08/28/2013 07:24 EDT | Updated 10/28/2013 05:12 EDT

'Back Off' On Secularism Charter, City Council Says To Quebec

A woman wearing a burqa talks on a mobile phone during the 'Uprising in the Muslim World' Khilafah Conference 2011 in Sydney on July 3, 2011. Around 1,000 Australian Muslims attended the conference hosted by the controversial Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir which called for the creation of a global caliphate or Islamic government. AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD (Photo credit should read TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

In preparation of Quebec legislation that would see religious symbols banned for public employees, Montreal city council is insisting that any kind of enforced secularism must be tolerant and inclusive.

Last week, the borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, who wears a kippa—a Jewish skullcap—said nobody should be forced to make a choice between being an elected official and wearing a religious symbol on the job.

Lionel Perez, who filed the motion, says he does not oppose the creation of a secular charter. His motion outlines a version of secularism that is in line with Montreal's modern diversity.

“Everyone has the right to be respected for their beliefs,” Perez says. “We don't want the state to start dictating how to practice religion or what to believe in. That's what state neutrality infers, and that's what we wanted to affirm here today."

The motion passed unanimously at the city council meeting on Tuesday.

The motion essentially tells the Quebec government to “back off,” according to city councillor for Snowdon, Marvin Rotrand.

“The idea of banning someone from being in a position of authority, like a teacher or a doctor, because they wear a kippa or a turban, is unconscionable," he says.

Rotrand says if the proposed charter of values passes at the national assembly, the city may try to opt-out of some of its clauses.

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