NEWS

Denis Coderre defends anti-radicalization plans

03/10/2015 10:53 EDT | Updated 05/10/2015 05:59 EDT
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is defending against accusations a committee formed to set up an anti-radicalization centre lacks diversity.

Coderre has taken heat for not consulting with members of Montreal’s Muslim community ahead of Monday's announcement.

- ANALYSIS | Has Ottawa been too slow to take on radicalized Canadians?

In an exchange Tuesday with CBC Montreal's Daybreak host Mike Finnerty, Coderre said the city will begin by working with partners from social services, public safety and education.

“It's going to be very inclusive, but first things first, we're talking about expertise,” Coderre said.

Haroun Bouazzi, co-president of the Association of Muslims and Arabs for a secular Quebec, told Homerun on Monday he was concerned Muslim Montrealers hadn't been approached about the centre.

“We actually are very disappointed,” he said, explaining that he received a call from the city only a few hours before the announcement.

“We hope dialogue can be better.”

Bouazzi said his group wants to see government policies that will ensure Muslims feel welcome in Quebec.

“That will make actually less and less kids that feel excluded from their society,” he said.

“Today, they are actually having a huge amount of hatred against them, in the social media and in some conventional media.”

For his part, Coderre said the anti-radicalization centre will not target Muslims in particular, even if the plan comes on the heels of reports six Quebecers had been recruited to join Syrian jihadists.

“Of course, we had a situation just a few weeks before but it's deeper than that,” he said.

“We are providing tools to prevent radicalization.”

Coderre told Finnerty he wanted to make sure Montreal remained open and diverse.

“I'm not excluding, I'm including,” he said.

MORE:cbcNews