18 December 2003

Chirac backs ban on headscarves

French President Jacques Chirac has voiced support for a law that would ban the wearing of headscarves in schools.

He was giving his reaction to last week's report by a government commission, which proposed a ban on conspicuous religious signs in schools.

Jewish skull-caps and large Christian crosses would be affected, as well as headscarves worn by Muslim girls.

Some religious leaders have objected to the idea, but polls suggest a majority of voters would back it.

'Discreet' medallions and pendants which merely confirm a person's religious faith would be allowed.

This is a truly bad idea. Secularism does not mean privileging one religion or culture over another. Chirac should be ashamed of himself.

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