Muslim Council of Montreal slams comments by Liberal MNA Fatima Houda-Pepin

November 25, 2013

Montreal, Quebec, November 25th, 2013 - The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) slams the recent comments by Quebec Liberal MNA Fatima Houda-Pepin regarding the PQ government’s Charter of Values.

“Ms. Pepin’s comments mimic the discrimination and xenophobia we find rampant in the PQ’s rhetoric,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “Ms. Pepin fails to realize that by taking away the right of a free woman to choose what to wear in a democratic nation, she is reducing Quebec to be the same as any oppressive state that enforces a particular dress code upon its people. The point isn’t whether a woman wears this clothing or that, but rather that their right to express themselves is enshrined in the constitution and they must be free to make their decisions about what to wear for themselves, without interference from the state. Ms. Pepin’s comments are not only hypocritical for an MNA in a democratic state, but also stink of Islamophobia and opportunism and are in contrast to the values of inclusion and pluralism that the Liberals have always stood for.”

MCM notes that this is not the first time Ms. Pepin has unjustly attacked the Montreal Muslim community and wrongly accused them of extremism. MCM calls on the Liberal MNAs to remind Ms. Pepin of the true values of the party, which include respect for the rights of religious minority groups, before she attempts to lead the party down a dangerous path.

Ms. Pepin’s comments come in response to her party’s secularism critic Marc Tanguay stating that he would welcome Liberal candidates wearing a “chador” to sit in the legislature. The PQ’s Charter has been called an affront to human rights by Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Coulliard, who has stated he will allow it to pass “over my dead body.”



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.