France wants to ban hijab-wearing mothers from taking children on school trips

France wants to ban hijab-wearing mothers from taking children on school trips
2 min read
26 September, 2019
France's education minister has waded in on a debate about whether hijab-wearing mothers should be allowed to accompany children on school trips, causing further controversy.
Jean-Michel Blanquer criticised a poster featuring a Muslim woman [Getty]
France's education minister has reignited debate about women's clothing and secularism after criticising a parents' association poster showing a mother wearing a Muslim headscarf.

Jean-Michel Blanquer described the choice of a headscarved woman accompanying a child on a school trip as an "error".

Accompanying the image, which was released by the Congress of the Federation of parents of pupils (FCPE), are the words: "Yes, I'm going on a school trip, and so what? Secularism is about welcoming all parents to school, without exception."

The poster attracted criticism on social media from those who took offence at the image of the Muslim mother, amid debate in France about whether those who wear hijab should be allowed to volunteer as helpers for school trips.

Speaking to BFMTV, Blanquer said that having hijab-wearing mothers on school trips is something he'd want to avoid "as much as possible".

"From a legal point of view, there is nothing wrong with a mother wearing a veil. But it's not something we want to encourage," he said.

Blanquer also went as far as to say that headteachers should engage in "dialogue" with parents to ask them to remove their scarves.

The row is the latest in France over garments worn by Muslim women, which proponents of France's brand of secularism see as contridactory to the state's ethos.

France – the country with Europe's largest Muslim population – was the first European country to ban the full-veil in public spaces in 2011.

The European Court of Human Rights upheld the ban in 2014, rejecting arguments that outlawing full-face veils breached religious freedom.

Earlier this year, French sports retailer Decathlon was forced to back down from a plan to sell a runner's hijab in France after coming under fire.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab