Sarkozy vows to ban hijab in France

28th Oct 2016
Sarkozy vows to ban hijab in France

Elham Asaad Buaras

France’s former centre-right president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has vowed to ban Muslim headscarves (the hijab) should he win the UMP’s nomination and the presidential elections next year.

In an interview with Radio Classique, Sarkozy vowed to enforce “strict gender equality” in keeping with French values.

“On French soil, we don’t accept inequalities between men and women”, he said.
When asked if he would legislate for an overall ban on the hijab, he replied: “Exactly”.

Sarkozy, 61, said “No headscarves, no burkinis, no specific swimming times at the public pools, and strict equality when it comes to the rights and of men and women that is the French republic. We have a national identity, a way of life. There are countries in the world where women can’t drive. If you want to live there you can go live there. In the Republic of France, we do not accept that.”

But advisers close to Sarkozy have downplayed his comments. A spokesperson told L’Express: “We are still working on the burkini, not the headscarf. There is a media frenzy about this, but let there be no ambiguity.”

Polls have put Sarkozy’s rival Alain Juppe as the favourite to win the centre-right party’s presidential nomination.

A poll by Harris Interactive showed a two-point lead in favour of Juppe over the former president in the first round of the party’s primary, growing to a six-point lead in the second round.

Meanwhile, pollsters YouGov placed Sarkozy among the five least favourable potential candidates, with Juppe as the lone favourite.

Primary elections will take place in November to decide the parties’ nominees ahead of the overall election next April.

Sarkozy is not the only would-be presidential candidate to target the hijab. Bruno Le Maire also vowed to ban the hijab should he be elected.

Le Maire, 47, who is known for his strong anti-immigration stance, told Le Journal du Dimanche , “A blanket ban should be imposed on the Islamic face veil including the headscarf and the body-covering burqa and niqab. Moreover, it should be banned in all public places, and not just in schools.”

He said: “I would be more than willing to launch a debate on the wearing of ostentatious displays of religion in public places, including hospitals, government-run offices, and universities.”

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