Secularists Protest Proposed Ban of Religious Symbols

February 5, 2004


On February 5, 2004 reported, "Scores of French secular activists thronged to the outside of National Assembly on Wednesday, February 4, in protest at the lower house's intention to ban hijab and other religious insignia in the rigidly-secular country. The demonstrators shouted slogans against the ban, saying the move would be discriminatory as it violates the right of thousands of Muslim students to education. The ban, expected to come into effect in the coming academic year in September 2004, would increase sectarianism and extremism here, said Halima Abumedinne, a member of the European Parliament. As a secular French citizen, Abumedinne said that legislation on the ban is biased as it is favors discrimination in treatment. It is mainly targeting Muslims, and would not halt the sectarian trends in society, Green Party parliamentary chief Noel Mamer told the jeering protestors."