If Maureen Brosnahan’s CBC report is correct, then Corrections Canada in Alberta has for too long been tolerating the mistreatment of minorities belonging to at least one religious minority. Guess which minority it is?
Two Muslim inmates have filed complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission over their treatment at Grande Cache Institution, a federal prison in northwestern Alberta.
Nicolas Hovanesian, 30, and Mohammed Karim, 35, say they have been called terrorists, subjected to racist jokes and refused adequate time for prayers and ceremonies in the prison chapel.
The alleged incidents took place over the past two years.
Hovanesian told CBC News that Mark McGee, a Catholic priest and chaplain for the past nine years at Grande Cache, would cut short their Friday prayers and limit their access to the chapel. “Like Eid,” Hovanesian said. “We were in the middle of our celebrations and he kicked us out of the chapel because there was a Catholic band practice … our religion was trumped because of band practice.”
The men said they were both suspended from the chapel and faced institutional discipline because they refused to call the priest “Father.” While other inmates were allowed to use the washroom in the chapel, Karim said, they were refused access to it to wash before prayers, which is a requirement for Muslims.
In several cases, they said, the priest made disparaging remarks to themselves and others, especially to converts. “Like say, there was a white Muslim, like a convert, he would make comments like, say, ‘You’re white, why are you Muslim, you should be Catholic,'” Hovanesian said.