Quebec Education Minister to ban school prayer rooms in favor of secularism

Muslim students can face a new challenge in Canada as Quebec’s Education Minister is executing a political maneuver against congregational prayer in public schools.

Quebec’s Education Minister, Bernard Drainville, has recently announced that prayer rooms in public schools would soon be prohibited in the province.

The announcement came after reports that at least three Montreal-area schools had permitted students to gather for prayer.

Drainville has stated that prayer rooms in schools are not compatible with Quebec’s policy of official secularism. However, the minister clarified that he is not prohibiting prayer altogether, but rather students who want to pray should do so “discretely” and “silently.”

The Muslim community in Quebec has reacted to the Education Minister’s decision to ban prayer rooms in public schools. In a joint statement released on Thursday evening, representatives from several mosques with the Table de concertation des organisms muslims (TCOM) voiced their objection, expressing shock and indignation at the decision.

They criticized the provincial government for not consulting Muslim community representatives, and for showing no interest in dialogue.

According to the statement, the group has been forced to pursue legal channels recognized by the Canadian and Quebec Charters of Rights and Freedoms to fight the ban.

“We all agree with the idea of ​​going to court. We find that our rights are violated and lawyers advise us to do the same,” says Labidi, one of the authors of the statement, who is encouraging leaders of Quebec Muslim associations in Montreal to take legal actions.

The issue of religious practice and expression in public spaces has been a contentious issue in Quebec in recent years, with the province’s government enacting a ban on religious symbols worn by certain public employees, including teachers, police officers, and judges.

The ban, which came into effect in 2019, has faced criticism from some who view it as an infringement on religious freedom.

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