Muslim Council of Montreal slams PQ’s Secular CharterNovember 8, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montreal, Quebec, November 8th, 2013 - The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) strongly rejects and condemns Bill 60, the secularism charter, tabled by the PQ government today in the Quebec National Assembly.“Over the past few months we have seen the dangerous repercussions of the PQ’s charter and instead of listening to the numerous experts who have spoken out against the charter, the PQ has gone forward to table this unnecessary, xenophobic and discriminatory bill,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “Already we have seen an increase in attacks against religious minority groups and we brace ourselves for the situation to get even worse, as the PQ has now unleashed and given legitimacy to the religious police. In tabling this bill, they have only demonstrated that they are not committed to focusing on the real issues facing Quebec, such as the economy, education and health system, but rather they prefer to create division and instigate hatred and racism in hopes to distract the public from the real issues and get re-elected. This is a sad day for Quebec.”
MCM is especially disturbed to hear public comments from PQ Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville, regarding his lack of concern for the growing problem of Islamaphobia in Quebec, particularly the rise in attacks against Muslim women following the introduction of the charter.
MCM further finds such a proposed policy to be unconstitutional, as it contravenes the values of the Canadian and Quebec charter of rights and freedoms and it states it will help any parties affected by such legislation to challenge it in the courts.
“There is no doubt in our mind that such a bill clearly contravenes the rights and freedoms of Quebec citizens and violates their constitutional rights,” Elmenyawi said. “As such, we are ready to challenge this bill and defend in the highest court the freedom of religious expression.”
Bill 60, titled “Charter affirming the values of state secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between men and women, and providing a framework for accommodation requests”, prohibits public employees from wearing religious clothing in the workplace.
“The Bill forbids that which ‘overly indicates religious affiliation; however, it is not just clothing that denotes one’s religion,” Elmenyawi said. “Is the next step from the PQ government witch hunt against religions going to be a ban on religious names like Muhammad, Jesus, Singh and Goldberg?”
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.