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Quebec law prohibiting religious wear at work faces legal challenge


November 26, 2019
By The Canadian Press

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MONTREAL (CP) – Opponents of Quebec’s secularism law are making their case in front of the province’s highest court today.

Representatives of a national Muslim organization and a civil liberties group and a university student who wears an Islamic head scarf are seeking to reverse a lower court decision that allowed Bill 21 to be applied across Quebec.

A Superior Court justice ruled July 18 that the groups and the student failed to demonstrate Bill 21, adopted last June, was creating enough damage to warrant a stay of the central components of the law while their full legal challenge is heard.

Mustafa Farooq with the National Council of Canadian Muslims says lawyers representing his group will provide new evidence to the court indicating Bill 21 is causing irreparable harm to religious minorities in the province.

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Quebec’s secularism law prohibits some public sector workers, including teachers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols at work.

Catherine McKenzie, a lawyer for the applicants, said Quebec Court of Appeal Chief Justice Nicole Duval Hesler did not give a reason for granting leave to appeal in a ruling from the bench in August.