Muslim, civil liberties groups begin court battle against Quebec secularism law

National Assembly Crucifix

Lawyer Catherine McKenzie argues that Bill 21, which bans some public sector workers from wearing religious symbols at work, is unconstitutional.

She told a judge today that Quebec is trying to legislate the relationship between the state and religion and doing so is the sole jurisdiction of the federal government.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Ichrak Nourel Hak, a Universite de Montreal education student who wears a hijab, are listed as plaintiffs in the case.

They are seeking an immediate judicial stay on the sections of the law that prohibit public sector employees from wearing religious symbols at work.

They are also seeking a stay on the section that requires people to give or receive state services with their faces uncovered.