Niqab ban sparks anger, confusion over enforcement

admin   •   October 24, 2017   •   4373

Quebec’s ban on face coverings for people giving or receiving provincial government services has received a mixed response.

Quebec’s Bill 62 states that the law defends modern secular traditions while its detractors say it encourages discrimination against Muslim women in the mainly French-speaking Canadian province.

The law, which was passed last week, has sparked a debate on how the new ruling would be implemented across the province.

While the law does not specify which face coverings are prohibited, the debate has largely focused on the niqab worn by some Muslim women, which covers everything but the eyes.

People affected by the law would include public-sector employees such as teachers, police officers, hospital and daycare workers.

“Throughout the whole bus ride, I have to uncover my face? What crime did I commit that I have my fundamental rights violated,” said Afifa Suleman, a resident who wears niqab.

The law allows for exemptions under certain circumstances, although it did not provide details. Regulations setting out how the new law will be enforced are yet to come.

“Even if you believe that the niqab is oppressive in some way. If that really is a problem cutting them out of public transit and access education and medical care is simply not the solution,” said Sarah Brand, a Bill 62 protester.

“It’s important to send a strong message that diversity. We can have a great principle, but we don’t want to perceive as we are stigmatizing anybody,” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.

Like France, which passed a ban on veils, crosses and other religious symbols in schools in 2004. Quebec has struggled to reconcile its secular identity with a growing Muslim population, many of them North African emigrants. — Reuters

AFP Chief meets with Muslim leaders in Metro Manila to discuss anti-terrorism efforts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 27, 2020

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay met with Muslim leaders in Metro Manila to discuss anti-terrorism efforts in the country.

Gapay said the meeting aims to join the forces of the military and Muslim leaders to curb terrorism and other criminal activities that plague the country.

“Our common aspiration is for the good of everyone. Peace, development, security and stability for our country is our primordial concern,” he said.

The AFP official also said the military wants to boost communication with all communities to give the public a better understanding of the military’s goals, especially when implementing anti-terrorism guidelines.

He also wants to further protect schools and orphanages against possible terrorist group recruitment.

“It is also our common aspiration to protect and shield the educational institution, including madaris (Islamic schools) from unscrupulous sectors of society,” Gapay added. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

May 25 declared a regular holiday for Eid’l Fitr

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has declared May 25 a regular holiday in observance of Eid‘l Fitr, the end of the Muslim community’s fasting month of Ramadan.

The declaration was based on the recommendation of the  National Commission of Muslim Filipinos.

Proclamation Number 944, likewise, reminded the public of the quarantine regulations such as wearing of face masks and physical distancing to be observed on the duration of the holiday due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under government order, mass gatherings such as religious events are still restricted in different parts of the Philippines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

DOH asks public not to discriminate vs COVID-19 patients

Marje Pelayo   •   April 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday (April 5) asked the public not to mistreat or discriminate against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

Such behavior would definitely have an impact on the country’s efforts in fighting the disease.

“Nalulungkot po kami kapag nakakarinig ng mga kwento ng ating mga positive cases, kasama na rin ang ating exposed healthcare workers, na nakakaranas ng diskriminasyon at stigma, [It saddens us to hear stories of positive cases including exposed healthcare workers who experienced discrimination and stigma],” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a briefing on Sunday.

“Gusto ko lamang pong sabihin sa lahat,  pakiusap (na) huwag mamahiya ng mga taong may COVID-19, [I ask everybody to please, do not shame patients with COVID-19],” she added.

The official said the ‘stigma’ against COVID-19 positive patients may lead to other positive patients to conceal their condition which consequently could compromise the national government’s efforts to address their condition.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) has urged the local governments to formulate measures that would penalize any act of discrimination and harassment against frontliners and COVID-19 positive patients.

IATF-EID spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles warned that acts of discrimination such as coercion, slander and physical injuries shall be dealt with under the law as well as dishonoring of contractual obligations like contracts of lease or employment of COVID-19 patients.

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