Quebec coalition criticises ‘reasonable accommodation’ hearings

A coalition of Muslim and social justice-groups says the Bouchard-Taylor commission has fanned the flames of racism and Islamophobia by offering a platform to those with extremist views. Instead of dealing with such issues as exploitation of immigrant, home-care and migrant workers, the commission has sought to deal with minor irritants, speakers from various groups said yesterday.

May Haydar, of the Al-Hidaya Association, said the reasonable-accommodation debate was “fabricated, manipulated” because “there is no crisis.” Poverty and streets gangs in Montreal are the real issues, she continued, while Muslim women with headscarves, Sikh men with Kirpans, and Jews with skullcaps are not threats.

The coalition, under the banner Refusing Intolerance in Quebec, plans to organize a series of demonstrations to underline its stance on these issues.

Montreal Gazette, 20 November 2007