The French remain opposed to the Islamic veil in schools

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A majority of French people remain against wearing the Islamic veil in universities, according to a recent poll. Interior Minister Manuel Valls said he was considering a proposed ban with great interest.

An online poll by Ifop pollsters, released on Friday, showed that 78% of French people are against the Islamic veil in higher education.

Only 4% said they were in favor of wearing the veil, while 18% refrained from responding. Members of the center-right UMP party were much more opposed than those of the left, with 91% against 67%, and members of the far-right Front National party against 95%.

The figures are consistent with those of previous surveys carried out in France on the wearing of the veil in public places. In March 2013, 84% of those questioned said they were opposed to the wearing of the veil in private establishments serving the public, while 89% of those questioned in October 2012 were opposed to the wearing of the veil in public schools. A poll in the same year showed that 63 percent were opposed to wearing the veil on French streets.

A report published at the beginning of the week in the French daily The world, by the French High Council for Integration, called for a ban on “ostentatious” religious symbols in universities.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls responded by saying the findings were “interesting”, while many of his fellow leftist government members remain hostile to a new university headscarf law.

One of President François Hollande’s campaign promises was to renew a 1905 law on the separation of church and state, but since his election the concept has been all but forgotten.

A declaration of the movement “Mosques and Muslims in solidarity” (Mosques and Muslims in solidarity) said resuming the Islamic veil debate was dangerous, and something that would see France muslim population more and more discriminated against versus.

Banning the veil would be “disproportionate to the objectives pursued, namely to create a neutral environment for public services, in the name of secularism,” the statement said.


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