MONTREAL – A draft law in Quebec, Canada, which could forbid government employees from wearing religious symbols and clothes in the workplace – including the Muslim headscarf – has sparked debate ahead of elections in the French-speaking province.
The proposal has come from the ruling Party Québécois (PQ), which has held power since 2012. PQ premier, Pauline Marois, is set to call an election on Wednesday in a renewed push for Quebec’s independence from Canada.
Muslim and Sikh communities in Quebec have reacted against the proposed bill, sparking arguments on state secularism, with a new survey revealing that a majority of people believe the legislation targets Muslim women who wear headscarves. Findings from Canadian research company, EKOS, showed that almost 80 percent of English-speaking respondents and 70 percent of ‘allophones’ (non-native English or French speakers) thought the bill aimed at banning women from wearing a headscarf.
If the law came into force it would ban Jews from wearing kippahs, Sikhs from wearing turbans, Christians from wearing crucifixes and Muslim women from wearing headscarves when working in government institutions.
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