A Muslim teacher has been removed from her position due to a law in the French-speaking province of Quebec which prohibits her from wearing a hijab in the classroom.
Fatemeh Anvari, a Year 4 teacher at Chelsea Elementary School, was reassigned her job just a month after being offered a full-time position at the school.
Speaking to CBC, Anvari said: “Honestly, at that second, it was just shock. It was very hard to process.”
Under the law, also known as Bill 21, teachers, and other civil servants in a “position of authority” are prohibited from wearing religious symbols while they’re at work. This includes hijabs, kippas and turbans. The law, which was passed in June 2019, was proposed to help bring about a more “secular” society.
Anvari added that while she didn’t blame the “welcoming” school for their ruling, the hijab is part of her identity and it’s something she can’t compromise on.
“Yes, I am Muslim, but for me, [the hijab] holds other meanings of just my identity and how I’ve chosen to represent myself as a strong person in a world that may not want me to be myself,” she said. “But it’s still a religious symbol at the end of the day, so that’s why it has a conflict with the law.”
According to Yahoo! News Anvari is still working at the school but outside of the classroom on a project for students targeting inclusion and awareness of diversity which seems to be a slight loophole on the controversial law.
Erin O’Toole, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada stated while he doesn’t agree with the law and has raised it with the Quebec Premier (leader of the government), he respects the fact that it’s been passed and believes it’s “an issue that is best left for Quebecers to decide.”
However, other Canadian MPs have also spoken out against Bill 21 and hope it will be repealed.
“I cannot in good conscience keep silent on this anymore. This is an absolute disgrace,” tweeted MP Kyle Seeback. “It’s time politicians stood up for what’s right. Bill 21 has to be opposed. In court, in the House of Commons and in the streets.”
Conservative MP, Chris Warkentin, also added that, “If government is free to limit religious freedom it will take liberties to restrict other freedoms.
“I support freedom for every Canadian!”
Ontario Liberal Salma Zahid, who herself wears a hijab, tweeted she was “saddened and disappointed” by what she read about the teacher, saying: “This should not be happening in Canada.
“Nobody in Canada should ever lose their job because of what they wear or their religious beliefs.”
We wholeheartedly agree and hope to see a change in Quebec’s laws very soon.