(The Quebec government website shows examples of acceptable (L) and unacceptable religious symbols allowed to be worn by public servants, according to its proposed Charter of Quebec Values, September 10, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Quebec Government website)

The Canadian province of Quebec will not allow public servants to wear Muslim headscarves, Jewish skullcaps or other obvious religious symbols under a new charter unveiled on Tuesday that is designed to cement a secular society.

The pro-independence government of the predominantly French-speaking province says its Charter of Quebec Values will help create a distinct identity for its 8 million people.

Opponents say it infringes on civil liberties in a part of Canada that has already seen years of tension over accommodation for religious minorities, particularly those from immigrant communities.

Religious groups and many political leaders oppose the charter, which will face legal challenges at the Supreme Court of Canada, assuming the provincial legislature approves it.