The CBC reports that a Quebec judge has just dismissed a motion to suspend parts of the "act respecting the laicity of the state," which includes a ban on religious symbols for public service employees, like teachers and police officers, in positions of power. The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) were behind the suit.
In a statement to Twitter, the NCCM writes that "no one ever said that defending our civil liberties would be easy. While we are obviously disappointed about this decision, we and the [CCLA] are currently in the process of reviewing the decision and considering our options to appeal."
“This is a disappointing decision that permits a discriminatory law to continue to operate, while causing real harms to individuals who simply wish to go to work in their jobs and chosen professions. We remain ready to fight this to the end,” said Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Equality Program Director for CCLA in a statement posted to the NCCM website.
The CCLA has previously called the religious symbols ban, Bill 21, "a law that picks on the most visible of minority groups, many of them racialized and newcomers; that harms women in particular; and that fosters an environment of intolerance and division has no place in a society that values equality and freedom."
Bill 21 has been widely labelled racist and Islamaphobic. The law will disporportionately affect minority groups, including Muslim women and Jewish men, for whom religious garments can be a fundamental demonstration of faith.
The ambiguous text of the bill also suggests that the state may enforce punishments for civil servants who refuse to remove religious symbols. Critics also fear that the law might allow the government to institute a mode of surveillance to monitor compliance.
Stay tuned for more news on the religious symbols ban.
The NCCM may move forward with an appeal of this latest judicial decision.
Watch the MTL Blog video below for more information on Bill 21: