Position Statement on the Quebec Charter of Values

Position Paper - Quebec Charter of ValuesCCMW recommends that policies concerning religious communities and modes of clothing being debated within governments and the media must seek out the voices, testimonies and experiences of those directly affected by these policies, whether they be Muslim women in the hijab or niqab or men that don the kippa or turban or an individual wearing a crucifix or Star of David pendant, these members of Quebec society must be consulted and given voice and power.

How an individual chooses to dress is a very personal decision.  While there is no consensus among Muslims about how Muslim women and men must dress, CCMW believes that the face covering is not a religious requirement, and is not mentioned in the Quran. The verses in the Quran, regarding any kind of covering of women, are open to interpretation, and scholars have interpreted the vital verses in a number of ways.

The Quran speaks of modesty for both men and women, and this can be achieved by various forms of clothing and is not limited to one specific garb.  We believe it is the decision of the individual woman to decide what she wears, and understand that the rationale varies for each woman.

This choice and freedom of religion is a fundamental right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international declarations and agreements.[1] The proposed Québec Charter of Values contravenes all of them.

Further, it gives permission for intolerance and xenophobia towards religious minorities and foments overt discrimination and is not what citizens and residents of Québec and Canada expect in a free and democratic society.

The motivation for the Québec Charter of Values must be seen for what it is:  a ploy to capitalize on sentiments against religious minorities in Québec and elsewhere for political expediency and be guaranteed a majority, should the minority government fall.

Excluding religious minorities that wear articles of clothing and symbols from participating in or accessing government and social services under the guise of preserving a “neutral state” is problematic as it obstructs civic participation, prevents individuals from accessing basic needs and services, inhibits their livelihoods and consequently treats them as second-class citizens.

CCMW is against any state imposing a dress code, whether it be Québec, Saudi Arabia or Iran.  We are committed to equity, equality and empowerment of Muslim women and girls. For more information visit our website at www.ccmw.com.


[1] Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (1976), the UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966),  the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), The International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (1965) and the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief (1981) amongst other bodies of domestic and international law.

Protest Against Charter of Quebec Values-October 13th, 2013