Press release, Montreal, May 15 2023
Following decision of the Quebec Minister of Education to ban prayer in public schools and the subsequent campaigns of discrimination and pressures on students in many educational institutions in Quebec, there was no choice for the community but to go to courts in the face of the Minister of education directive. The Ministry of education has been notified of the Community’s move on Monday morning, May 15, 2023.
Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF) commented on the Community’s only choice; “the community’s decision to go to the judiciary came as last resort and from the perspective of Quebec citizenry and human rights. It also came after extensive consultation among the institutions of the Quebec Muslim Consultative Table (QMCT). Moreover, there is no doubt that cooperation between these institutions indicate a state of awareness of the risks and social dimensions of targeting the second and third youth generations in schools, which may push them to a state of isolation and a sense of inferiority that may lead to negative consequences,” the FMC-CMF said.
FMC-CMF adds up by pointing out that “the Muslim community is not seeking to be given any preference over others,” however, it affirms its “categorical refusal to be continuously targeted under different pretext and excuses.”
FMC-CMF points out that “what the community hopes to is equality in rights and duties amongst all citizens and residents of Quebec and Canada. The community refuses the use of the concept of secularism as a peg, which sometimes is “customized” according to the interests of some policy-makers and their political agendas.” In this regard, the FMC-CMF affirms that “the Community calls for the implementation of the concept of comprehensive secularism, which prevents “authorities” from interfering in the ideological and religious concepts and practices of individuals. On the other hand, under comprehensive secularism governments do not adopt policies based on purely religious concepts,” pointing out that “one of the characteristics of Inclusive secularism is freedom of every individual to express and practice his/her conviction without fear.
While the FMC-CMF had previously called for the “ removal” of education sector from the effects of Law 21, it renewed its call to ” politicians and some media outlets to “take out” education and educational institutions from political polarization that severely damage the fabric and social harmony in Quebec.”
FMC-CMF concludes by referring to what it stressed on in previous occasions, “Quebec society, of which we are a part of, is an open and non-racist society. Islamophobia smear campaigns that the Community is exposed to – is not confined to Quebec “Pointing out that Canada as whole has recently witnessed an alarming increase of Islamophobia at many levels across the country.