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Turkey condemns France’s Senate for voting against veil

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that "it would have been more beneficial to take measures to combat Islamophobia" than to ban the Islamic veil for women.

Published: November 1, 2019, 8:12 am

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    On Thursday, October 31, Turkey condemned the French Senate’s vote to ban the wearing of religious symbols for parents accompanying school trips. In a statement reported by French daily Le Figaro, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that it was “the latest example of discrimination and an approach tending to marginalize Muslims”.

    According to the Turkish Ministry, “it would have been more beneficial to take measures to combat Islamophobia” and the text voted in France “violates one of the most basic fundamental rights”.

    As Le Figaro recalled, Turkey is officially a secular country, but with the arrival of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in power, it defends the rights of Muslims around the world. In 2017, after an order issued allowing a company to ban the wearing of the veil at work, the Turkish president had accused European justice of leading a “crusade” against Islam.

    Since 2003, the Erdogan government has canceled the ban on wearing headscarves in public service institutions and high schools.

    The French bill was passed Tuesday, October 29 by the Senate. It aims to amend the Education law to extend “to those who participate, including during field trips, in activities related to education in or outside institutions.” The ban on conspicuous religious symbols is governed by the law of 2004.

    Even if this Republicans bill has been approved by the Senate, it will have little chance of being voted in in the National Assembly, where the presidential party holds the majority.

    Last month, Julien Odoul, a member of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) and other elected RN officials created a controversy by asking a woman accompanying the class of her son to remove her veil at a plenary meeting of the Regional Council of Burgundy-Franche-Comté.

    An Ifip-Fiducial poll showed that two-thirds of French voters support a ban on women wearing the headscarf during school outings.

    The Senator of Moselle, Jean-Louis Masson denounced “veiled women who create closed communities” in the Senate on Tuesday during the debate on the bill to prohibit the wearing of religious symbols to parents accompanying school trips.

    In his speech, he mused: “Is it normal for your child, your grandchildren, who are not used to rubbing shoulders with veiled obscurantism, to be encircled on the move by veiled women who create closed communities?”. The video of his speech was posted on Twitter by a Macron sycophant, a LREM MP.

    “We are saddened by the misery of the mother,” said the senator, adding: “If she had not put her veil, the problem would have been solved.”

    His comments were in reference to those made by Odoul. “We could surround [children with anything […] We could do Halloween too. We could release Halloween witches for school trips,” added Jean-Louis Masson. “But we still have the right to have children who are not polluted by community proselytism,” he noted.

    “It is not us who must align with them, the communitarians. It is the communitarians who live with us, who are in our society, who must integrate into our society. And if they are not happy, they should just go back to where they came from!” he concluded.

    Several Internet users have questioned Gérard Larcher, the president of the Senate on social networks, demanding that sanctions be taken against the Senator of Moselle. But as Public Senate explained, if the attitude of an elected official disrupts the debates, members still enjoy parliamentary immunity and their freedom of expression in the Senate.

    In 2015, Jean-Louis Masson said in the Senate that “today’s immigration is the terrorists of tomorrow”.

    Also this week, a huge number of Christian symbols were vandalized in Cognac. The prosecutor’s office of Angouleme opened an investigation into “the voluntary degradation of private property”.

    A few days before the Catholic holiday of All Saints, a hundred Christian tombs were vandalized in a cemetery in Cognac, Charente, on the night of Tuesday 29 to Wednesday 30 October, reported Le Figaro.

    Plates and many Christian symbols, such as crosses or angels, have been degraded, “without it being possible to say whether it is anything other than a mere act of vandalism,” said a judicial source quoted by the daily.

    Actu17.fr stated that the Technical and Scientific Police (PTS) has carried out on-site surveys for analysis. “Crosses were particularly targeted by vandals,” the news website reported.

    “I hope there is no political or religious connotation,” said the mayor of Cognac, Michel Gourinchas. According to Le Figaro, the bishop will visit the scene on Thursday afternoon, along with Chantal Guélot, the sub-prefect of Cognac, “in solidarity with the families of the deceased whose graves have been degraded”.

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