Bill discriminates against Muslims: protesters
About 60 women, a third donning the Muslim veil, demonstrated Saturday in front of Montreal City Hall and demanded the province scrap legislation that would require anyone receiving public services to show their face.
Bill 94 was proposed last month amid Quebec’s public debate over how far governments should go to accommodate religious customs.
Government officials have said the bill is a solution to the need to balance individual freedoms with the values of Quebec society, including the equality between men and women and secular public institutions.
But protesters described the legislation as being discriminatory.
Afifa Suleiman, 11, a Muslim who covers most of her face, was among those who took part in the protest. She said there’s nothing wrong with wearing the niqab.
“We’re not going up to people and putting a veil on their face,” she said. “We’re doing it on our own face, right? It’s our face. We have control over what we want to do and they’re not letting us do it.”
One woman who declined to give her name also wore the niqab as she watched the protest. She said Bill 94 is not fair.
“I personally would never attend university if they tell me to take off my niqab, so, they’re making me become illiterate,” she said.
Immigration Minister Yolande James said the government is promoting secularism.
“What we do say is services are being rendered and to participate, that your face is to be uncovered,” she told CBC News.
The Quebec government has said it will consult with concerned groups before the bill is put to a vote.