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September 11, 2013 5:23 pm

Jewish Human Rights Group Says Proposed Quebec Bill, Banning Religious Symbols Worn by Public Workers, “‹”‹is Unconstitutional

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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A diagram from the charter of Quebec values illustrating banned religious symbols for public employees. Photo: Screenshot / www.nosvaleurs.gouv.qc.ca.

A diagram from the charter of Quebec values illustrating banned religious symbols for public employees. Photo: Screenshot / www.nosvaleurs.gouv.qc.ca.

B’nai Brith Canada said on Wednesday that a law proposed in the Canadian province of Quebec to ban all religious symbols, including yarmulkes, turbans, burkas, hijabs and over-sized crosses, in public sector workplaces is unconstitutional and that the Jewish human rights group would intervene legally if necessary to block the bill.

In a statement, B’nai Brith Canada said the proposal, sponsored by Parti Québécois, violates the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and “that it is absolutely unacceptable” as it “”‹”‹discriminates against persons of faith and transforms them into second class citizens.”

“We were pleased to see that the Federal Government has indicated their preparedness to mount a constitutional challenge. The League, with its proven record of defending human rights, is prepared to intervene should it be necessary,” said Allan Adel, National Chair of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada.

Explaining the proposal, the minister in charge of the charter, Bernard Drainville, said, “If the state is neutral, those working for the state should be equally neutral,” Canada’s CBC News reported on Tuesday.

The proposal would apply to judges, police, prosecutors, public daycare workers, teachers, school employees, hospital workers and municipal personnel, while elected members of the national assembly would not be subject to the regulations, CBC News said.

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