Tag Archives: CAMWL

This is how you build a movement: CAMWL invites us to go Beyond the Niqab

The Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law has had a lot to respond to of late.  Here’s their most recent – a list of 8 actions we can take to support women’s equality.  Follow them on twitter at @camwlnews.

Do you think it’s unacceptable to deny women citizenship because of what they wear? Do you think the endless debates about women’s clothing are a distraction from the real issues we should be talking about this election season and every day? If you answered yes, you are part of a large, strong, and diverse community […]

Source: Beyond the Niqab: 8 Ways You Can Improve Women’s Equality in Canada – Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law

We can do more than just voting.

Incidentally, can I call attention to the way that CAMWL put in #4 and #6

4. Condemn police racial profiling, which disproportionately targets Black and other racialized communities in Canada.

6. Demand Canada investigate and end the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, of whom there are thousands, to say nothing of the countless Indigenous people killed and scarred by residential schools, disproportionate incarceration, and systemic dispossession.

and nehiyaw educator Tasha Spillett‘s article for CBC the other week?

When I heard the words “barbaric cultural practices” fall from the mouth of Conservative candidate Kellie Leitch late last week, I instinctively wanted to pick up the phone. Not to report on practices at variance with this narrow conception of “Canadian values,” but because I felt a searing urgency to check-in with my sisters.


That said, it wasn’t the women from my own indigenous community that drew my concern following Leitch’s election broadcast. It was, instead, a grave worry for the well-being of my Muslim sisters, their families and their communities.

There are more of these moments. They build and break my heart, to see communities reaching out to each other despite their own tough times, to see these connections recognized and forged.   This is how we will build our movement.


Canadian Muslim Women Lawyers Association on the Quebec Charter of Values

I have not said much here about this proposed law.  Suffice it to say that when i first saw those infographics i assumed they were a hoax.  There is a great deal of commentary available (here’s something from my Osgoode colleague Ben Berger that I like for a variety of reasons including: Monty Python).  There is so much good commentary that there is no hope of a round up here.  But have a look at what the

new Canadian Muslim Women Lawyers Association (CMWLA) has to say – in both official languages of course, they are speaking back.  I particularly like the point that even if this whole proposal was a crass political tactic and the proposal never becomes law, “the damage has already been done”.  The CMWLA is seeking endorsements from organizations for their position and asks you to circulate their statement.

h/t Fathima Cader of CMWLA

* le français suivra *
The Canadian Association of Muslim Women Lawyers (CAMWL) joins a chorus of voices from across the country and within Quebec in denouncing the Parti Québécois’ (PQ) proposed Quebec Charter of Values, which would prohibit public servants of minority faiths from wearing mandatory religious symbols at work.  The proposed Charter is intolerant and unconstitutional, and any anticipated benefits are far outweighed by its devastating impact on religious minorities. In particular, the CAMWL is deeply concerned about the proposed Charter’s effects on Muslim women who wear hijab and/or niqab.
The proposed Charter discriminates against and will disproportionately affect minority religions in the province. Symbols like yarmulkes, turbans and hijabs are considered mandatory articles of faith to those who wear them. The proposed Charter bans these symbols, but spares the unmistakable cross on Mount Royal and the cross above Quebec’s Legislative Chamber. This is a clear violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically sections 2(a) and 15, which uphold the rights to religious freedom and equality, respectively. The proposed Charter also replicates the marginalization in Canada of pre-existing Indigenous faiths, many of which include traditions that, until recently, were also banned, even criminalised. The discriminatory effect of the proposed Charter is unjustifiable in a free and democratic society.
The CAMWL further notes that the proposed Charter’s targeting of minority faiths is an affront to the key principle that democracy is not simply rule of the majority over (vulnerable) minorities, but includes (when necessary) the fundamental protection of minorities from the majority. The proposed Charter marginalizes minority communities by presenting them as threats to Quebecois identity. It assumes that those perceived as members of religious minorities are not and can never be authentically Quebecois, and that they should not help shape the values of their home province.
The proposed Charter also damages the livelihoods of religious minority communities. By tying employment in the public sector to mode of dress, employees from minority faiths are less likely to be able to serve the public. Rather than welcoming these communities to contribute to and participate in all aspects of life in Quebec, the proposed Charter sends the message that they are not welcome in places as essential as courts, hospitals, and schools, among others.
We emphasize our concern that the proposed Charter will marginalize and disempower the many Muslim women working or interested in working in the public sector, by forcing them to choose between their livelihoods and their deeply held religious beliefs. The CAMWL supports the position that in this case, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects individuals from having to make such a decision.
The CAMWL reiterates that the proposed Charter is unconstitutional and intolerant, and that it will have a severe and disproportionately negative impact not only on public sector employees from minority faiths, but on attitudes towards diversity in general. Indeed, whether or not the proposed Charter passes constitutional muster, the damage has already been done: far from uniting the province, it has paved the way for open animosity since its proposal, including an attack on a mosque in Saguenay. We stand with other justice-seeking groups in asserting that a far better approach would be to embrace all individuals and their desire to participate as full and equal members of Quebec society by acknowledging their right to express their faith as an intrinsic part of their identity.
L’Association canadienne des femmes avocates musulmanes (L’ACFAM) se joint la foule des voix partout au Canada et à l’intérieur du Québec pour dénoncer les propositions de la Charte des valeurs Québécoises, proposée par le Parti Québécois (PQ), qui interdirait les fonctionnaires de confessions minoritaires de porter des signes religieux au travail. La Charte proposée est intolérante et inconstitutionnelle. Tous les bénéfices escomptés sont complètement dépasses par ses effets dévastateurs sur les minorités religieuses. En particulier, L’ACFAM est profondément préoccupée par les effets du projet de la Charte sur les femmes musulmanes qui portent le hijab et/ou le niqab.
La Charte proposée est discriminatoire et affecterait dans une façon disproportionnée les religions minoritaires. Les symboles comme les hijabs, turbans, kippas sont considérés des articles obligatoires de foi à ceux qui les portent. La Charte proposée interdit ces symboles mais épargne la croix unique sur le mont Royal, et la croix au-dessus de la Chambre législative du Québec. Il s’agit d’une violation flagrante de la Charte Canadienne des droits et libertés spécifiquement l’al. 2 a) et 15, qui soutient  le droit à la liberté religieuse et l’égalité, respectivement. Le projet de la Charte réplique également la marginalisation au Canada des religions autochtones préexistantes, dont beaucoup de traditions jusqu’à récemment ont également été interdites, et meme criminalisé. L’effet discriminatoire de la Charte proposée n’est pas justifiable dans une société libre et démocratique.
De plus, L’ACFAM se constante que le projet de la Charte et le ciblage des religions minoritaires est un affront au principe clé que la démocratie n’est pas simplement une occasion où la majorité dirige la population minoritaire, mais il faut que la démocratie renforce la protection de base des minorités face à la majorité. La Charte proposée marginalise les communautés minoritaires en les présentant comme des menaces à l’identité québécoise. Il suppose que ceux qui sont perçus comme des membres des minorités religieuses ne sont pas et ne pourraient jamais être authentiquement québécois, et qu’ils ne devraient pas contribuer à développer les valeurs de leur province d’origine.
Le projet de la Charte se fait au détriment des moyens de subsistance des communautés religieuses minoritaires. En liant l’emploi dans le secteur public à la façon de s’habiller, les employés de confessions minoritaires seront moins à l’aise de trouver l’emploi dans le secteur public. Au lieu d’accueillir ces communautés à contribuer et à participer à tous les aspects de la vie au Québec, le projet de la Charte envoie le message qu’ils ne sont pas les bienvenus dans les lieux aussi essentiels que les tribunaux, les hôpitaux et les écoles, entre autres.
Nous soulignons notre préoccupation que le projet de la Charte marginalisera et déresponsabilisera les nombreuses femmes musulmanes qui travaille (et souhaitant travailler) dans le secteur public en les forçant à choisir entre leurs moyens de subsistance et leurs croyances religieuses profondément ancrées. L’ACFAM soutient la position que dans ce cas, la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés protège les individus de se confronter une telle décision.
L’ACFAM rappelle que la Charte proposée est inconstitutionnelle et intolérante, et que cela aura un impact sévère et négatif, et de manière disproportionné, non seulement sur les employés du secteur public de confessions minoritaires, mais sur les attitudes en concernant le multiculturalisme en général. En effet, même si on se trouve que le projet de la Charte est constitutionnellement valide, le préjudice aurait déjà été fait : loin d’unir la province, il a ouvert la voie à l’animosité ouverte depuis sa proposition, y compris une attaque contre une mosquée à Saguenay. Nous tenons à d’autres groupes de justice qui cherchent en affirmant que une bien meilleure approche serait d’embrasser tous les individus et leur désir de participer en tant que membres à part d’entière de la société québécoise en acceptant leur droit d’exprimer leur foi comme une partie intégrante de leur identité.
Endorsed by:
We are also supported in our position by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association; read their statement online.
To endorse this statement, please email us.

Canadian Association of Muslim Women Lawyers / L’Association canadienne des femmes avocates musulmanes