(Ottawa, Canada – October 5, 2007) The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) today called the Quebec Council on the Status of Women’s demand to ban the hijab in workplaces discriminatory against women. The Quebec Council is demanding that all public and para-public employees be forced to remove religious clothing, headwear or jewellery, including the Islamic hijab and Jewish yarmulkes.
Conversely, in the mid-90s, when high school students were being expelled for wearing the hijab, the Council supported women’s right to wear the veil. Eventually the hijab-expulsions issue was decided by the Quebec Human Rights Commission, who ruled that Quebec schools could not stop students from wearing religious attire, including turbans, yarmulkes, crosses, and hijabs.
The hijab-ban, if implemented, besides curtailing right to religious practice, will leave Muslim women who choose to wear the head scarf unemployable in Quebec’s public and para-public sectors.
“The proposed hijab-ban by the Quebec Council on the Status of Women clearly runs against the interests of women. If implemented, the ban will lead to institutionalized discrimination against Quebec’s Muslim women by barring them from working in government sectors. This runs in direct contravention to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms which prohibits employment discrimination against women.
“Little more than 10 years ago the Council spoke out against expelling high school students wearing the hijab. The current proposed hijab-ban is a clear flip-flopped on the issue,” said Shahina Siddiqui, CAIR-CAN Board Member.
CONTACT: Shahina Siddiqui, CAIR-CAN Spokesperson, (204) 944-1560; Sameer Zuberi, CAIR-CAN Communications Coordinator, (613) 795-2012 or (613) 254-9704