Muslim Council of Montreal denounces firing of correctional officer: Muslim female officer was fired due to hijab

March 14, 2007

Montreal, Quebec, Mar. 14th, 2007- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) expressed today its disappointment with the firing of a Muslim female correctional officer at Bordeaux jail because she insisted on wearing the hijab.

“The Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms clearly prohibits religious discrimination in the work force,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “What makes matter even worse is that Bordeaux is a governmental institution, headed by the Minister of Security, the MP for St-Laurent, Mr. Jacques Dupuis. Instead of adding fuel to the fire over reasonable accommodation in Quebec by acting in such discriminatory ways, they should wait rationally for the commission’s findings on reasonable accommodation and respect the religious rights promised to all by the Charter.”

“Safety is indeed a valid concern; however, there are logical ways to ensure safety even when wearing the hijab, without asking the officer in question to compromise on her religious beliefs and practices,” Elmenyawi said.

MCM does not find such behaviour surprising, given the recent climate of xenophobia and racism being propagated by the recent distorted and biased debates about the reasonable accommodation issue.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest established a commission to study the issue of reasonable accommodation in Quebec last month.