Face-covered selfies: Social media protests over Quebec's Bill 62
Published Friday, October 20, 2017 12:58PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 20, 2017 2:13PM EDT
People in Quebec are posting photos of their partially covered faces in protest of the province’s Bill 62, which bans people with their faces covered for religious purposes from providing or receiving public services.
On Wednesday, Quebec’s National Assembly passed the bill, widely seen as targeting Muslim women who wear niqabs or burkas, which prevents members of the public from accessing services, including public transit, while their faces are covered. The legislation also bans workers in the public sector – including doctors, daycare employees, and teachers – from covering their faces while on the job.
"[P]ersonnel members of public bodies must demonstrate religious neutrality in the exercise of their functions," a preliminary version of the bill reads.
"Under the bill, personnel members of public bodies and of certain other bodies must exercise their functions with their face uncovered, unless they have to cover their face, in particular because of their working conditions or because of occupational or task-related requirements."
Protesters gathered along the Avenue du Parc bus route in Montreal on Friday, with their faces concealed by scarves.
“Our message to the government is that we think this is a ridiculous, manipulative, and cowardly legislative act, that as Quebecers we disagree with,” protester Catherine Jezer-Morton told CTV Montreal.
“It just seems extreme; it’s the only law of its kind in North America. We consider Quebec to be a really progressive province that is wonderful to its women. I think that there’s a lot of protections in place for women here and the idea that this is somehow good for women, we don’t agree with that.”
According to an earlier version of the bill (the current version has not yet been made available on the Quebec National Assembly website), special accommodation can be required, but may be refused "for security or identification reasons, or because of the level of communication required.”
As federal and provincial politicians weigh in, with the potential for the bill to go before the courts, many took to social media on Friday – their faces partially covered by scarves, hats, or jackets – denouncing the new bill.
Others, however, feel Bill 62 is important in preserving Quebecois culture, ensuring public security, and encouraging integration.
You chose to come here— Money Trails (@moneytrails) 18 October 2017
You integrate to us
Not the reverse
Merci Quebec banning the Niqab.#bill62
With a report from CTV Montreal