realistic': Anjou councillor reproached for post about Muslim doctor
The Canadian Muslim Alliance is demanding an Anjou borough councillor resign, saying it is “appalled by the open message of intolerance and prejudice” in a Facebook post she wrote over the weekend.
Lynne Shand is apologizing for the controversial comments she posted to her public Facebook page about her experience with a Muslim doctor.
“First, I want to apologize to all my fellow citizens and especially to Muslims if some of my comments on Facebook hurt,” said Shand, adding that “I am sensitive to the work women have done over the years. Many women before us fought for our rights and gender equality.”
In the post - which has since been deleted - Shand recounts a trip to the emergency room on Friday to address an eye issue.
"Yesterday, I had to undergo an emergency ophthalmological exam," reads the post, written in French. "Who was the ophthalmologist? A veiled woman... grrrr... If it wasn't an emergency, I would have refused to be treated by her."
Shand goes on to say she was "enraged" because she believes the physician represents the "Islamization" of Quebec.
"We have to accept everything, make reasonable accommodations for them, remove our crucifix (And I'm not a believer) etc etc," she wrote.
“Although she claims that she is not racist, her words clearly express otherwise,” read a statement the Canadian Muslim Alliance issued Monday.
“She has apologized which is always a sign of good leadership – albeit after a great public outcry. However, being in a position of power, these types of comments not only stimulate hatred, but make it acceptable in society. They are not acceptable. Therefore, we demand that, as a responsible leader, she resigns from her post and be held accountable for what she has stated.”
The full post follows:
In the comments, Shand said her post was not a criticism of the physician's competence - instead, she adds that the care was "excellent."
However, she continued to bemoan Muslim presence in Quebec.
"The hijab is extremist just like white supremacists [are]," Shand commented.
"We're talking about Islamization, religious integration, planetary control by mass immigration, massively increasing the birth rate. But please wake up... I am not racist, I am just realistic."
Shand, who is also an artist, refers to herself as the proud daughter of immigrant parents in her Equipe Anjou profile.
Anjou borough Mayor Luis Miranda and his team issued a statement Monday morning, saying that they do not endorse Shand’s remarks.
"I will never endorse such remarks and I do not share her opinion. Her words represent her thought alone,” he said.
"The director of our borough, who I myself chose and hired, is of Muslim faith. I confirm that this way of thinking is not conveyed to Anjou. My borough is totally dissociating itself from these remarks,” he continued.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante took to Twitter to denounce Shand's comments as "completely inappropriate."
Shand's comments come as the CAQ is preparing to table its legislation on secularism and religious symbols this Thursday.
In February, Premier Francois Legault publicly said he doesn't believe that Islamophobia is an issue in Quebec.
Shand herself admitted, in an interview with CTV Montreal, that she could have approached the issue differently on social media.
"It wasn't right, the way I said it. I should have written it in a different way," Shand said.
"What I think is that we have a society problem here - I think," she explained. "Racism is not part of a religion, to me. Racism is like when you don't like Italians or another sociocultural place. This is religion - I'm against religious signs in our society because I think we should be inclusive, and not exclusive."
"I have the right to not want to see your religion in my face. For me, I believe in much more than religion," Shand added.
She told CTV Montreal that she is simply “anti-religious” and that religious symbols of any kind should not be worn by public employees.
If she had a choice, she wouldn’t be treated by a woman in a hijab again, she added. “I’m being (a) baby here, seriously. It’s not right, probably, the way I think. But this is how I feel,” she said.