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France: Senate Votes to Ban Hijab for Under 18s

Apr 03, 2021

France has banned wearing the hijab for anyone under 18. Mothers in hijab will also not be allowed to accompany their children on school field trips.

The French senate had voted as such on Tuesday, but the bans have not become law, as yet. According to Five Pillars, the votes, need to be confirmed by the National Assembly to become law. They nevertheless reflect the majority sentiment of the French upper house.

The vote took place in the context of respect for the “Principles of the Republic”. The French Senate voted in favour of the “prohibition in the public space of any conspicuous religious sign by minors and of any dress or clothing which would signify an ‘inferiorization’ of women over men.”

The veil, meanwhile, has already been banned in French schools. One right-wing senator, Bruno Retailleau, said, “Stop telling us that the veil is only a piece of cloth while it characterizes the claim of the Islamist ideologists to impose on us a counter-society, separate from the national community… The situation is extremely serious.”

According to Five Pillars, Amnesty International said that the new regulations would result in further discriminatory policies against France’s Muslim minority. Amnesty International’s Europe researcher Marco Perolini in a statement, “This proposed law would be a serious attack on rights and freedoms in France.” He added, “Time and again we have seen the French authorities use the vague and ill-defined concept of ‘radicalization’ or ‘radical Islam’ to justify the imposition of measures without valid grounds.

France’s biggest anti-Islamophobia organization has, in recent months, been shut down, along with the country’s biggest Muslim charity, under the pretext of fighting extremism.

Meanwhile, French Muslims are appalled that the age of sexual consent in the country is 15, and that that too had been only established in recent weeks, while it may become illegal to don the hijab if the wearer is under 18.

Umm Muhammed Umar

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