French Muslim policewoman refusesto remove headscarf

13th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 13 (AFP) - A Muslim policewoman in Paris has annoyed her superiors and stoked a national debate in France over Islamic headscarves after refusing to take off her own head covering on religious grounds, a police union said Monday.

PARIS, Sept 13 (AFP) - A Muslim policewoman in Paris has annoyed her superiors and stoked a national debate in France over Islamic headscarves after refusing to take off her own head covering on religious grounds, a police union said Monday.  

The woman, a traffic officer identified only as Nora C., refused an order given August 25 to take off a small headscarf that she wears under her uniform cap, the union said, confirming a report in a news magazine, L'Express.  

She reiterated her stance the next day when she met another superior officer, whose hand she declined to shake, the union, Synergie, said.  

The union added that the woman, who is divorced with two children, was currently off work on medical leave.  

The incident focused attention back on a controversial new law in France banning Islamic headscarves and other religious insignia in state schools in a bid to uphold the country's strict secularity.  

Muslim groups in particular have protested against the measure, claiming it infringes upon their religious traditions.  

It was not clear whether the policewoman was breaching uniform rules by insisting on keeping her headscarf, but the Synergie union asserted that her act was "unacceptable on principle" and threw "the neutrality of the state into question".  

Paris's 2,000 traffic officers wear a distinctive blue-and-white uniform topped with a yellow and blue cap.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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