France plans to extend hijab ban

France plans to extend hijab ban
Tue Aug 6, 2013 14:15:01

The French government plans to increase prohibition on veil -- a Muslim womens wear to cover their head and face -- by forbidding the wearing of religious symbols in universities.

The High Council of Integration (HCI) has made 12 recommendations, including the ban of “wearing religious symbols openly in lecture theatres and places of teaching and research" at French universities, according to a report published on Monday by, citing the French newspaper Le Monde.

President of the HCI Benoit Normand confirmed that the report has been handed over to the France’s National Observatory on Secularism however it “will not be made public until the end of the year”.

The authors of the HCI report said they want to ensure “religious neutrality” in France’s establishments of higher education.

In addition, the authors said as cited by the Le Monde, "the public service of higher education is secular and independent of any political, economic, religious or ideological influence,” so there is no reason why higher education should be any different from schools.

If the government were to approve the measures then it would be an extension to the country’s contentious 2004 law, which bans the wearing of religious symbols in all French schools and colleges. However, the law currently does not bar the Muslim veil in universities.

A similar law was imposed in April 2011, which forbids the wearing of full face veil in public.

Meanwhile, France is experiencing an increase in attacks targeting Muslims. Several women in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil were recently assaulted by racist skinheads who tore off their veils. One of the victims suffered miscarriage from the attack.

In addition, Interior Minister Manuel Valls was forced on July 22 to defend the 2011 law after unrest broke out in Trappes near the capital following the police arrest of a family of a face veiled woman.