Her daughter, Alaa, was not allowed entry to her Paris high school when she was 17 because she was wearing the hijab.

"We had to improvise" Noura told Aljazeera. "We found a small scarf that somehow covered her hair reaching above the ears and managed to make her look modest."

Now that the proposed law has been sent to the French Senate for approval after being passed by the lower house of parliament, life for Muslim women wearing the hijab is bound to become yet more difficult.

"Headscarfed women were already being discriminated against in state schools. With the new law, women will have to choose between leaving the school or taking off  the hijab," said Jab Allah, spokeswoman for the French Union for Muslim Women .

"We feel the law is unjust and violates personal freedom," she told Aljazeera.net.

Targeting Muslims

Like many of her co-religionists Jab Allah believes the law is mainly targeting Muslims. She is quick to point out that there was no move to ban other religious apparel until Muslim girls decided to don the headscarf.

Speaking from her house in Paris, Jab Allah fears the future of Muslim women in France.

"It is easier for Christians and Jews to adapt - it is easier to take off a cross or a Jewish skull cap than removing the hijab - and they have their own religious schools. Muslims do not have a choice since there are no Muslim schools.

She fears that the new law may open the floodgate to anti-Muslim legislation.

"We are worried that headscarved women will be banned form leading a normal life like going out to the streets or driving their kids to school," she pointed out. "There is already talk of banning the hijab  in hospitals and universities," she exclaimed.