TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Thousands of religious freedom activists took part in a big rally in Montreal, Canada, against the provincial government’s Bill 21, which aims to ban wearing of symbols of faith by public service employees while on the job.
“The CAQ’s secularism bill is discriminatory and undermines the fundamental rights of religious minorities in Quebec, particularly Muslim women wearing the hijab,” said Adil Charkaoui, coordinator of the Collectif Canadien Anti-Islamophobie, on the group’s Facebook event page.
While the bill has provisions permitting current employees in the public sector to continue wearing religious attire (if they change job or even get promoted, they too will have to abide by the proposed law), critics of Bill 21 argue that the law will only create divisions in society by targeting minority groups, especially immigrants.
Ahead of Sunday’s rally, a group of 250 university scholars wrote an open letter to the government, calling the proposed law –currently being debated by the provincial government– an attack on fundamental rights.
“This law contributes to stigmatizing communities that are already seriously affected by racism and discrimination, more specifically, Muslim women and the Jewish and Sikh community,” the letter stated. “We are particularly concerned of the consequences of a law like this on the normalization of violence that these communities already suffer.”
Videos posted on social media, including the one below, show the huge gathering in Montreal.