Foreign minister backs headscarf ban

20th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 January 2004, BRUSSELS – Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel on Monday night waded into the country's increasingly bitter debate over Muslim headscarves, saying he believed female students should not wear the items while they were at school.

20 January 2004

BRUSSELS – Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel on Monday night waded into the country's increasingly bitter debate over Muslim headscarves, saying he believed female students should not wear the items while they were at school.

But Michel shied away from calling for a legal ban on the Islamic hijab in schools. He said he would prefer the Belgian authorities and the country’s Muslim community to reach a voluntary agreement on the issue.

 The Foreign Minister also said he believed civil servants should not wear religious symbols like hijabs when they were at work.

Earlier this month Belgian Interior Minister Patrick Dewael angered the country’s Muslim community when he called for a legal ban on the wearing in schools of hajib’s and other overtly religious symbols.

Dewael’s call followed the French government’s decision to push ahead with a headscarf ban that it hopes will be adopted in time for the beginning of the new school year in September.

Subject: Belgian news

 

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