Quebec’s proposed ban of religious symbols in public buildings provokes defiant reaction

The Quebec government could have a difficult time trying to impose its proposed ban on religious symbols in provincially funded facilities, angry citizens tell QMI Agency.

At a daycare centre near Montreal, close to half of the centre’s 15 workers wear a hijab. They said they will defy any future hijab ban. “When I came to Quebec, 10 years ago, I thought I was settling in a free country,” Zakia Maali said. “I feel like the government is telling to stop everything I am doing and return home.”

QMI Agency learned on Monday that the Parti Quebecois is crafting legislation that would take away the right of citizens to wear religious signs and symbols such as visible crosses, yarmulkes and hijabs in public institutions such as hospitals, schools and daycares.

At one of the city’s community health care centres, an Egyptian immigrant and mother of two young children, who didn’t want her name published, asked why the government wanted to curtail her liberties. “I am Egyptian, I come from a country where Mohamed Mursi (the recently deposed Islamist leader) imposed his dictatorship on us,” she said. “Who is disturbed by my headscarf?”

Quebec’s three opposition parties with seats in the legislature also criticized the PQ’s plan. Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said the PQ proposed the ban to divert attention from the province’s lacklustre finances. CAQ Leader Francois Legault called the PQ plan “radical” and said his party will soon come up with a more “balanced” plan to legislate the province’s values.

The PQ, as a minority government, needs the support of either the Liberals or the CAQ to pass legislation.

QMI Agency, 21 August 201

See also “Critics call Quebec’s proposed ban on religious headwear ‘Putinesque’”, Globe & Mail, 20 August 2013

Update:  See “Justin Trudeau dismisses ‘Charter’ proposal; doctors say they would leave”, CTV News, 22 August 2013