Letter: Is It a Choice?

The CAQ’s Ban on Religious Symbols Leaves us With Few Options

Imagine this scenario: I am a female with cancer and I am covering my head. I do not want to be seen after losing my hair.

Even if everyone says “it is okay, we accept you the way you are”, I just want to hide and cover all the marks that chemotherapy has left on my appearance. I am choosing to cover my head. It is a personal choice.

Now picture this:

I am a public functionary. I am a female, a Muslima, and a hijab wearer who has been working for the government for ten years. Now, I am being told to either keep my job or remove my hijab. Is this a choice? Why I am obligated to take off my head scarf and hijab?

Is this a choice between my job and my hijab?

What is the logic behind banning one’s religious symbols such as the Jewish yarmulke, the Christian cross, the Muslim hijab or any symbol that indicates one person‘s religion or personal identity?

I see this enforced law as it is basically, kicking religious people out of Quebec. it’s not a choice when a hijaby manager is forced to either keep her job or her hijab. It is not a choice when I am told what to do, and what to wear, to keep my job and hide my identity. It is not a choice when the freedom and democracy that is established by Canada is denied by Quebec.

It’s basically telling people that you do not belong here if you wear certain symbols. It’s pushing people away. There is no place for you here because you are religious. It is denying me, and everyone who chooses to wear a religious symbol, the right to feel comfortable in our skin.

It is asking us to be a Canadian coin, to look like every other coin. It is like making copies of the ideal coin and changing or getting rid of the unwanted ones.

My appearance does not define me nor my role. It is not acceptable to impose perceptions and assumptions on me.

If I have the choice to wear whatever religious symbol I want, and you are thinking of taking away my choice, then fix your thoughts, please.

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