Leaked Quebec plan would ban kipahs on public workers

VANCOUVER, Canada (JTA) — A plan by Quebec’s government to ban “religious symbols,” including yarmulkes or kipahs, among public sector workers has elicited worry from religious minorities in the Canadian province.

The bill would seek to ban public employees from wearing large Christian crosses or religious headwear such as that worn by Sikhs, Muslims and Jews while at work.

Richard Marceau, a former politician who now advises the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, wrote a column for Huffington Post criticizing the proposal.

“How could one believe that a kippah-wearing Jewish librarian is … trying to impose his religion on society?” Marceau wrote.

The details of the proposed law were leaked to the Montreal Journal last week, but the Parti Quebecois, which heads the provincial government, has refused to confirm them or answer questions related to the issue.

Canada’s multiculturalism minister, Jason Kenney, offered tepid criticism of the proposal, saying it was important to wait until a bill was made public.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau was more critical.

“I have enormous concerns for the limits that would be imposed on people, on their religion and on their freedom of expression,” he said.

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