French veil row uncovers schism on secular laws

Every so often - with increasing frequency, it seems - the French tie themselves in knots over Islamic clothing. This is one of these moments. Three years after the Riviera city of Cannes prohibited the full-length burkini swimsuit, the issue is again dividing the country.

This time, a mother wearing a hijab, which covers the head but not the face, accompanied her son's primary school class to the regional Parliament in the north-eastern town of Dijon. A far-right politician - wrongly - invoked French secular laws to request she remove it. A row erupted. The Speaker - rightly - shut him down. The far-right politicians left the room. The dignified mother consoled her tearful son.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'French veil row uncovers schism on secular laws'. Print Edition | Subscribe