Bill 62: Neutral or Alienating?

by Camillebouchard on December 2, 2017 - 4:33pm

During the Fall of 2017, the inauguration of Bill 62 has created a significant controversy that seems to divide people on the matter of religious neutrality. This bill, which puts a restraint on access to public services to people that wear a Hijab, Niqab or Burqa, only to name a few, has made people question whether this bill is about neutrality or against the Muslim religion.

The author of this article, a Muslim Quebecer woman, underlines that not only does Bill 62 fails to address any current situation, but it also promotes ‘’alienation and marginalization of a minority community in Quebec’’. Although authorities have figured that Bill 62 does not only apply to wearing items of religious significance that cover the face, such as big dark sunglasses, the way by which Bill 62 is presented tells the opposite as it is referred as a bill promoting religious neutrality.

Furthermore, the author highlights the fact that by restricting people from their right to wear these items of clothing or to access public services, it specifically targets Muslims instead of actually being neutral. The Bill also implies that some Muslim values are not coherent with the democratic worldview of Quebec, which only contributes to this idea of alienating Muslim people instead of bringing the idea that everyone stands on equal ground no matter what their religion is.

Although I am not personally targeted by this Bill, I think that it is not okay to restrain people from dressing according to their values and beliefs, especially under the excuse of religious neutrality. I definitely agree with the author when she says that the bill only creates more awareness to differences in a negative way instead of actually facing more serious issues. In 2017, I believe it is important to let everyone have the freedom of expressing their beliefs and religion in the way they see fit if it does not harm anyone around them, especially in the highly multicultural country we live in. I also believe that this Bill puts the concerned people in a tricky situation since they have to choose between sticking to wearing what they want to wear or getting access to public services such as the bus or going to the emergency room. In my opinion, it is crucial to revise the Bill and promote freedom of religion instead of trying to make everyone fit into the same mold.

Do you think Bill 62 is a good representation of religious neutrality or should it be improved to benefit people instead of restricting them?

 

Djossou, Myriam-Morênikê.  “The irony of Bill 62.” The Journal, www.queensjournal.ca/story/2017-11-09/opinions/the-irony-of-bill-62/.

Comments

I chose to comment on your post because your topic is of great interest to me and I also like your writing style.

In my opinion, I do not believe that this bill is promoting any type of alienation or marginalization of any minority group in Quebec. The reason why I believe this is because those who are wearing a Hijab, Niqab or Burqa will only be required to remove it when communicating with an employee or when a photo I.D is required. The same rule goes for those who are covering their face with sunglasses or a scarf, afterwards, they are allowed to cover back their face for the remainder of the bus ride or in other places of a hospital or library. When someone travels or moves to a different they must abide by the rules already set in place, whether that be not wearing a certain type of clothing or having women cover their face out of respect for the rules or beliefs of society. So why is it so hard for those wearing the Hijab, Niqab or Burqa to remove it for a few seconds when-when we go to their country, women must cover our faces out of respect for their laws and beliefs whether they like it or not. Therefore I do believe that this law is a good representation of religious neutrality and does not restrict anyone.

I agree with you. I don't think that people should be refused things just because they have a religious symbol on their body. It's important that everyone has the option of expressing their religious beliefs. Wearing your religious gear isn't hurting anybody. If ever needed, it should be allowed to ask for an identity check and removal of the religious garment for a minute, but they should be allowed to take public transport even if they're wearing it. If ever thought to be in danger, they should have to remove their symbol, but they shouldn't be refused public aid because of it. Even though I'm not affected by the bill, I still have a strong opinion on the issue, because I know people who are affected by it.

About the author