Canada's Quebec has now become the first jurisdiction in North America to institute a ban on niqabs and burqas.
Earlier this week, the Canadian province adopted a law (bill 62) banning face-veils for those seeking to use public services, including public buses, The Guardian reported.
The legislation was passed after two years of work and deliberations by the province’s Liberal government which says it aims to address the issue of state neutrality.
Online backlash against the ban
News of the law's passing has been making the rounds online in the past two days.
It has since been condemned by critics who said it "deliberately targets Muslim women and will fuel the province’s simmering debate on identity, religion and tolerance."
Amid the intense online backlash, Philippe Couillard, the Premier of Quebec, defended the latest legislation in a statement, saying:
“We are just saying that for reasons linked to communication, identification and safety, public services should be given and received with an open face,” he told reporters. “We are in a free and democratic society. You speak to me, I should see your face, and you should see mine. It’s as simple as that.”
People are not having it
Many are calling the ban "an attack on human rights"
Some are planning to defy the ban...
Others are arguing this point
Others are labeling the ban "Islamophobic" and "mysoginist"
"Forcing women to dress how You want is not freedom, it’s fascism"
Similar bans have taken effect across Europe
In recent years, similar versions of Quebec's burqa ban have been adopted by countries across Europe, including France, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland.
In 2011, Belgium also passed a controversial burqa ban, which was later upheld by The European Court of Human Rights.
More recently, Austria issued a similar ban even though only 150 women wear the burqa in the country.