Arab Countries Voice Concern Over France's Proposed Ban of Religious Symbols

December 23, 2003

Source: Yahoo! News

On December 23, 2003 Yahoo! News posted an Agence France Presse article that reported, "Arab and Muslim countries are voicing growing outrage at French President Jacques Chirac's support for a ban on the headscarf even if a few intellectuals dispute claims Muslim women are bound by duty to wear it. Weighing in on the issue of the headscarf, or hijab, are Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, influential Qatari-based cleric Yussef al-Qaradawi and the muftis of Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. 'I hope the French government, which claims to be avant-garde in liberty, equality and fraternity, will cancel this wrong decision,' Khatami told reporters in Tehran. He said the 'hijab is a religious necessity and its restriction is a sign of a kind of extreme nationalistic tendency.'"