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The Debate

Macron and Islam: French president weighs in on new headscarf row

THE DEBATE
THE DEBATE FRANCE 24

France's on again, off again row over the Muslim headscarf is on again. This time, was it the president who started it? With March municipal elections on the way, Emmanuel Macron has been telling MPs from his own party not to let the far right own the conversation on secularism, radicalisation and sectarianism. But his own camp emerged divided from a recent parliamentary debate. And when a far-right regional councillor baited a mother who had accompanied children on a school outing, all bets were off. We ask what the law says and what the French want.

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On the one hand, there is for instance the radicalised, who won't shake women's hands or the recent terror attack at Paris police headquarters by a civil servant.

But on the other, there's fear by France's Muslim community, whose sense of stigmatisation has been reinforced this week by the attack on a mosque in the southwestern city of Bayonne by an 84-year-old retired soldier.

As for Macron, he has granted an interview to ultra conservative weekly Valeurs Actuelles. Is it the right forum to take the fight to the far right and win over those tempted by intolerance? Or more oxygen for a certain kind of thinking on religion and identity that is trying to go mainstream?

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Ingri Bergo.
 

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