Salman Khalid, 32, is an emergency physician at a hospital about half an hour from the ISNA Canada Centre, a mosque he and his family have always attended in Mississauga, west of Toronto. In May 2012, he was given a ticket for parking on nearby Finfar Court rather than the mosque’s parking lot, while attending Friday prayer services.
The bylaw states that parking is prohibited on the side street, approximately one block from the mosque, between 12-3 p.m. on Fridays.
But this coincides with the mosque’s hours of prayer service on Islam’s holiest day of the week, according to Salman’s father, Muhammad.
“This is our Sabbath day. The Christians have Sundays, the Jewish people have Saturdays, the Muslims have Friday,” said Mr. Khalid, the elder. “It is at noontime. It’s not in the evenings, it’s not in the morning. It is specified in the Koran that that’s the time.”
Mr. Khalid and his son allege the parking bylaw is discriminatory and violates the Ontario Human Rights Code.
“It’s basically denying the Muslims to park over there. Other times, everybody can park.”
There are examples in other jurisdictions of informal exemptions for parking violations caused by nearby religious services.
According to Kimberly Rossi, parking enforcement unit manager for the Toronto Police Service: “You may find that the officer can give discretion on that because people are generally invited to park in those areas and it’s not causing any hazards or issues,” she said.
Montreal has had a policy of “parking tolerance” on Jewish high holidays for over 30 years, allowing orthodox Jews, who don’t drive on holidays, to avoid tickets.
Mr. Khalid said he would like to see the same form of accommodation given for Muslims in Mississauga.
Mississauga parking restriction during prayer hours discriminates against Muslims, rights complaint says | National Post