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CBCNews.ca readers debate haircut human rights complaint

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A CBC Toronto story about a woman who was refused service at a barbershop where the workers are all Muslim was one of our most commented stories yesterday. 

Faith McGregor has filed a human rights complaint. The conflict between the woman's right to be served and the barbers' religious practice makes for a natural controversy.  

  • "The question is: would we accept a business that didn't serve Muslims, or some other cultural group as a matter of faith, or one that didn't serve gay or lesbian families, or people of a specific colour because of religion? How would this be any different really?" asked FriezerInstitut.

  • "You either are or aren't a barber. I actually agree with Faith McGregor, don't come to Canada unless you are embracing our values, discrimination of woman has no place in Canada. I couldn't care less what the Koran states," said myster_e.

  • "If someone moves to Canada they should do it with the intent to at least tolerate our social norms. That being said, this lady has way too much time on her hands," said Corvus2.

  • "I miss the good old days when we would just roll our eyes at people we disagreed with and walk five doors down to another barber shop. Serious. Over. Reaction," said rshantz.

  • "Why is she making an example of these poor men just trying to make a living? Why does her right to a haircut trump the barbers' right to freedom of religion? It sounds like an anti-Islam agenda to me. There are plenty of other barbers that will cut her hair," said harold richards.

  • "First, I'm embarrassed that any Canadians would consider this a violation of human rights, compared to what horrors others on this planet have to endure. Second, her rights aren't violated. She can get a haircut at any number of places. She is not denied ever getting a haircut. She just can't get it there," said Spirit72.

  • "Ok, let's keep this in perspective. This is a situation where these men believe sincerely that it is wrong to cut a woman's hair for religious reasons. This belief is a modesty thing, it's not about them discriminating against her because they don't like the colour of her skin and it's not even discriminating because they do not like her gender. Let's keep in mind intention. This is a sincere belief vs. a haircut," said sukikat.

  • "It's interesting to read all these comments. But what does the law say? Can a private business discriminate based on any criteria it chooses, or not? One reader brought up the issue of a man not being allowed to join a women's gym... does the same principle hold?" asked beefchop.

  • "This is a tough situation for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Whose rights will win out - the right of this woman not to be discriminated against due to gender or the right of the barber to freedom of religion. I'll be watching for the results," said Oaktree. 

Thanks for following our news coverage and commenting on these issues. Feel free to continue the debate in the comments below. 


Tags: law, Politics, religion, Toronto

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