A Quebec feminist researcher of Egyptian origin called for respect for the rights of women who refuse to wear the veil through the application of the law on secularism, which would put all schools of thought on an “equal footing”.
“There are two contradictory positions that we find within the same community. Don’t pretend Muslim communities are homogeneous, ”said Yolande Geadah, associate member of the UQAM Institute for Feminist Research and Studies.
The trial on the State Secularism Act at the Montreal courthouse continued on Friday in virtual mode, after a COVID-19 case involving the child of a lawyer forced his suspension temporary, Thursday.
Mme Geadah was able to finish her testimony on Friday, discussing the impact of the veil on women and the “free choice” to wear it.
Many women adopt the Islamic veil of their own accord. But in other cases, this choice would be made because of pressure from those around them, according to the expert on the situation of women in Arab-Muslim culture.
While many immigrants have fled “religious fundamentalism”, she argues that we must not “give priority to the rights of those who want to wear the veil” and that the law on secularism does not interfere with this choice.
“When you legitimize a symbol as strong as the veil, it comes with a set of other values that are not necessarily in society, which create friction,” said Mr.me Geadah.
“It’s their choice to wear the veil. This is an individual choice, but one that goes against the interests of all women. There is a balance to be sought between individual choice and collective choice, ”she argued.
► The trial continues virtually on Monday.