Orthodox Jews in Quebec Fight Anti-Burqa Law

Published: October 21st 2010
in News » Local

Woman in niqab.

Quebec's Orthodox Jewish community is fighting a bill that would ban women from wearing a Muslim face veil when receiving government services.


According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA), Quebec's proposed legislation would ban the wearing of Islamic face veils - the niqab and the burka – in such situations.


Appearing Wednesday before a Quebec National Assembly hearing, the Jewish Orthodox Council for Community Relations said that by placing gender issues above religious rights, the bill would “create a hierarchy of individual rights and freedoms that would be challenged in courts.”


According to the Globe and Mail, the group warned the government against adopting "hard and fast rules" that could intensify tensions already in place, surrounding religious minorities.


According to the Jewish group's legal counsel, Lionel Perez, the proposed bill conflicts with both the federal and provincial Charter of Rights.


"It will lead to court challenges, and if it leads to court challenges there will be more media coverage," Perez said. "If there is more media coverage, it will lead to more scrutiny, and it will exacerbate the social tensions.


"The government has to be equal towards its citizens, meaning that it doesn't distinguish between religions. And it has to ensure that it does not impose its view, whether religious or secular."

Related articles: (niqab, Quebec, Orthodox, gender, political, religious)

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