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Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois speaks to reporters at a cafe for the homeless during a Quebec provincial election campaign stop in Montreal Saturday, March 15.

Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A Quebec Jewish group says the apology of a Parti Québécois candidate who has been accused of anti-Semitic remarks is nothing more than "meaningless excuses."

Louise Mailloux, a staunch supporter of the PQ's proposed secular charter, came under fire last week for written comments equating the Jewish practice of circumcision to rape.

Mailloux also suggested in an old blog post that the high price of kosher goods is used to help fund Jewish activities and political interests abroad.

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The PQ candidate and philosophy professor issued an apology on Saturday saying she didn't mean to offend anyone and made the comments in the context of a debate over religious accommodation in Quebec.

But Luciano Del Negro, a spokesman for the Quebec branch of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, says the apology isn't enough.

He says the PQ must "categorically disavow" the anti-Semitic theories put forward by Mailloux.

PQ Leader Pauline Marois has stood by Mailloux and emphasized her party does not harbour anti-Jewish views.

"Madame Mailloux adheres to the Parti Québécois program and adheres to our attitudes and those are very respectful of people's right to choose their convictions and how they practise their religion," Marois said Friday.

The PQ secular charter, which would forbid public employees from wearing visible religious symbols including hijabs, turbans, kippas and larger-than-average crucifixes, has sparked intense debate in Quebec and in other parts of Canada.

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