The Muslim hijab.

There's nothing wrong with it. It's no real threat to Quebec values. And most women here wear it by choice, not because of coercion.

That's what the Bouchard-Taylor commission has concluded after a year of study costing $5 million.

In the final draft of their report - which was submitted to the provincial government yesterday and is to be made public at a press conference Thursday - scholars Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor say Quebec society will have a lot to lose if it restricts the wearing of the Muslim head scarf strictly to the home and outdoors.

Saying the province's 130,000 Muslims, especially Arab Muslim immigrants, are "along with blacks, the group that is the most touched by different forms of discrimination" in Quebec, Bouchard and Taylor plead for an end to bickering over the hijab.

"Let's finish with the head scarf, which has caused so much distress in the last few years," the reasonable accommodation commission's chairmen say in their report, parts of which The Gazette obtained last week.

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