Muslim group denounces values charter
A group of over 50 Muslim organizations says the proposed Charter of Quebec Values runs contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Quebec Muslims for Rights and Freedoms (QMRF) announced its position at a press conference this morning. According to organizers, the group believes in state neutrality towards religion and secularism, but for it to be done in an open and inclusive way that does not require the banning of religious symbols in public institutions.
“A secular state has no business doing theology [involving] the religion of their citizen,” explained spokesperson Geneviève Lepage.
According to coalition member and president of the Canadian Muslim Forum Samer Majzoub, the charter and the debate surrounding it will reaffirm negative stereotypes of religious minorities, particularly if they are being categorized solely as immigrants.
Our children have been born in Quebec. I myself have four kids here, they cannot just feel suddenly they are [being singled out] because of their beliefs,” he said.
A member of the coalition will be meeting with Bernard Drainville, the minister responsible for the charter, next week, but Majzoub maintains they will not be representing the QMRF, only their Muslim organization.
Majzoub added that the coalition does believe in uncovering one’s face, if for security or identification reasons, when performing or receiving a public or governmental service.
“it is reasonable to demand to uncover the face when you are receiving a service or giving a service—especially when you are giving a service, we believe it is much more reasonable to uncover the face—and it is a must when it comes to identity and security issues,” he said.
The proposed Charter of Quebec Values would see all religious symbols banned from being worn by public workers in the province while at work.
Story and photo by Andrew Brennan