Chief Rabbi Speaks Against Proposed Ban of Muslim Headscarf

December 12, 2003

Source: Ha'aretz

On December 12, 2003 Ha'aretz ran a Reuters article that reported, "France's chief rabbi added a Jewish voice Wednesday to a choir of Christian churches calling on President Jacques Chirac to stand firm against a growing movement to ban the Muslim veil in public schools and offices. Grand Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, in an interview with the daily Le Figaro, said French of all faiths should show tolerance towards each other rather than seek to issue bans. The Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches spoke out Monday against a ban, saying France's failure to integrate its Muslim citizens was a more pressing problem than the few cases where schoolgirls refused to remove their veils. 'The right way is not to pass a law, which I fear would end up banning all religous symbols,' Sitruk said a day before a special commission was to hand Chirac a report on church-state relations in France. 'What an aberration it is to want to muzzle religion in the name of secularism,' he said, adding the century-old separation of church and state had worked well and should not be altered."