Hijab-wearing woman attacked in Metro urges others to don religious symbols

With hearings on the secular charter due to begin Tuesday morning at the national assembly, many Quebecers are wearing overt religious symbols today as a form of protest.

Sama Al-Obaidy pushes for quiet protest a day before secular charter hearings begin

Nariman Eldoraini wears a hijab during a gathering in Montreal Sunday to oppose Quebec's proposed secular charter. If implemented, the law would ban the wearing of religious symbols and clothing in all public institutions. (Graham Hughes/CP)

With hearings on the secular charter due to begin Tuesday morning at the national assembly, many Quebecers are wearing overt religious symbols today as a form of protest.

“Today basically is just to show up to work, to their everyday life and adopt one of the four symbols the [Parti Québécois] is planning to ban, so either the hijab, the turban, the kippah or a large cross,” said Sama Al-Obaidy, the creator of the Support Another Facebook page.

She started the Facebook page after an incident in the Montreal Metro about five weeks ago.

Sama Al-Obaidy her sister Yusr, and good friend Nariman El-Doraini started Support Another after Sama was attacked on the Metro. (CBC)
“A lady came up and tried to remove my hijab forcefully,” Al-Obaidy said.

“She told me my hijab and myself don’t belong in Quebec and after a few exchanges of words she decided to start pulling on my veil. As it started getting loose I had to eventually stop her,” she said.

The attack is one in a long string of altercations that have occurred since the PQ announced its proposed secular, or values, charter.

The charter would ban overt religious symbols in the public sector workplace.

Al-Obaidy decided to organize a day of action for today, just before the start of the Bill 60 hearings.

On Sunday, Al-Obaidy, along with her sister Yusr, her good friend Nariman El-Doraini, Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg and others, handed out kippas and other religious symbols for people to wear on Monday.

The Facebook page links to videos on how to wrap a turban and hijab.

Stay tuned to the CBC Montreal website for coverage of the Bill 60 hearings.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.