France: MPs leave meeting due to presence of woman in hijab

Paris: Irked by the presence of a student leader wearing a headscarf, right-wing and republican lawmakers walked out of a meeting in France’s parliament.

The meeting was being held in Paris to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on young people. Meanwhile, some right-wing members of parliament as well as ruling party member Anne-Christine Lang objected on the presence of woman in hijab saying they could not accept that students’ union representative Maryam Pougetoux wearing a headscarf. Then they walked out.

Taking to Twitter, Lang said that she could not digest the presence of a person with a headscarf at a meeting held at the national assembly, “the heart of democracy.”

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The Muslim News quoted the parliamentarian as saying, “As a member of parliament who is a feminist and protector of women’s rights, committed to republican values and secularism, I cannot accept the participation of a person wearing a headscarf to our meeting.”

However, Sandrine Morch, another ruling party member, who chaired the session, termed the lawmakers’ reaction as unnecessary.  She noted that there was no rule preventing people from attending the meeting in religious attire. She refused to allow the fake discussion around the headscarf to shift the focus of the meeting, where the future of the country’s youth was being discussed.

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Pougetoux was appointed as the speaker by the students’ union UNEF in 2018. She also faced criticism then itself, by the then Minister of State for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa and many other political figures.

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