The new group, Quebec Muslims for Rights and Freedoms, believes individuals should be free to wear whatever religious symbols they choose, and say the province should make policies without interfering with religious institutions.
The group represents 50 Muslim organizations across the province which collectively oppose the Charter that – if passed – would limit anyone wearing religious symbols from holding government positions.
The group voiced concerns that women that wear a veil have been unfairly targeted as the debate surrounding the charter continues to heatedly unfold. That said, they want to make it clear that their opposition does not aim to speak exclusively on behalf of Muslim women.
“Our position here does not concern the Muslim veil,” said Genevieve Lepage, of the Quebec Muslims for Rights and Freedoms. “It is applicable to all citizens that may or may not wear a religious symbol.”
Samer Majzoub, another Quebec Muslims for Rights and Freedoms member, said that participating in a religious faith shouldn’t be cause enough to rid one of their ability to belong in the province. “Being a Jewish Quebecer, or Sikh Quebecer, or a Muslim Quebecer does not make me any less Quebecer than any other Quebecer.”
While it has been met with strong opposition, the Charter has not been opposed across the board. Tuesday, a coalition came out in favour of the PQ’s proposed values, supported by the likes of ex-supreme court justice Christine L’Heureux-Dubé and former university student leader Martine Desjardins.
See also “Quebec minister responsible for charter to meet Muslim groups”, Globe & Mail, 25 September 2013