Quebec suspends niqab ban following legal challenge

Quebec suspends niqab ban following legal challenge
Canadian province Quebec was due to be the first area in North America to enforce a ban on the niqab, but a challenge from civil rights group has frozen it.
2 min read
03 December, 2017
Few Canadian Muslims choose to wear the niqab [Getty]

A legal challenge has forced Quebec to put on hold plans to ban the niqab, the first such restrictions against the Muslim face veil in North America.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Babak Barin ruled on Friday that the so-called "burka ban" could not be put into practice until guidelines were unveiled by the government on how the restrictions would be implemented.

Quebec's ruling Liberal Party claim the ban does not target Muslim women who choose to wear the face veil, and claim the restrictions are necessary for identification and communication purposes, and security.

Civil rights groups have fought the "discriminatory" ban in the French-speaking province that would bar women who wear the niqab from accessing public transport or government services, such as healthcare.

It follows similar bans in France and Belgium where women face fines if they wear the niqab in public.

Quebec's ban will be enforced by Bill 62 which was passed in October, but civil rights group say the legislation is unconstitutional.

Quebec City witnessed the murder of six Muslim worshippers at a mosque in January by a French-Canadian student.

Many Muslim groups and civil rights activists are concerned about growing anti-Muslim sentiments from the ban.