Prayer rooms will be banned in schools in Quebec, Canada

Minister of Education of Quebec Canadaannounced on Wednesday (05) that prayer rooms will soon be banned in public schools in the province.

Bernard Drainville informed reporters in Quebec that he was aware of at least two schools in the Montreal area that allow students to gather to pray.

Drainville said it would provide advice to all school service centers, adding that prayer rooms in the schools did not conform to the official policy of secularism in Quebec.

However, the minister does not completely ban prayer and said students who wish to pray must do so “quietly” and “quietly”.

“There are all kinds of ways to pray,” Drainville said. “I cannot forbid prayer. I forbid prayer in the classrooms. Now, if someone wants to pray in silence, that’s their basic right.

Drainville’s stance has hardened since Tuesday, when he said schools cannot reserve rooms exclusively for one religion and must ensure prayer spaces respect the gender equality.

However, he changed his position after the Parti Québécois asked the Ministry of Education to put in place stricter measures.

Pascal Bérubé, PQ MP for Matane-Matapédia, announced Wednesday that a third school in Vaudreuil, west of Montreal, has opened a prayer room. He then introduced a motion in the Legislative Assembly, which passed unanimously, stating that prayer areas in public schools were contrary to the secularism of the state.

“If we accept what is happening, (…) it becomes case law, and there will be demands elsewhere,” said Bérubé, adding that people can pray quietly. “It is not necessary to have a room equipped for this purpose,” he said.

Alaric Cohen

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