Quebec Supreme Court judge denies Muslim group plea to suspend ban on public school prayer rooms

Muslim students praying in Schools. Representational image. Unsplash. Canim Studio

Ottawa/CMEDIA: A request by a Muslim advocacy group and a civil liberties organization to suspend the province’s ban on prayer rooms in public schools was reportedly denied by a Quebec Superior Court judge on Wednesday. 

It was argued by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the National Council of Canadian Muslims that irreparable harm was being caused to Muslim students, and needed the ban to be suspended immediately as the Muslim students couldn’t wait while legal challenge made its way through the courts.

After agreeing that the ban violates religious freedom and could cause irreparable harm to Muslim students, Justice Lukasz Granosik said the groups had only filed their request for a stay in June when the ban went into effect May 3.

“The delay is not explained in the proceedings and remains inexplicable,” he was reported to tell the court.

Citing the province’s policy on institutional secularism, Education Minister Bernard Drainville banned schools from offering dedicated prayers spaces after about at least two Montreal-area schools reportedly allowed Muslim students to pray,

A lawsuit had been filed by the Muslim and civil liberties groups on behalf of a 16-year-old student at a Montreal-area high school, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, the school was given space to pray at lunchtime.

Granosik said it’s not clear that the student would be immediately harmed by the rule because classes had ended and students were only required to be at school to write exams.

Concerned about serious questions about the constitutionality of the ban, the judge said these would be settled during a full trial adding that the constitutional violations were not sufficiently clear for him to suspend the rule so early in the legal challenge.

Muslim group’s organization would review the decision, Stephen Brown, CEO of the Muslim group was reported to say.

Citing the court process, a spokeswoman for Drainville declined to comment on the ruling.

#QuebecSupremeCourt; #Muslimadvocacygroup;  #CivilLibertiesOrganization;  #PublicSchoolsprayerRooms