As Canadian universities adjust to the country's increasingly multicultural population, one area that has been especially difficult has been accommodating religious differences and needs.

At York University in Toronto, a furor erupted in January over a request by a student taking an online sociology course to forgo an on-campus session, because he said his religious beliefs did not permit casual contact with women.

In Quebec, meanwhile, debate has begun on a proposed Secular Charter of Rights that would make it illegal for all public employees — including university staff and faculty members — to wear or display religious symbols, such as Muslim head scarves or Jewish skullcaps.

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