November 20, 2017

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Local public forum to discuss Quebec face-covering bill

After two national groups filed a legal challenge to Quebec’s ban on face veils, Manitobans will gather this week to talk about the human rights implications of Bill 62.

Unveiling The Truth: Quebec’s Religious Neutrality Law & Islamophobia is the title of a public forum to be hosted by the University of Manitoba Centre for Human Rights Research and Islamic Social Services Association.

It comes on the heels of last week’s Quebec Superior Court challenge of that province’s recently adopted law. The National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Marie-Michelle Lacoste, a Quebec woman who converted to Islam in 2003, say the law “gravely infringes” the religious and equality rights of certain Muslim women in that province.

The challenge takes direct aim at the section of the law that forces public-sector employees and private citizens to have their face uncovered when giving or receiving public services.

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After two national groups filed a legal challenge to Quebec’s ban on face veils, Manitobans will gather this week to talk about the human rights implications of Bill 62.

Unveiling The Truth: Quebec’s Religious Neutrality Law & Islamophobia is the title of a public forum to be hosted by the University of Manitoba Centre for Human Rights Research and Islamic Social Services Association.

RYAN REMIORZ / CANADIAN PRESS FILES</p><p>A woman wears a niqab as she walks in Montreal.</p>

RYAN REMIORZ / CANADIAN PRESS FILES

A woman wears a niqab as she walks in Montreal.

It comes on the heels of last week’s Quebec Superior Court challenge of that province’s recently adopted law. The National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Marie-Michelle Lacoste, a Quebec woman who converted to Islam in 2003, say the law "gravely infringes" the religious and equality rights of certain Muslim women in that province.

The challenge takes direct aim at the section of the law that forces public-sector employees and private citizens to have their face uncovered when giving or receiving public services.

"This requirement directly infringes the freedom of religion of individuals, such as Muslim women, who cover their faces as a religious practice," the challenge reads. "The act thus precludes certain Muslim women... from receiving various public services unless they act contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs."

In Winnipeg, the issue will be explored at the U of M law faculty’s Robson Hall on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Presenters include Karen Busby, U of M law professor and academic director of the Centre for Human Rights Research; Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd, a minister at Westworth United Church with a PhD in feminist theory and theology who teaches at theological schools across Canada; and Shahina Siddiqui, founder and executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association and Islamic History Month Canada chairwoman.

Unveiling The Truth: Quebec’s Religious Neutrality Law & Islamophobia. A public forum hosted by the University of Manitoba Centre for Human Rights Research and Islamic Social Services Association; Nov. 16 at Robson Hall; 7 p.m.

What is Shariah law? A public forum at the Millennium Library, hosted by the Islamic Social Services Association. Nov. 21 at Carol Shields Auditorium; 6:30 p.m.

— with files from The Canadian Press

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Read more by Carol Sanders.

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History

Updated on Monday, November 13, 2017 at 7:39 AM CST: Photo added.

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