'We shouldn't be begging to exist': Audience members share their stories

People share their experiences at The Current's town hall event in Montreal.
The debate over the hijab: Writer Idil Issa and Le Journal de Montreal's Lise Ravary weigh in. 1:32
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"Religion is rearing its ugly head again," said an audience member, who did not give her name. Speaking at The Current's town hall event in Montreal as she voiced concern at demonstrations against Bill 62, which was intended to prohibit women from wearing face coverings while receiving public services.

"We actually had demonstrations here in Montreal for the niqab, the niqab which is an insult to women," she said.

Her words sparked debate among our panelists and other audience members.

"I've never seen a protest about pro-niqab," said Dania Suleman. "I've seen protests about the right to be able to wear the niqab in public space, and that's fair enough."

"If anyone can wear Halloween costumes or whatever they want to wear, women are entitled to be able to wear the niqab — period. It's not about being pro-niqab or against niqab."

Audience members shared stories about tokenism at work, underrepresentation in the media, and asserting their own identities as Quebecers who are not white or francophone. You can listen to the full conversation at the top of the page.

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The Montreal town hall event on race relations in Canada was produced by The Current's Yamri Taddese, Pacinthe Mattar and Ruby Buiza.

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