Quebec passes North America’s first 'burqa ban'

Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec has passed a law that will restrict people from performing or receiving public services while covering their face.

Proponents of the law say it is grounded in the promotion of religious neutrality in the public service sector. However, wearing other religious tokens, such as a cross, are not included in the controversial law. Opponents of the ban say it singles out Muslims who traditionally wear garment items that cover part of or all of the body.

“We can’t have the state tell people what to wear and what not to wear,” said Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democrats.

Quebec joins five Western European countries in their restrictions on face coverings, with Austria implementing its own ban at the beginning of October.