13 April 2016

French PM backs Muslim headscarf ban at universities

In a lengthy interview with France’s Libération newspaper published Tuesday, the Socialist prime minister was asked directly if a ban on headscarves already in place at French state schools and public-sector workplaces should be extended to universities.

“It should be done,” said Valls, though he admitted that "there are rules in the constitution that would make such a ban difficult”.

France, where the strict separation between church and state is seen as a fundamental part of the country’s values, has some of the toughest secularism laws in the world.

The government banned the wearing of overtly religious symbols, including headscarves and crosses, in state primary and secondary schools in 2004, while decades old laws requiring public sector workers to be impartial mean they too cannot wear any clothing or accessories that express their religious beliefs. [France24] Read more