French premier favors Muslim headscarf ban at universities

Muslim students gather in front of the Strasbourg Education Offices, eastern France, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2004, to protest against the law banning the wearing of Islamic headscarves and other religious signs in French public schools. (AP)

France’s prime minister says he’d favor a ban on Muslim headscarves in universities, prompting criticism from within his own government.

In an interview with the daily Liberation, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said France should “protect” French Muslims from extremist ideology. He said the headscarf, when worn for political reasons, oppresses women and is not “an object of fashion or consumption like any other.”

Citing secular traditions, France banned the face-covering Muslim veil and forbids headscarves and other religious symbols in schools and public buildings. Asked whether to outlaw headscarves in universities, Valls is quoted as saying “it should be done, but there are constitutional rules that make this ban difficult.”

Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and the junior minister for higher education, Thierry Mandon, say they are opposed to a ban.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48