Quebec introduces law to ban niqab and burqas when receiving public service
Oct 19, 2017 National 1 6070 By Abdulkerimu Oare
- Quebec introduces law to ban niqab and burqas when receiving public service.
- The bill which has been passed makes it illegal for Muslim women who cover their face to receive public service.
- Muslim women in Quebec "feel targeted" by the law.
French speaking Canadian Province Quebec has passed a controversial bill that makes it unlawful for Muslim
women who wear veils to cover their face to receive public services including riding in public buses.
Bill 62 as it is commonly called was passed into law after the provincial legislature voted 65-51 in favour of the legislation on religious neutrality on Wednesday.
The law makes it mandatory for citizens within the Province to uncover their faces before giving or receiving public service.
This new ruling applies to provincial and municipal employees - including doctors, nurses, teachers and daycare workers - and public transit workers.
Shaheen Ashraf, a board member of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women based in Montreal, said she was "disturbed and unsettled and upset" that the legislation was passed.
Muslim women in Quebec "are feeling targeted" by the law, which is the latest in a series of attempts by the provincial government to "raise the issue of Muslim women's attire", Ashraf told Al Jazeera.
"The message they're sending to those women is that you stay home and don't come out of your house because they are choosing to cover their faces and they cannot board a bus or use any public transportation or receive any services," she added.
"So what are they supposed to do?"
Quebec Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee who has been a long time supporter of the bill defended the legislation, telling CBC News this week that it was about "living together in harmony".
"It's a bill about guidelines and clearly establishes neutrality of the state," Vallee said.