18:51 GMT +324 September 2018
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    Women in traditional garb gather to protest against Quebec's proposed Charter of Values in Montreal, September 14, 2013

    Quebec's Religious Neutrality Law Bans Public Servants From Covering Their Face

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    The debates over Muslim facial covers, known as burqas and niqabs, has reached Northern America, with the Canadian province Quebec becoming the first region to move towards banning them.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Quebec National Assembly has passed a legislation, obliging the region’s residents to uncover faces when giving and receiving public services, according to the assembly’s meeting minutes.

    The Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality, also known as Bill 62, forbids public service employees, including doctors, teachers and kindergarten workers, to cover their faces. It also stipulates that people should uncover their faces when receiving public services.

    The bill envisages exceptions for those who "provide spiritual care and guidance services or are in charge of providing instruction of a religious nature."

    "We are just saying that for reasons linked to communication, identification and safety, public services should be given and received with an open face … We are in a free and democratic society. You speak to me, I should see your face, and you should see mine. It's as simple as that," Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard told reporters, as quoted by CBC News media outlet.

    Canada thus becomes the first country in North America to ban the wearing of a burqa and niqab.

    The adoption of law has caused strong objections from Canada’s Muslim population and human rights campaigners. The law is expected to enter into force in June 2018.


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