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Quebec in Canada Considers Ban on Face Veils in Public Sector, in a move criticised as Marginalising Muslim Women

The proposed law prohibits anyone giving or receiving government services, such as a provincial government-issued health card, from wearing face-covering garments

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FILE - A demonstrator adds a Quebec flag to her veil during a protest against Quebec's proposed Charter of Values in Montreal, Sept. 14, 2013. Thousands took to the streets to denounce the province's proposed bill to ban the wearing of any overt religious clothing by government-paid employees or people seeking government services.VOA
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Montreal, October 20, 2016: Quebec is moving ahead with a law to ban face coverings in the public sector in a move criticised as marginalising Muslim women and potentially inflaming anti-immigrant tensions in the mainly French-speaking Canadian province.

The proposed law prohibits anyone giving or receiving government services, such as a provincial government-issued health card, from wearing face-covering garments. As an example, it would prevent a woman from donning the face-concealing burqa while trying to get a Quebec driver’s license and prohibit a civil servant from covering her face.

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The Quebec government is holding hearings before a vote on the legislation, which is likely to pass because of the centrist Liberal party’s majority in the legislature.

Quebec says the law is aimed at ensuring the religious neutrality of the state. Critics say a law is not required and only affects a small number of Muslim women who wear burqas or niqabs.

“It’s an unnecessary exercise,” said Amira Elghawaby, a spokeswoman for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, adding it could “isolate and victimise women who wear the face veil.”

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Like France, Quebec has struggled at times to reconcile its secular identity with a rising Muslim population, many of them North African immigrants. The face covering, or niqab, became a big issue in last year’s national Canadian elections, especially in Quebec, where the vast majority of the population supported a ban on them at citizenship ceremonies.

France in 2004 passed a hotly contested ban on veils, crosses and other religious symbols in schools, which appeared to be a model for Quebec’s “Charter of Values” that the previous provincial government tried to introduce in 2013.

Quebec’s justice minister has said the law is not an attack on Muslim women and “respects individual choices.”

“Our approach in this file would be balanced and respectful of greater principles such as gender equality and the recognition of rights and fundamental freedoms,” said Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee.

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The latest legislation, Bill 62, is a watered-down version of that charter, and opposition lawmakers say it does not go far enough.

Parti Quebecois legislator Agnes Maltais said Bill 62 fails to include services provided by municipalities, a key point of contact between civil servants and the public. Maltais said the law should be amended to prevent all state workers in positions of authority such as judges and prison guards from wearing religious symbols. (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)