The French remain opposed to Islamic veil in schools
A majority of French people remain against allowing the Islamic veil to be worn in universities, according to a recent poll. Interior Minister Manuel Valls says he is looking at a proposed ban with great interest.
An online survey by pollsters Ifop, published on Friday, showed that 78 percent of French people are against the Islamic veil in higher education.
Only 4 percent said they were for the wearing of the veil, while 18 percent abstained from responding. Members of the centre-right UMP party were opposed far more than those from the left-wing, with 91 versus 67 percent, and members of the far-right Front National party against at 95 percent.
The numbers are consistent with those of previous polls taken in France over the wearing of the veil in public places. In March 2013, 84 percent of people surveyed said they were against the veil being worn in private establishments that served the public, while 89 percent of people in October 2012 said they were against it being worn in public schools. A poll from the same year showed that 63 percent were opposed to the veil being worn in French streets.
A report published at the beginning of the week in French daily Le Monde, by France’s High Council on Integration, called for a ban of “ostentatious” religious symbols in universities.
France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls reacted by saying that the findings were “of interest,” while many of his fellow left-wing government members remain hostile to a new law about the veil in universities.
One of President François Hollande’s campaign promises was to renew a 1905 law on the separation of church and state, however since his election, the concept has been all but forgotten.
A statement from the “Mosques and Muslims in Solidarity” movement (Mosquées et musulmans solidaires) said the renewed debate over the Islamic veil was a dangerous one, and something that would see France’s Muslim population increasingly discriminated against.
Banning the veil would be "disproportionate to the objectives for doing so, namely in creating a neutral environment for public services, in the name of secularism," said the statement.