The debate over Bill 21, Quebec's law against civil servants wearing religious attire, is back in the news despite the fact that the Quebec Superior Court declared in April of this year that, under Canada's constitution, Quebec had the right to restrict religious symbols worn by government employees.
The current focus on the issue erupted this month when schoolteacher Fatemeh Anvari was told that wearing her hijab in the classroom ran afoul of Bill 21 and as such she could no longer teach her grade-three students.
Bill 21 has wide support in Quebec (polls show two thirds of people support it) and Anvari must have known that she was breaking the law when she decided to wear the hijab before her grade-three students.
It would have been beneficial for Canada's bleeding-heart politicians and others opposed to this legislation to read what some of Quebec's secular Muslims and their allies in the rest of Canada had to say on this matter.
As I wrote in July on these pages, the Montreal-based Association Quebecoise des Nord-Africains pour la laicite (AQNAL), led by University of Montreal professor Nadia El-Mabrouk, issued a scathing critique of those Muslims who make accusations of "Islamophobia" when seeking to influence public policy.
The AQNAL supported Bill 21 stating and rejected criticisms of the legislation by the National Council of Canadian Muslims. The statement was co-signed by Ensaf Haidar, wife of Saudi-imprisoned human rights activist Raif Badawi, dozens of secular Muslims from English Canada (including yours truly), and ordinary Muslims who are themselves targeted by extreme Islamists.
It is pertinent that non-Muslim readers understand that the command to Muslim women wearing the hijab — as in women covering their heads as an act of modesty — does not exist in the Quran.
The Quran is explicit in asking Muslim women to cover their bosoms, not their heads. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, could it be possible that it is modesty that drives Muslim men and women who wish women to wear the hijab?
Here's what the hijab's main proponent in the United States, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar had to say about her headcover: "To me, the hijab means power, liberation, beauty, and resistance," she told Vogue magazine.
There was not a word about 'modesty,' Islam or the Quran in her statement. In ten words, Ilhan Omar defined her hijab as attire that seeks a political change in America.
Islamists often deploy the hijab as a political flag of the Muslim Brotherhood on the heads of Muslim women.
The fact is that too many Islamists have deployed the hijab as a political flag of the Muslim Brotherhood that is placed on the heads of Muslim women. Yet any criticism of this agenda can be used to send Western liberals into a guilt-trip and position Muslims as victims of racism.
Quebec and France have seen the light of day.
The words of Quebec Muslim activist Ferid Chikhi are worth paying attention to. He wrote in the Huffington Post that: "Whether we like it or not, what is most disturbing in Quebec is what I call malignant entryism by Islamists who want to impose their ideology on the host society at all costs while refusing to respect its laws."
Tarek Fatah is a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, and a columnist at the Toronto Sun.