Thousands of mostly Muslim protesters took to the street in Montreal to express anger at a plan to ban public sector workers from wearing religious garb in Quebec.
The prohibition of headscarves, turbans and other religious garments is part of a proposed overhaul of the Canadian province’s “Charter of Values.” “No to the charter,” the demonstrators shouted, while also chanting “Quebec is not France,” — a reference to a similar law which has been in force in that country for more than two years.
The planned measure, soon to be presented to parliament, has sparked a raging debate since details were leaked to the media a few weeks ago. It would ban public sector employees from donning “conspicuous religious symbols,” including headscarves, yarmulkes, turbans, and large crosses at work, but allows certain religious jewelry, as long as it is “not very visible.”
The proposal also requires people receiving state services “to make their faces completely visible”.
The Quebec minister in charge of the issue, Bernard Drainville, recently said ridding the region of the public wearing of religious apparel by government workers would help provide a greater sense of unity among Quebecers.