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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Canadian Schools and Religious Attire

The right of students to wear conspicious articles of faith in schools and of the State to regulate such clothing has been the subject of considerable discussion and controversy, particularly in France. The controversy continues -- this time in Canada.

Sara Asfour, 17, a student in Quebec, Canada, "was told to remove her hijab [a head scarf worn by Muslim women] at College Jean-Eudes...." In response, the Quebec Human Rights Commission ruled that "religious schools admitting students from more than one faith must make reasonable efforts to accommodate all their pupils' beliefs" -- irrespective of whether they are public or private institutions.

The Quebec government, however, came to the opposite conclusion, stating that it "will not force private schools to accept the hijab." Instead, according to the province's Education Department, "it's up to each institution to apply the rule as it sees fit...."

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