After a gunman killed six worshippers inside a Quebec City mosque in January, the outpouring of support for the Muslim community was immediate.
The attack would be “a turning point” in the strained relationship between Quebec and its Muslim minority,
But the ensuing nine months have seriously undercut Couillard’s message of inclusiveness, and Muslim leaders are left wondering when the promised change will come.
In October, the Liberal majority passed into law Bill 62, which singles out the small number of Muslim women who wear face-covering niqabs or burkas and bans them from receiving government services, right down to a bus ride or a library card.
People affected by the law would include public-sector employees such as teachers, police officers, hospital and daycare workers.
Right-wing extremist groups and some local French-speaking media in recent years have targeted Quebec’s Muslims as part of a broader debate on the accommodation of religious and cultural minorities in the province.
Incidents of Islamophobia have increased in Quebec in recent years. In January, six people were killed in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque. A French-Canadian university student has been charged as the sole suspect.