Macron hits out at Muslim women wearing burqas in France | World | News

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Emmanuel Macron said France was committed to gender equality, and that the headscarf debate was part of the ongoing battle against the oppression of women.

Mr Macron said: “I am not especially happy that some [Muslim] women choose to wear the headscarf when out in public, but it must be tolerated.”

France adheres to a strict and unique brand of secularism, the philosophy of laïcité, which is designed to keep religion out of public life.

Mr Macron, however, ruled out banning the headscarf – which has been banned in state schools since 2004 – in public places. Muslim women, however, have been banned from wearing the burqa – the full-face Islamic veil – in public places since 2011.

“I respect veiled women, but I want to make sure that they are wearing veils and headscarves out of personal choice,” he said, before adding that there was no “unequivocal” answer to the Islamic headscarf and veil debate.

Mr Macron added that veil- and headscarf-clad women made people feel uncomfortable because the conservative Muslim headwear “does not conform to the civilities of French society,” and stands in stark contrast to France’s continued efforts to promote women’s rights and gender equality.

“We are committed to equality between men and women. But we must do more to explain this need for gender equality and convince people of its importance. However, banning the Muslim headscarf in public places would be counter-productive.

“The French state is secular but French society is not, and Muslim women should be allowed to wear what they want. 

“I just want to make sure that no woman is forced to wear a veil or headscarf. It’s a battle for emancipation.”

The 40-year-old centrist also pledged to be “uncompromising” in the fight against radical Islamism, which he likened to an infectious, “leprosy-like” disease gnawing away at society.

“We must pacify the ties between religions and society in order to remain united… We must also make sure that people understand that radical Islam is not Islam,” Mr Macron said, before adding that the radicalisation of French youths was one of the government’s “greatest challenges”.

The French President was speaking to veteran journalists Edwy Plenel of the investigative website Mediapart and Jean-Jacques Bourdin of RMC radio in his second television interview in less than a week.



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