Washington- Quebec’s new Charter of Values, a bill in process vying to prohibit religious garb in public spaces, may be doing more harm than good for neutralizing religion in society. Badia Senouci, a resident of Quebec for over 10 years, was recently a target of hateful and discriminatory comments for her choice to wear the Islamic veil in public.
Senouci, Algerian by birth, was going about her daily business in Quebec while fielding comments from strangers calling on her to change her religion, hounding her for wearing the veil, and using the new Charter of Values as a reminder that “the government will force [her] to remove [the veil],” according to Lapresse.ca
When Senouci’s son and husband tried to defend her, they were met with equally vulgar behavior—spitting and being hit with a woman’s handbag. Because of the disturbance, local security was called to the scene and Senouci’s family was accused of causing public disturbance.
Senouci’s husband, Abdelmalek Mansouri, a computer scientist for the Ministry of Transport of Quebec, sought psychological support because of the repercussions of the physical and verbal assault. He claims, “its as if we were guilty, when we were the victims!”
As of now, Mansouri and Senouci await an apology from the woman who targeted them because of their religion.
“We want to raise awareness for what she did to my wife and my son, it is unacceptable,” said Mansouri. The family has filed a complaint with the police, and is waiting to file a charge against the woman with an attorney.
Senouci asserts that she wears the veil “by choice” and says she does not subscribe to “propaganda of Islam.”
“We are free to choose what we want, our religion, its part of our identity,” she noted.
“It is settled, we work, we pay our taxes. Now we are told that identity, is not ours to choose anymore. This is illogical.”
Senouci also expressed dismay in the changes that Quebec has undergone since she first arrived. “When we came here, it was for our children. We wanted a true free country. We had seen the advertisements of Canada that spoke of a society of law, where there was no racism. Now I have questions.”
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