AFT Bulletin, 2020-12-28

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Oral Arguments of Atheist Freethinkers

Courtroom Log of Hak versus AGQ

[…] Maître Bachand’s presentation emphasized two key principles put forward by AFT:

(1) The primacy of freedom of conscience, which precedes freedom of religion (the freedom to believe in the existence of supernatural phenomena), as explained in paragraph 19 of our brief which asserts that legal protection of conscience exists independently of any religious considerations. Freedom of conscience encompasses both “freedom of religion and freedom from religion” (to echo the words of Yolande Geadah who testified as expert witness for the organization Pour les droits de femmes du Québec or PDF-Q), as well as freedom of apostasy (that is, the freedom to leave one's religion in order to adopt another or none).

(2) The distinction between freedom of religion as a belief, that is, as an aspect of internal conscience covered by paragraph 2a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (CCRF), and freedom of expression covered by paragraph 2b) of the CCRF. In other words, a clear line must be drawn between internal faith on the one hand and external manifestations of that faith in civic space on the other hand.

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Does the EMSB Condone Child Abuse?

[…] Does the EMSB deprive some pupils of music appreciation because of their parents' religion? Even worse, does the EMSB deprive some children of meals because their parents want them to follow Ramadan? Does the EMSB accept that very young girls wear the Islamic veil? […] Would the school board condone such differential treatment of pupils for non-religious reasons? On what basis can such treatment be justified for religious reasons and, if so, what indeed are the limits?

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On-Line Event, Sarah OUDIA, 9th January 2021

« Voile islamique, femmes musulmanes et espace politique musulman »

[In French]

Register for this event

2020-12-12 : On-Line Talk by Hamou IGGUI

« Réflexions utiles sur l’Islam »

[In French]

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Legal Fund

Fundraising Campaign for our Court Intervention in Support of Bill 21

Bill 21

We, Atheist Freethinkers, intervened before Quebec Superior Court in the case against Quebec Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State, defended by the Attorney-General of Quebec. Our intervention was as a friend and in support of Bill 21, that is for secularism. We seek the support and solidarity of anyone who, like us, supports secularism and recognizes the landmark importance of Bill 21 and the necessity of defending it against the well-funded and reactionary forces who are attempting to turn back the tide of secularization of the Quebec State.

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An Orgy of Hateful Hyperbole

Courtroom Log of Hak versus AGQ: Week 5

For the fifth week of legal proceedings in the case of Hak versus Attorney-General of Quebec (AGQ), the Court heard oral arguments from several lawyers representing those opposing Bill 21.

[…] This week, we witnessed an orgy of hyperbole, dishonesty, demagogy and hateful speech from the opponents of secularism.

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Courtroom Log of Hak versus AGQ

Week 4

[…] The approach chosen by Koussens and Bosset seems to amount to relativizing the concept of secularism, thus blurring its definition and weakening its implementation.

[…] Koussens and Bosset have in fact a short-sighted and myopic view of the issue. They interpret the meaning of a religious symbol strictly from the point of view of the person wearing it, thus ignoring its objective meaning. They have a very narrow interpretation of proselytism (in the sense of trying to convert), thus underestimating passive proselytism and completely ignoring internal proselytism whose purpose is to impose fundamentalist practices on people of the same religion. Furthermore, they underestimate the danger represented by political Islam, assuming it to be influential only in countries where Islam is the majority religion.

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Courtroom Log of Hak versus AGQ

Week 3

[…] For Ms. Geadah, Bill 21 is not discriminatory because it targets no religion in particular. Secularism protects everyone, including the members of religious minorities. Most religious believers, including most Muslim women, do not wear religious symbols. The debate about individual rights misses the point completely. The promotion of wearing symbols is part of a fundamentalist movement whose purpose is to reconfessionalize public spaces.

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