Proposal to ban Islamic veil draws criticism

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PARIS

Ongoing debate over controversial “separatism” bill has sparked criticism, created a diversion, dividing the house on the issue of the veil, whether to include amendments to ban veiled students at the university and accompanying parents to display religious symbols. on school premises.

Several parliamentarians judged this decision to be counterproductive on Tuesday.

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

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

“To ban the veil at university would be to say that all women who wear the veil are a problem, which would mean that we consider that it is Islam that is the problem”, declared Pierre Yves Bournazel, member of the Agir ensemble party representing Paris. .

A 2004 law prohibits 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 cases where veiled women have been verbally assaulted or asked not to accompany their wards.

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

The government affirms 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 education, control of foreign funding, the proliferation of places of worship. transparent, prohibiting political meetings in a religious building, combating online hate speech and illegal content, among others.

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

In a comment to the French daily Le Express, Berge said she supported his suggestion, adding: “Supporting improved access to abortion and tackling the veil of young girls are part of the same fight for emancipation of women. You cannot be a geometry feminist, or be one when the battle is on. “

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

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

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