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Bill 21 and The Hijab

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

There are many issues within Québec's Bill 21, '' An Act respecting the laicity of the State ''. The separation of state and religion is great, but to what extent? If you don't already know Bill 21 is it's a bill in Québec which was officially introduced as of March 28 2019 which banned someone with authority to wear "religious symbols" and also banned wearing a headscarf (Hijab) this article will try to explain why banning headscarves from jobs with authority such as teachers and doctors is wrong.

Now you might have asked why is this legal in the first place the bill is with no doubt violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms specifically the right to religious freedom. If you thought that then you are partially right, but the Canadian constitution is very complicated and there is a loophole the "notwithstanding ". The act of notwithstanding gives provincial governments the right to pass laws that might have violated some of the Canadian Constitution but obviously only to an extent. Quebec argues that since it's province follows civil law the "state" and "religion" should be dived.

However, there is a stronger argument that this article wants to address a larger problem, is the hijab religious? This is a substantial question but depending on who you are the answer can be different, but many people conclude that the scarf is also part of many cultures. Thus, to conclude that Bill 21 is not just religiously discriminating but also culturally discriminating.

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