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Bill 21: What Qualifies As A "Religious Symbol" Finally Defined By CAQ Minister of Diversity

In all of our coverage of the "Religious Symbol Ban" introduced by Quebec's current governing party, the CAQ, we have been unable to define was constitutes a "religious symbol," by their standards, because they themselves had failed to do so, time and time again. 

While François Legault did make statements warning teachers to remove their religious symbols or find new jobs, we still lacked a clear definition of what would be considered a religious symbol.

Now CJAD is reporting that Simon Jolin-Barrette, the Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion Minister, has finally explained what will qualify as a religious symbol.

While the Bill is currently being dissected in committee, Jolin-Barrette finally tabled an amendment that specifies what will be considered a religious symbol by the government. 

According to CJAD, the amendment specifies that any object, "including a garment, a symbol, a jewel, an adornment, an accessory or headgear will be considered a religious sign if it is connected with a religious belief or conviction, or if it is reasonably considered to refer to religious affiliation."

Apparently, the size of the object will also not matter. 

READ ALSO:New Poll Suggests Quebec Is More Racist Than The Rest Of Canada

Several groups were present outside the National Assembly yesterday to express their concerns with the bill to the CAQ. 

A representative from a group called Justice Femme, Hanai Saad, told the CBC that throughout February and March over 40 women who wear hijabs called into their organization to report "incidents of discrimination or violence, including being 'spat on or pushed in the street.'"

Saad is frightened that this government is working to "legitimize" discrimination, particularly against groups that already face discrimination and stigma surrounding their religion.

On the other side of the aisle, Liberal MNA for D'Arcy McGee, David Birnbaum has expressed his full intention to fight the bill to the very end. 

To read the bill in its entirety, it exists in PDF form right here.

To read CJAD's report on the definition of religious symbols, head to their article here. To read CBC's report of the protests outside the National Assembly yesterday, head to their article here.

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