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Quebec: National Council of Muslims rejects injunction on religious symbols

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Superior Court of Quebec Justice Michel Yergeau rejected an application for temporary suspension of certain articles of the new Quebec religious symbols law, although he acknowledged that this was raising «serious» constitutional issues. CBC News quoted him, Thursday, saying that the jurisdiction must «defer, at this stage, to the power of elected politicians to pass legislation that they believe is in the public good».

Last month, this law was adopted by the government of the Avenir Quebec Coalition, with the idea of strengthening secularism in the public service. But the text is controversial because it prohibits teachers, police officers, government lawyers and other officials from wearing religious symbols at work, including the Islamic veil.

Shortly after the law came into force, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) filed a motion on the grounds of the unconstitutionality of the law. Their motion includes an application for an injunction to freeze the terms of the law, pending the courts' decision on their constitutionality.

After the judge's decision, Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Equality Program Director at ACLC, lamented a «disappointing» measure and called the rule «a discriminatory law that is going to push people out of their jobs». The ALCC and NCCM petition included several sworn statements, including those of a student wearing the hijab and a lawyer wearing the kippa. Both worried about their career prospects in light of the new law.

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