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News > Canada

Canada: Quebec Court Relaxes Religious Symbols Ban

  • "The court highlights the evidence that undoubtedly shows that the effects of Law 21 will be felt negatively above all by Muslim women." the judge said. | Photo: Twitter/ @nccm

Published 20 April 2021
Opinion

Justice Marc-André Blanchard, who relaxed the so-called Law 21, explained that this ban affects largely Muslim women.

A court in Quebec, Canada, ruled on Tuesday to eliminate clauses of a controversial religious symbol ban that prevents individuals from minority groups from wearing items such as the hijab if they are public servants.

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The decision allows teachers and some local officials to use these symbols but still prohibits that police officers and judges wear them. The 2019 law banned all government employees from referencing their religion through clothing items at their jobs.

The local government explained it had passed the law to prevent secularism in the province.  Upon the rule, the Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette replied that "the court's decision to exempt English schools threatens to divide the province along linguistic lines and create two categories of Quebecers." The local government plans to appeal.

On the other hand, Justice Marc-André Blanchard, who relaxed the so-called Law 21, explained that this ban affects largely Muslim women. "The court highlights the evidence that undoubtedly shows that the effects of Law 21 will be felt negatively above all by Muslim women." the judge said.

"On the one hand by violating their religious freedom, and on the other hand by also violating their freedom of expression, because clothing is both expressions, pure and simple, and can also constitute a manifestation of religious belief," the rule explains.

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