Hijab story makes BBC news

The story of Sondos Lamrhari, a Montreal teenager who wants to join the police, has made it to BBC news because she wants to do it wearing hijab. Some commentators are up in arms at the very idea, and commentary in the Journal – especially following with the recent announcement that Québec solidaire would be fielding a candidate in hijab – has been ferocious in the pages, pundits apparently lining up to tell us why this is wrong. (Note that Ms. Lamrhari’s only deviation from standard clothing is a low-key black do-wrap that hardly anyone would notice.)

Whatever happens, laïcité is bound to be the hottest potato in the fall election.

Update: I very much liked Don Macpherson’s tweet, which has been retweeted a lot this weekend: “Chroniqueuse du @JdeMontreal, qui est allé recherché la seule étudiante au QC en techs policières qui porte le hijab, l’a mis à sa une et en parle depuis 3 jours, déplore sa « vedettisation, » blâme « les imams, » et laisse entendre qu’elle « s’est radicalisée. » Macpherson’s also been tracing the trail of snarling from the JdeM stable, including the latest, Denise Bombardier’s Victoire du voile islamique.

You know, though, I think there’s something else going on that isn’t pure xenophobia. Quebec’s older editorialists would be able to remember a time when Quebec was as religiously unified as any Islamic state. They shook this off, but now they’re coping with people for whom religion is as central as it used to be to their parents and teachers when they were kids. There’s fear of that, but I suspect a deep and bitter envy as well. These Journal columns have been vibrating with emotion.