That's the message from Salam Elmenyawi of the Muslim Council of Montreal, after Quebec's Parti Quebecois government introduced details, Tuesday, about their Values charter which would essentially bar any public employee from wearing 'overt' religious symbols in public institutions.
"The government says, that this is a bill for unity, but in fact this is a bill that divides Quebecers and creates divisiveness and attacks diversity," Elmenyawi, whose group represents over 40 Islamic institutions in the Montreal area, told Yahoo Canada News.
"Nobody is united under this bill except of course...the Jews, Muslims and Sikhs. We're going to be united in a very crowded courtroom to challenge this bill if it ever becomes a law."
Elmenyawi says his group has already consulted with human rights lawyer Julius Grey and are ready to fight the proposed Charter in the courts arguing that it's contradictory to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
He says if the PQ government uses the notwithstanding clause — to override the Canadian Charter — they'll take their battle to the United Nations.
"If the Canadian courts cannot address this issue, we will go directly to the United Nations," he said.
"The UN Human Rights Tribunal have said clearly you cannot discriminate based on religion."
In the meantime, Elmenyawi is working with other groups in organizing a series of public rallies to protest the PQ plan. The first one is planned for this Saturday, in Montreal at noon -- they're hoping to draw over 20,000 people.
The Muslim Council is pleased that all federal party leaders spoke out against the Charter on Tuesday. Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard joined the chorus of disgruntled politicos on Wednesday.
"What we're dealing with is a Charter that will only create controversy and squabbling," Couillard said.
"The role of the government is to unite people rather than divide people.
"Let's not make Quebec an instrument of discrimination. I'm asking the government to retract on this issue."
The PQ did get one significant nod of support on Wednesday.
According to the Globe and Mail, representatives from the Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec (SFPQ) — which represents 42,000 provincial civil servants — said the new rules were a long time coming.
"We are for the neutrality of the state," union president Lucie Martineau said after a press conference in Quebec city.
"People can (practise their religion) outside working hours. The state is secular."
The latest poll — released Tuesday but conducted before details of the Charter were released — claims that the majority of Quebecers feel the same way as Martineau and the PQ.
The poll, conducted by Leger Marketing, suggests that 66 per cent of Quebec residents support the secularization plan.
(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)
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