Two Gazette articles and one Editorial about the PQ Charter of Secularism and Ben Habib...

August 16, 2012
Please check the following two articles and one editorial about the PQ Charter of Secularism, and the involvement of Ben Habib.

1. Editorial: The PQ’s cynical, offensive ‘charter of secularism’

Montreal Gazette:
As if the threat of separation wasn’t enough, Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois has given reasonable-minded voters another reason to shun her party at the polls on Sept. 4.

She wants to bar public servants from wearing turbans, kippahs or hijabs, but not — God forbid — the crucifix.

Under the guise of wanting to rid “conspicuous religious signs” from the liquor stores, tax-collection offices and other state institutions of the province, Marois announced her party’s “charter of secularism” Tuesday during a campaign stop in Trois Rivières.

She made an exception for the crucifix, however, which the PQ considers a symbol of Quebec’s Roman Catholic heritage — a cultural symbol, not a religious one. If worn (as a pendant, say, or a brooch), it must be “discreet,” her spokesperson specified. That way, no one will be offended.

What hooey.

Please read more at:

2. Pauline Marois struggling with "hijab" backlash


Blatant xenophobia or a fevered defence of old-stock Quebec values? On radio talk shows, Twitter and Facebook and campaign buses, the battle over secular values, reasonable accommodation and who belongs raged Wednesday, overshadowing talk of the economy and the day’s election goodies.
Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, said his organization is shocked to see such archaic ideas of the past being resurrected. “It’s alarming to see a mainstream party like the PQ going this way and sowing the seeds of divisiveness.”

He said Benhabib, a Muslim who decries Islam, is being used by the PQ to “advance their own bigoted interests and enforce negative stereotypes. They think that if they bring in a Muslim woman to attack Muslim women, it’s not bigoted.”

The council sent out a statement Wednesday urging all Quebecers to reject the PQ’s “xenophobic” views. “I’m at a loss, but it seems we have to hold our nose and vote Liberal,” Elmenyawi said.

Please read more at:

3. PQ gambit draws comparison to Hérouxville

By Marian Scott, The Gazette

MONTREAL - Civil-rights groups and academics accused the Parti Québécois of fanning the flames of xenophobia Wednesday, a day after PQ leader Pauline Marois announced plans for a secularism charter that would ban religious symbols from government — with the notable exception of the crucifix.

If the PQ is elected, “it’s going to be four more years of divisions, tension, litigation and very likely of domestic and international outcry with regard to minority rights in Quebec,” predicted Fo Niemi, executive director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR).
Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, slammed the proposed charter and accused Marois of encouraging “hate, xenophobia and discrimination.”

The proposed charter is a ploy to distract voters from real issues like the economy, education, health care and corruption, Elmenyawi charged.

“We have many other problems. This is a non-existent problem,” he said.

If adopted, the charter would lead to years of bitter court battles, Elmenyawi predicted.

“(Marois) knows very well that such a charter will not fly and that it would be against the Canadian constitution,” he said.

“If we challenge such a charter and we win in the courts, is she going to say, ‘Oh, Quebec cannot protect its culture’ and blame minorities?” he asked.

Please read more at:

Thank you