Storm In France Over Headscarf Bill

By Mike Peacock.

Paris, January 7. A French Muslim fundamentalist leader said that Muslim girls who follow their conscience will stop going to class if France bans students from wearing the headscarf in public school.

As a bill that would ban the headscarf was made public, Mr Lhaj Thami Breze said girls will have two choices: those who put their education first will remove the headscarf and stay in class, while those "who respect their conscience" will leave.

Mr Breze, president of the influential Union of Islamic Organisations of France, said in a published interview that some Muslim girls will likely transfer to private schools, including Roman Catholic establishments. "I know that our Catholic brothers are very tolerant," he was quoted in Daily Metro as saying.

Meanwhile, the head of France’s Muslim Council urged the country’s Muslims on Wednesday to ignore the "siren" calls of Islamic radicals and refuse to join protest marches against government plans to ban head scarves in public schools.

Mr Dalil Boubakeur, chairman of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, branded a pro-veil march set for next week as a "very dangerous" measure that could frighten voters two months before regional elections are held across France.