Tolerance - Progression - Turmoil

Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge with Malala Yousafzai

An education minister in Canada posted a picture with activist Malala Yousafzai that caused an uproar on social media. The Nobel Peace Prize winner was wearing a head scarf in the photo with the education minister of Quebec, where the law barres teachers and some civil servants from wearing religious symbols at work.

Jean-Fran├žois Roberge received heavy condemnation on twitter and when asked what he would say if Yousafzai were to teach in the Canadian province, the minister replied he would explain to Malala that tolerant societies can't allow religious signs at work.

"I would certainly tell her it would be an immense honour and that in Quebec, as in France ... as well as in other open and tolerant countries, teachers can't wear religious signs while performing their duties," responded Roberge.

Quebec passed a bill last month that bans civil servants in positions of "authority" from wearing religious symbols like such as the kippah, turban or hijab while at work.

Similar Laws have been passed in many European countries. In 2011, the French Parliament passed the bill banning face coverings in public places. President Nicolas Sarkozy stated that religious face veils were "not welcome" in France.

Fadela Amara, who had recently served as a junior minister in the French government and is a Muslim, had previously declared: "The veil is the visible symbol of the subjugation of women, and therefore has no place in the mixed, secular spaces of France's state school system."

The majority of French population supports the ban and believes that it will not only protect their liberal culture but also be beneficial to Muslim population and help them get out of darkness.

In 2017, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the face veils should be outlawed "wherever legally possible" as migrants were expected to integrate more.

Similar sentiments against the face coverings have also increased in UK but the politicians there seem to have a different concept of openness and tolerance.

Theresa May, then Home Secretary, ruled out a ban because “it would be out of keeping with our nation’s longstanding record of tolerance”.


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