Veiled Muslim women protested on Saturday in Central Paris against the exclusion of mothers who wear veils (hijab) from public institutions. The Muslim women joint together with the ‘Mamans toutes égales’ (Mothers are all equal) collective, which was founded in 2011 by Muslim and non-Muslim parents in Montreuil, following the exclusion of a Muslim mother from an elementary school because of wearing the Muslim veil.
The collective of mothers demand the retreat of the Chatel decision of 2004, which they consider as discriminatory. The decision was mainstreamed by the centre-right Sarkozy government, which advocated against the wearing of religious symbols in schools to safeguard public schools as secular institutions. According to the Chatel decision, schools are allowed to regulate their own internal policies in regards to religious symbols, which provides inconsistent everyday practices as well as confusion and room for selective discrimination.
The current centre-left government under President Francois Hollande has sent, according to the group, ‘worrisome signals’ in regards to a future legally applicable amendment. A spokeswoman of the group said ‘We can’t be fooled. There is a tendency to fabricate laws of exception against Muslims in general and for Muslim women in particular. The left has taken the same path as the right in this game’