Society

Canada : The newly-elected Coalition Avenir Quebec government proposes an anti-Hijab law

Muslim women, working for provincial government services in Quebec, may be banned from wearing the Hijab. The restriction is part of a secularism law proposed recently by Canada’s newly elected Coalition Avenir Quebec.

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Montreal Protesters against Quebec's Charter of Values./Ph. CBC-Ryan Remiorz

Canada may be banning its public employers from wearing religious clothing because of a «secularism law» that was proposed by a center-right party in Quebec, reported the Telegraph on Thursday.

The decision has been made after Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) won the 42nd Quebec general election, held on October the 1st in Canada. The new regulation, if approved, will cover «religious symbols» such as the Hijab, and the Jewish kippah skull cap, adds the same source.

The restrictions, announced by CAQ’s leader François Legault, will affect «judges, prosecutors, police officers, prison guards and school teachers in the French-speaking province», says the British newspaper.

People in the Quebec «would like to have a framework where people in an authority position must not wear a religious sign», said Legault on Tuesday, 2nd of October.

To put in other words, people who give or receive provincial government services in Quebec will be prohibited from wearing religious symbols while on duty. If they refuse to act in accordance with the law they will be taken to an office job that does not require interfering with people.

Refused by Justin Trudeau and the Muslim community

The center-right party’s plan, however, was not well appreciated by the Canadian Prime Minister. In a statement, Justin Trudeau said he was «not of the opinion that the state should tell a woman what she can or cannot wear».

The Muslim community in Quebec was also angered by the party’s regulation. They have even hit the streets on Sunday, 7th of October, to denounce the CAQ’s policy.

According to the Canadian Press, a group of protesters rallied in Montreal against the law proposed by the newly-elected CAQ government.

«Muslim families pushing strollers, Indigenous community leaders, masked anti-capitalist activists and members of some 50 community groups marched through the city's downtown in a protest that stretched across several blocks», added the news agency.

In Canada, it is not the first time that a similar regulation is proposed by the government. In 2017, Liberal regional government passed a law that forced public employers in Quebec to remove face veils, says the Independent.

«We are just saying that for reasons linked to communication, identification and safety, public services should be given and received with an open face», Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said in October, 2017.

However, the regulation has never been implemented as Canadian courts found that it was discriminating against Muslim women.

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