8th October 2018   •   article
Proposed ban on religious symbols in Quebec draws anger from Sikhs, Muslims and others

by Barfi Culture Team | @barfi_culture.
Image: WSO
The new government of Quebec is proposing that public officials be banned from wearing religious symbols, prompting anger from Muslims, Sikhs, Jews and Christians.

The move would affect teachers, judges and police officers, limiting their career options and possibly forcing them out of a job.

On Sunday October 7th, over 3000 people showed in Montreal city up to an anti-racist march against the proposed ban. According to CTV, the protest featured Muslim families, Indigenous community leaders and over 50 community groups.

The ban is being advocated by Francois Legault, whose party won 74 of Quebec's 125 seats in last week's election. He also wants to drastically cut immigration and force new citizens to a French language and Quebec values test.

Canadian Sikhs were also present at the march.

Teacher Namarta Kaur Malhi, the World Sikh Organization's Vice President in Quebec, is among those loudly opposing the proposed ban.

"There has never been a case, to my knowledge, when an authority figure is not performing a task properly because they have this thing on their head, because they're covering their hair," she told The Canadian Press.

Quebec's incoming leader says he would invoke the Notwithstanding Clause, which allows federal or provincial governments to override sections of Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to push through the ban.

The proposed ban would not apply to other Canadian provinces but there are fears it would set a dangerous precedent.

Quebec's new provincial government has not been formed yet. And there is no certainty the ban will go through unchallenged. Each side is preparing for a showdown.

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