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Daily News Analysis

Islamophobia bug has also infected Quebec courts

Crescent International

Quebec’s war on Islam and Muslims continues.

Its latest assault is the ban announced by Quebec education minister Bernard Drainville on Muslim prayer rooms in public schools.

Adding insult to injury, the ban was announced on April 5, in the middle of the month of Ramadan.

Drainville cited the province’s policy on institutional secularism.

He should have been a little more honest and admitted that it was because of the province’s policy of institutional racism, especially against Muslims.

After all, Quebec’s Bill 21 forbids government employees and teachers from displaying any religious symbols while at work.

This prohibition specifically targets Muslim women and girls wearing hijab.

Islamic organizations and mosques in Quebec were outraged by the prayer room ban and launched a court challenge.

Unfortunately, even judges have been infected by the Islamophobia virus.

Justice Lukasz Granosik of the Quebec Superior Court on June 14 denied a request to suspend the province’s ban on prayer rooms in public schools.

The case against the ban was lodged by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

They had argued that the ban was causing irreparable harm to Muslim students and needed to be suspended immediately.

Muslim students couldn’t wait while the wider legal challenge made its way through the courts, they said.

While the judge acknowledged that the ban violates religious freedom and could cause irreparable harm to Muslim students, he didn’t see the urgency of the matter.

He advanced the strange argument that groups hadn’t demonstrated the need for urgency because they only filed their request for a stay in June when the ban went into effect May 3.

“The delay is not explained in the proceedings and remains inexplicable,” Judge Granosik told the court on June 14, as reported by the Canadian Press.

The judge admitted that there are “serious questions” about the constitutionality of the ban, but added that those would be settled during a full trial.

He said the constitutional violations were not sufficiently clear for him to suspend the rule so early in the legal challenge.

Judge Granosik also said it is not clear that the student would be immediately harmed by the rule because classes had ended and students were only required to be at school to write exams.

When Quebec education minister first announced the ban on April 5, Muslim organizations in Quebec expressed “outrage”.

In a joint press release the following day (April 6), representatives of several mosques expressed their “indignation” at the minister’s decision.

The mosques are members of the Table de concertation des organismes musulmans.

“We are also indignant that this decision is made in the middle of Ramadan, a month of blessings, fasting, meetings with all fellow citizens and prayers for Muslim citizens of Quebec,” they wrote.

The authors represent the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec, the Islamic Association of Rimouski, the Islamic Cultural Association of the Eastern Townships, the Association of Muslims of Greater Levis, Mac-Quebec, the Socio-cultural Islamic Association Louperivoise and BelAgir-Quebec.

It needs recalling that the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec was subjected to a terrorist attack on January 29, 2017.

Six worshippers were shot and killed by Alexandre Bissonnette while they were offering their nightly prayer.

Another 19 were injured, one paralyzed from the waist down.

Bissonnette was sentenced to life in prison on six counts of murder but the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that he would be eligible for parole after 25 years.

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