France’s official council promoting integration has struck a raw nerve by proposing that Muslim headscarves, already banned in the civil service and state-run schools, also be outlawed at the country’s universities.
The High Council for Integration, in a confidential report leaked to Le Monde newspaper, said this was needed to counter problems caused by students wearing religious garb and demanding prayer space and special menus at universities.
France’s 2004 ban on headscarves in schools and 2010 ban on full face veils in public have alienated many of its five million Muslims. Rioting broke out in a Paris suburb last month after police checked identity papers of a fully veiled woman.
“This is one more step in the legal stigmatization of Muslims,” the March 15 Liberty Committee, a Muslim group opposed to the school headscarf ban, said on Tuesday.