Proposal to ban Islamic headscarf draws criticism



An ongoing debate over the controversial ‘separatism’ bill has drawn criticism, caused a diversion, dividing the House on the question of the veil, whether to include amendments to ban veiled students at university and accompanying parents to display religious symbols. in the school premises.

Several parliamentarians on Tuesday deemed this decision counterproductive.

Sacha Houlie, a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s liberal centrist La République en Marche party, warned that banning university students and accompanying parents from public services and school outings, and preventing their participation in cultural and sporting activities would be “totally against -productive in relation to the very objective of this text which fought against the separatists ”and “would return these people to their identity” therefore “would promote community withdrawal”.

Boris Vallaud, member of the Socialist Party also reacted: “Students are users of public service, this secularism does not apply to them.”

“To ban the veil at the university would amount to saying that all women who wear the veil pose a problem, which would mean that we consider that it is Islam that poses a problem”, declared Pierre Yves Bournazel, member of the Act Together party representing Paris. .

A 2004 law bans the wearing or open display of religious symbols in all French schools, but it does not apply to universities. There is no law prohibiting mothers from wearing the hijab on school trips, but there have been several instances where veiled women have been verbally abused or told not to accompany their wards.

The discussion was sparked by Tuesday’s demand from right-wing and conservative Republican Party member Eric Ciotti to ban the Islamic headscarf at university. “We cannot tolerate that the university, temple of knowledge, reason and science, can tolerate a garment of enslavement of women within it,” he told the hearing of the special commission. examining the text of the bill “confirming respect for the principles of the Republic” in the National Assembly.

The government claims that the bill presented to the Council of Ministers on December 9 aims to fight against “separatism” and radicalization through a series of provisions such as the prohibition of polygamy or forced marriages, certificates of virginity, home schooling, control of foreign funding, transparency, prohibiting political meetings in a religious building, combating online hate speech and illegal content, among others.

Around 1,700 amendments were tabled for discussion ahead of the bill’s review which began on Monday, the majority of which were ruled “out of order”. This included an amendment by Aurore Berge and Jean-Baptiste Moreau, members of Macron’s party, aimed at banning the wearing of the veil for “girls” and mothers accompanying school trips, which was ultimately rejected.

In a comment to the French daily L’Express, Berge said she stood by her suggestion, adding: “Supporting improved access to abortion and tackling the veiling of young girls are part of the same fight for emancipation of women. You can’t be a variable geometry feminist, or just one when the battle is on.”

Previously, Macron had warned on such amendments that there was a probable “danger of diverting the debate to this question which has no place today” and that it had “no relation to the draft law “.

“And this can lead to a stigmatization of Muslims, whereas we have said on several occasions that it was not a text against the Muslim religion,” the daily Le Parisien said during a seminar last week.

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