French PM Calls for Ban of Muslim Headscarves in Universities to ‘Protect’ Women from Extremist Ideology
Darren Boyle, Daily Mail, April 14, 2016
The French Prime Minister believes Muslim headscarves should be banned in universities, prompting opposition from within his own government.
In an interview with the daily newspaper, 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 has already 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, Mr 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.
Former fashion mogul Pierre Berge lashed out Wednesday at designers creating Islamic clothing and headscarves, accusing them of taking part in the ‘enslavement of women’.
The French businessman, partner of the late fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent, took aim at the wave of big fashion chains that have followed the Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana in catering specifically to the Muslim market.
‘I am scandalised,’ he told Europe 1 French radio.
‘Creators should have nothing to do with Islamic fashion. Designers are there to make women more beautiful, to give them their freedom, not to collaborate with this dictatorship which imposes this abominable thing by which we hide women and make them live a hidden life.’
‘Renounce the money and have some principles,’ he declared, lashing the new fashion for ‘modest’ Muslim-friendly lines.
Berge–who spends most of his time in Muslim-majority Morocco–said: ‘I am definitely not an Islamophobe. Women have a right to wear headscarves, but I do not see why we are going towards this religion, these practises and mores that are absolutely incompatible with our western freedoms.’