This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Hindus have strongly criticized proposed Charter of Quebec Values restricting display of religious symbols in public sector; calling it cynical, incoherent and shocking proposal; incompatible with the 21st century world.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that governments should not be in the business of telling people how to dress. Quebecers should come out openly against this Charter, thus displaying that it did not represent their true values.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that religious freedom was inherent right of all Canadians, which included Quebecers also. This proposed Charter clearly violated religious freedoms and might be an effort to distract Quebecers from the sluggish economy.
Masquerading as secularism, it appeared to be actually government sponsored discrimination targeting religious minorities; and was divisive, full of contradictions and risked fundamental freedoms, Rajan Zed noted.
Zed further said that political advantage based on electoral politics, and not the reasoned pursuit of the public good, seemed to be the goal of this proposed policy. It appeared to be an attack on the minority to attract the majority and would result in creation of two classes of people in Quebec, one more cherished than the other.
Rajan Zed stated that arguments for this Quebec government’s drive towards a secular society and state neutrality on religion did not seem to hold water. Neutrality of an employee should be measured by his/her actions and not by his/her dress. It seemed to be trampling fundamental rights and infringing on civil liberties of minorities and hinted at xenophobia.
Quebec government did not seem to be “neutral” in the proposed implementation of this Charter, although it claimed neutrality. This Charter did not level the playing field, contained inconsistencies and double standards and was hypocritical. Quebec should treat all religions and citizens equally, Zed added.