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Quebecers Urged to Wear Ahead of Values Charter Hearings

Tanineyas: A Montreal woman who was attacked on the Metro for wearing a hijab is urging Quebecers to don religious symbols to protest the Values Charter, proposed provincial legislation that would ban public employees from wearing “ostentatious” symbols of faith.

Sana Al-Obaidy, along with her sister Yusr, started a Facebook page called Support Another in order to launch a mass protest on Monday, encouraging others to go to work sporting one of the four symbols that would be banned under Bill 60: Muslim hijabs, Sikh turbans and kippas, and large Christian crosses.

“At the end of the day, if this is part of my identity and who I am and it doesn’t stop me from actually pursuing my job, then we should embrace the diversity that Quebec has,” Al-Obaidy told Daybreak Montreal.

Al-Obaidy says she was moved to do something against the Charter after she was accosted on Montreal transit by a woman who tried to pull her head covering off.

“She told me that my hijab and myself don’t belong in Quebec, and after a few exchange of words she started to pull on my veil,” she said.

Following that episode, Al-Obaidy says she became aware of other incidents of intimidation and harassment in Quebec ever since the Charter debate started.

In late August, an unidentified Muslim woman was confronted on the Montreal metro by a man who shouted at her to remove her head scarf and told her to return to her “own country.” 

“This is our home. With Marois, we’re going to take off your hat,” he said.

Hearings on the PQ’s Bill 60 are set to begin Tuesday in the National Assembly. The full name of the legislation is the “Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests.”

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