61% of French support banning Islamic veil; Le Pen promises referendum on potential ban

With Marine Le Pen promising a referendum on wearing a veil in public, there appears to be a majority of French supporting her position

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Denes Albert
AP Photo/Christophe Ena

The majority of French people support a public ban on the Muslim veil or hijab, recent polling shows.

According to the survey conducted by polling firm CSA, 61 percent of respondents were in favor of prohibiting the wearing of veils on French streets, with 39 percent against the proposal advocated by conservative presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

In more detail, 37 percent of those asked said they were “totally for” maintaining the ban and another 24 percent “rather for” the ban. On the other side, 16 percent totally oppose the ban and another 23 percent rather oppose it.

Le Pen has previously claimed the hijab is an “Islamist” piece of clothing and referred to Islamist ideologies as “totalitarian and murderous.”

Her spokesperson Sébastien Chenu indicated that a referendum on the question would be held should the National Rally leader win next month’s presidential election.

The debate about public wearing of the hijab resurfaced in France earlier this month, when the Court of Cassation — the highest French court — upheld a rule set by the Bar Council of the city of Lille which bans religious markers in courtrooms. The rule was challenged by hijab-wearing French-Syrian lawyer Sarah Asmeta.

France first banned the use of Islamic headscarves in state schools in 2004. It later became the first European country to ban the public wearing of the niqab — a full-face Islamic veil — in a law that has been in effect since 2011.

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