Cape Town – A French government agency has recommended banning university students from wearing religious symbols such as Muslim headscarves, say reports.
The High Council for Integration (HCI), France24 reports, is alarmed by “growing tensions in all sectors of university life” that were undermining the country’s secular values.
A school law, which has been in place since 2004, has had success in reducing problems stemming from religious differences at school level. The law bans school children from wearing religious symbols in all educational establishments except universities.
The HCI wants the same rules applied at university level as it reports that tensions arise from “demands to be excused from attendance for religious reasons, demands for separation of sexes in lectures and seminars, instances of proselytising, disagreements over the curriculum, and the wearing of religious clothes and symbols”.
The HCI recommended that the 2004 law be updated and extended to university students prohibiting them from wearing religious symbols particularly the Muslim headscarf.
Islam is influential in France which has Europe’s biggest Muslim population.
In 2011, former president Nicolas Sarcozy’s government banned the wearing of the full face-covering Islamic veil in all public places.