Egypt students protest French ban

Hundreds of Egyptian women staged a sit-in at Cairo University to protest the French parliament's approval of a law banning the Muslim headscarf in state schools.

    For practising Muslim women, hijab is a doctrinal requirement

    Over 300 hijab-wearing students gathered on campus this Wednesday to denounce the French National Assembly's decision that could bring the dress-code law one step closer.
      
    "My veil is the way to paradise," read one banner in English. "Shame on you France," read another. "French democracy is false."
      
    Between 100 and 150 male students also demonstrated, with all protestors carefully watched by several hundred riot police. 

    France's lower house of parliament adopted a bill on Tuesday that would ban Islamic headscarves and other religious symbols in schools despite opposition from its large Muslim population and criticism from abroad.
      
    Legal certainty

    The text, put forward by President Jacques Chirac's ruling centre-right party and supported by the left-wing opposition Socialists, was adopted by a vote of 494 to 36.
      
    It will now be sent to the parliament's upper house - the Senate - where Chirac's UMP party has a large majority, and is expected to become law well in time for the start of the next school year in September. 
      
    The bill makes it illegal to wear clothes or symbols that "conspicuously" display affiliation to a faith.
      
    Though it does not specify the items that would be barred, an experts' report listed the Sikh turban, Jewish skullcap and "large" Christian crosses in addition to the Islamic headscarf.

    SOURCE: AFP


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