• search

French PM glad to see Britain debating Muslim veil

Written by: Staff

PARIS, Oct 26 (Reuters) French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin today welcomed Britain's debate about limiting Muslim veils, saying he was glad to see London come around to a view that Paris has held for a long time.

Villepin recalled that France was widely criticised in Britain two years ago when it banned the Muslim headscarf and other religious garb from its state schools as an unacceptable intrusion of faith into the public sphere.

The debate in Britain is about limiting the full facial veil, or niqab, and not the headscarf. But Villepin saw a parallel in the way both societies were setting standards to which immigrant communities would have to conform.

''I'm glad to see France's secular demands are now being discussed seriously abroad,'' Villepin said at his monthly news conference.

''British personalities often lectured me about this, (asking) why a country should pass a secular law about religious garb at school,'' he said.

''I'm glad to see they're now asking themselves the questions we've been asking ourselves for quite a long time. Being a country means respecting rules, and especially respecting authority. It means respecting principles and values, and that's France's strength.'' France has long insisted that its immigrants conform to French ways while Britain has traditionally followed a more flexible multicultural policy.

Britain's former Foreign Minister Jack Straw sparked the debate in Britain earlier this month by saying Muslim women who wore full veils made community relations harder. Prime Minister Tony Blair later called the veil ''a mark of separation''.

Elsewhere in Europe, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi has said the veil should not be used to hide behind, while European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a newspaper interview published on Thursday that they were obstacles to communication.


For Daily Alerts

For Breaking News from Oneindia
Get instant news updates throughout the day.

Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more