Ban Teachers from Religious Dress, Quebec Group Says

October 9, 2007

Author: Zosia Bielski

Source: The National Post

The group that 12 years ago fought vehemently for the rights of students who wore a hijab in Quebec's public schools is now trying to ban their teachers from wearing the Islamic headscarf and other "ostentatious" religious symbols while at work.

The Quebec Council on the Status of Women, a 20-member body that advises the government on issues relating to women, is urging the province to force public employees to remove visible religious signs when they are on the job. Aside from large Christian crosses, Sikh turbans and Jewish yarmulkes, these also include the hijab, a veil that generally covers the hair and neck, and the more controversial niqab, which covers the face, leaving only the eyes exposed.

The council argues that equality between men and women trumps religious freedoms, and that the symbols oppress.