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Bangladesh slams French headscarf ban

DHAKA, Feb 12 (AFP) – A senior minister in Muslim-majority Bangladesh has lashed out at an looming ban by the French government on Muslim girls wearing headscarves in schools, describing it as an attack on Islam.

“It is unthinkable in a democratic country like France and is a clear violation of religious and human rights,” said Industries Minister Maulana Matiur Rahman Nizami, who also heads the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami.

The minister, in a statement carried late Wednesday by the official BSS news agency, said the enactment of the law was an attack on Islam which would influence relations between France and the Muslim world.

“Hijab (headscarf) is not a religious symbol like the Christian cross and Jewish skull cap. It is a religious obligation for Muslim girls after puberty,” he added.

The minister appealed to French President Jacques Chirac to lift the ban.France’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday adopted a bill that would ban headscarves and other religious symbols in schools. The bill is now expected to be approved by the upper house, the Senate.

Jamaat has two ministers in the Bangladeshi government, which is led by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party.After the BNP, Jamaat is the second largest party in Zia’s four-party Islamist alliance.


                                                              Subject: France news