Last June, the Quebec government banned schoolteachers, police officers, prosecutors and other public sector employees from wearing religious symbols while at work which applies directly to Muslim hijabs, Sikh turbans, Jewish skullcaps, Catholic crosses and other religious wear. The New York Times makes the point that in the wake of this new law, Quebec has been “grappling with the consequences.”
The law has fostered vocal protests and legal challenges, as well as condemnation by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to the Times. The English Montreal School Board has said that qualified teachers have passed on taking teaching positions, and only one teacher removed her hijab in order to keep her job.
“I would not feel comfortable being faced with a judge or lawyer in court wearing a head scarf here, because I would worry about their neutrality,” says Radhia Ben Amor, a research coordinator at the University of Montreal, who is Muslim.
Perri Ravon, an attorney who has worked on lawsuits against the ban, says that “the law is disproportionately affecting Muslim women because the hijab is an outwardly visible religious symbol.”