Several MPPs will defy Keffiyeh ban in Ontario legislature: Muslim group

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) made the announcement on Wednesday, calling Arnott's ban of the scarf 'unjustifiable' and an 'unprecedented ruling.'

Several MPPs will defy Keffiyeh ban in Ontario legislature: Muslim group
The Canadian Press / Liam Casey and The Canadian Press / Alex Lupul
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Several MPPs from different provincial parties will wear the keffiyeh on Monday, May 6 at Queen's Park, in direct defiance of Speaker Ted Arnott's ban on the garb.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) made the announcement on Wednesday, calling Arnott's ban of the scarf "unjustifiable" and an "unprecedented ruling."

Arnott argued that the keffiyeh is being worn to make a political statement. Leaders from all parties, including the Ontario Premier Doug Ford, have asked for the ban to be overturned.

“Every party leader, including Premier Ford and Opposition Leader Marit Stiles, have stated on the record that they are opposed to the ban,” said the NCCM in a statement.

“Dozens of highly regarded lawyers and legal scholars have opined to us that the Speaker’s ruling is ultra vires his powers, due to, among others, improper purpose, and that the power of the parliamentary privilege is constrained in relation to human rights violations.”

The NCCM said that wearing the scarf is "a non-partisan issue." “We look forward to seeing all MPPs take action behind their words on Monday,” they added.

Last week, NDP MPP Sarah Jama was asked to leave the Legislative Assembly for wearing the garment. Jama refused to leave the chamber.

Jama accused the Progressive Conservatives of making the wearing of the keffiyeh in the House a political issue.

“This is a cultural piece of clothing. Every party leader has spoken up about how this ban shouldn’t exist. The premier has spoken about this ban needing to not exist. And yet his own members, the Conservatives, are the ones consistently saying 'no' to the removal of this ban,” she said.

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