Activists oppose plan to ban hijab in French sports competitions
The petition was launched by Les Hijabeuses, a campaign group of French female athletes who wear the Muslim head covering.
"I am passionate about football and I have been fighting for more than a year to allow all women, including those who wear the veil, to practice their favorite sport in official competitions," a statement from 22-year-old Hijabeuses member Founé read.
"This amendment, if passed by the National Assembly, would mean that thousands of women living in France who wear the veil will once again be excluded, sidelined, marginalised and stigmatised," it continued.
The petition was widely shared on social media along with the French-language hashtag #LaissezNousJouer (#letusplay) and had gathered more than 52,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.
The campaign continued through World Hijab Day on Tuesday, which saw social media users share posts in support of French women fighting for the right to wear the hijab in sports.
Last month, French senators approved an amendment prohibiting "the conspicuous wearing of religious symbols" in sports events organised by governing federations. The right-wing Les Republicains party then proposed a further amendment specifying the hijab.
Lawmakers discussed the amendment earlier this week but were unable to reach an agreement. France's National Assembly will revisit the issue later this week.
The hijab has long been at the centre of debates on the nature of secularism in France, with authorities imposing draconian measures targeting Muslims and justifying them on the grounds that the country is committed to keeping religion out of the public sphere.
Critics argue that the measures seek to marginalise France's ethnic minority groups, who mostly hail from former French colonies.
France outlawed the wearing of religious symbols in schools in 2004. It imposed a ban on wearing the full-face veil (niqab) in public in 2011.
It is unclear whether, if approved, the new ban would be implemented for the 2024 Paris Olympics.