Questionable Declarations from Muslim Organization about Quebec Charter of Values Could Jeopardize Rights of All

October 26, 2013

Montreal, Quebec, October 26th, 2013 - The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) strongly cautions all Islamic organizations and individuals to exercise good judgement and restraint when it comes to making public statements on behalf of the Muslim community, particularly when such statements are made without adequate consultation or consideration of the consequences.

“It is disturbing to see some of the official positions regarding the Quebec Charter of Values coming from certain Montreal Muslim organizations and even more disturbing that such positions may be taken as a legitimate representation of the entire community,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “We are particularly concerned to see statements legitimizing the prohibition of wearing the niqab when giving or receiving public services, such as in government offices, educational institutions and hospital settings.”

“It is hypocritical that these organizing oppose the Quebec Charter of Values because it contravenes the right of a person for freedom of conscious, yet they make a declaration to concede this right for a woman who chooses to cover her face. These women already follow the law and have no problem to remove their face veil when warranted by the situation, such as for purposes of identification or security. To support legislation that would prohibit them from their personal religious observation in order to perhaps receive medical attention or study is to go against the rulings of the Supreme Court that protect their right to cover. We ask all Islamic organizations to refrain from making such troubling statements that would seek to concede such legitimate rights, particularly when they are made without consultation with these women whose rights would be stripped away.”

MCM further asks everyone to remember that the compromise of individual rights is a slippery slope and that Quebec and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms safeguards such rights against unjustified compromise. To concede certain religious rights and freedoms today opens the door to future provisions to banish other forms of religious observance and expression as well.

MCM rejects the Charter in its totality and the notion of regulating dress codes by means of laws, as well as the changing of the principal of reasonable accommodation as established by the Supreme Court of Canada. Were such laws and changes to ever come to affect, MCM remains committed to fight them before the courts.




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 325,000 Muslims in Montreal, about 1,300,000 in Canada and 1.9 billion worldwide.