Quebec has passed legislation banning Muslim women from covering their faces while receiving public services such as public transport.
On Wednesday, members of the provincial legislature voted 65-51 in favor of the legislation on religious neutrality, known as Bill 62, which mandates that citizens must uncover their faces while receiving or giving public services.
Despite not referring to any manner of specific clothing, it effectually bans people from wearing burqa and niqab when interacting with the state.
Bill 62 applies to provincial and municipal employees such as doctors, nurses, daycare workers, teachers and public transit workers.
A member of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Shaheen Ashraf, said she was “disturbed and unsettled and upset” by the new law, which makes Muslim women in Quebec feel targeted.
“The message they’re sending to those women is that you stay home and don’t come out of your house because they are choosing to cover their faces and they cannot board a bus or use any public transportation or receive any services,” she added.
“So what are they supposed to do?” she added.
This is not the first time Muslim women have been banned from wearing veils, such as burqas and niqabs.
Earlier this year, Austria’s ruling centrist coalition prohibited Muslim women from wearing full-face veils in public places like schools and courts.
Statistics Canada, Canada’s central statistical office, revealed in April that hate crimes against Muslim Canadians more than doubled between 2012 and 2014.
Local police also said there was a rise in anti-Muslim incidents in Toronto in 2015 despite an overall decrease in hate crimes.