French Senate debates Muslim headscarf bill

International

FILE – In this Dec.17, 2011 file photo Mannequins with veils are seen on display at an exhibition hall for the Muslim World Fair in Le Bourget, outside Paris. France’s Senate is voting Tuesday Oct.29, 2019 on a bill that would forbid Muslim mothers from wearing headscarves on school field trips, amid resurgent tensions around the country’s unusually strict interpretation of secularism. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, file)

PARIS (AP) — The French Senate is debating a bill that would require Muslim mothers who wear headscarves to remove them on school outings.

The bill under consideration on Monday comes amid a weeks-long uproar over French secularism and headscarves at the center of the debate.

The thorny topic moved into the headlines in mid-October after a far-right National Rally representative at a regional council demanded that a Muslim woman in the chamber remove her headscarf, causing a scandal.

The measure under debate was introduced by the mainstream right months earlier.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told Senators any law forbidding head coverings on school outings would be “counter-productive.” A 2005 law banned students from wearing headscarves in classrooms.

The bill has little chance of passing in the lower house and becoming law.

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