Muslim Council of Montreal disappointed over kirpan ban by the National Assembly of QuebecFebruary 11, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, February 11th, 2011- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) expressed its concern over the recent vote from provincial legislators to ban the kirpan from the premises of the National Assembly of Quebec, as per a motion tabled by the Parti Quebecois.“It is unacceptable to have such an utter lack of tolerance, respect and pluralism in a liberal democracy like Quebec and Canada,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “Instead of requesting a sensible and reasonable compromise, such as wearing the kirpan sealed inside the clothing as the Supreme Court of Canada suggested, the National Assembly of Quebec acted with bigotry and discrimination. In order to ensure social harmony within such a culturally diverse place, it is essential to seek a just balance between the religious rights and freedoms of the individual and the security concerns of the state. We believe that the Quebec National Assembly wholly failed to do so in this case.”
The ban comes after four members of the World Sikh Organization of Canada were denied entry to the National Assembly of Quebec on January 18th, 2011 because they were wearing kirpans. The delegation was there to present their views on Bill 94, which prohibits the wearing of niqab when accessing public services. In 2006, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the reasonable wearing of the kirpan could not be banned within schools, as it violated the freedom of religion granted under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“It is absurd for PQ MNA Louise Beaudoin to claim that multiculturalism is a Canadian value, but not a Quebec one,” Elmenyawi said. “Multiculturalism is undeniably an integral part of Quebec society. Ms. Beaudoin has neither the authority to question the rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada, nor to deny the freedom of religion granted to all Canadians in both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.”
MCM notes that the ban from the National Assembly contradicts the House of Common’s standing policy, which permits the wearing of the ceremonial kirpan. It is also permitted in the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as in all other provincial legislatures. Liberal MP for Mississauga-Brampton South MP, Navdeep Bains, has worn his kirpan without issue in the Commons since 2004.
Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM)
Ph.: (514) 748-8427
The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) is an umbrella organization representing a number of Islamic institutions in the Montreal region. There are over 225,000 Muslims in Montreal, about 1,000,000 in Canada and 1.9 billion worldwide.