Public hearings began Monday into controversial anti-hate-speech legislation proposed by the Quebec government, with groups representing the LGBT community favourable to the law and jurists defending freedom of expression adamantly against it.

But the most heated debates took place at the end of the day with the Association des musulmans et des arabes pour la laïcité au Québec (the Association of Muslims and Arabs for a secular Quebec).

Bill 59 was one of a slew of initiatives presented June 10 by the Quebec government to combat radicalization leading to violence, as it pledged to work with the city of Montreal on a deradicalization centre — their concerted response to terrorist attacks last October and the phenomenon of youths leaving Quebec to join terrorist ranks.

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