Muslim Council of Montreal welcomes ruling allowing hijab to be worn by government correctional officers

December 21, 2011

Montreal, Quebec, December 21st, 2011- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) applauded the recent settlement reached between the Quebec Public Security Department and the provincial human rights commission to allow its correctional officers to wear the hijab.

“We welcome this settlement, which both safeguards the rights and freedoms granted in the Canadian and Quebec charter and constitution and also ensures the well-being of government correctional officers,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “This is not a political issue, but rather a matter of human rights and as the decision from the commission demonstrates, the regulations concerning freedom of religion and freedom of conscious are very clear and distinct and must be upheld and respected. The Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms clearly prohibits religious discrimination in the work force and to fire someone because of their decision to wear the hijab was against the very values and freedoms of both Quebec and Canada.”

MCM thanks the commission for ruling that the restrictions on religious articles of clothing worn by the correctional officers were discriminatory and a violation of the provincial and federal charter of rights. In order to ensure the safety of its staff, the Public Security Department will provide a Velcro-fastened hijab upon request for religious reasons. Correctional Service Canada also permits for its Muslim guards to wear the hijab in the federal penitentiary system.

“It is disturbing to see the Parti Quebecois calling the settlement ‘excessive’ and ‘completely unacceptable’”, Elmenyawi said. “It is time for them to stop infringing on the rights guaranteed to all Canadians in the charter and constitution and stop sowing seeds of Islamaphobia, and instead commit to working towards social cohesion and harmony.”

The settlement came after a complaint filed by a Canadian Muslim female correctional officer at Bordeaux jail, who was fired from her position in March 2007 because she refused to remove her hijab.



Salam Elmenyawi

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 275,000 Muslims in Montreal, about 1,200,000 in Canada and 1.9 billion worldwide.