As a new Quebec law that will force Muslim women to uncover their faces before they can ride the bus is being denounced by human rights groups and politicians, a handful of Canadian women are posting pointed selfies to show their own condemnation.
The Quebec government passed Bill 62 Wednesday, which bans Muslim women who wear a niqab or burqa from obtaining government services — including public transportation — without showing their faces. The bill infringes on the religious freedom of Quebecers, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said in a news release.
"This legislation excludes citizens from the public sphere, it reinforces the marginalization of Canadian Muslims, and it risks emboldening those seeking to sow division and hatred between Canadians to amplify an 'us versus them' narrative," NCCM Public Affairs Coordinator Eve Torres said.
"We just took one step backwards on equality," journalist and human rights advocate Amira Elghawaby said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, a handful of social media users have been posting selfies of themselves covered up with winter scarves and rain gear to show their support for Muslim women.
But unlike Muslim women in Quebec who wear the niqab or burka, these women can easily ride public transportation and access government services without being asked to remove a garment that is fundamentally faith-based — a winter scarf after all, is still just a scarf.
Very few pieces of faith-based clothing have ignited as much debate as the niqab, the Canadian Council for Muslim Women said in a 2013 report.
"We denounce any state action which limits the ability of peoples to wear religious clothing as it is not the role nor responsibility of governments to control women's and men's bodies and forms of dress," the council says in the report.