Quebec’s Education minister Jean-Francois Roberge tweeted on Friday a picture with Pakistani education activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.
Translated tweet: “Nice meeting with @MalalaYousafzai, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, to discuss access to education and international development @UNESCO”
The tweet, however, generated an interesting response from users as people were quick to call out the hypocrisy of the Quebec administration government for passing Bill 21, known to be ‘racist’ in nature as it does not permit public employees to wear religious attire to work. Taking away such a personal right that can arguably be one’s identity did not sit well with people when they saw the education minister posing with someone wearing religious attire.
Things became progressively worse when journalist Salim Nadim Valji asked Jean-Francois what his thoughts on Malala becoming a teacher in Quebec are.
Jean-Francois replied to his tweet [translated] saying: “I would certainly tell her that it would be an immense honor, and that in Québec, as is the case in France (where we are now) and in other open and tolerant countries, teachers cannot wear religious symbols in the exercise of their office.”
Many twitter users have deemed this as an unacceptable jab at someone who has been through and achieved so much for the educational rights of younger women and have pointed out that the mere aspect of one’s attire should not determine acceptance of employment.