Ottawa (February 27, 2015): The World Sikh Organization of Canada is stunned by the refusal of a Quebec judge to hear the case of a hijab-wearing Muslim woman in Montreal. Judge Eliana Marengo said that the hijab was "inappropriate" because the courtroom is a "secular place".
WSO President, Dr. Amritpal Singh Shergill said today, "the issue of religious head-coverings has long been decided in Canada. It would appear that Judge Marengo is ignoring both Quebec and Canadian law, which quite clearly protects freedom of religion. The wearing of a hijab, turban, kippah or of a crucifix for that matter, does not in any way impact the secular nature of a courtroom. This is not only a human rights and constitutional matter, but one of access to justice that must be resolved immediately and could potentially have a negative impact on Canadians of other faiths as well. This is a stunningly wrong decision that must be corrected."
The WSO is a non-profit national organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights of all individuals, irrespective or race, gender, ethnicity, religion or nationality.