‘The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has sparked controversy by suggesting the Muslim headscarf should be banned in universities and that a majority of French people think Islam is incompatible with the values of the Republic.
The Socialist, under pressure over contested labour reforms and growing street protest movements, reopened the divisive question of whether students could be banned from wearing headscarves at French universities.
In a long interview with the daily Libération, he was asked whether headscarves should be banned by law from universities and replied: “It should be done,” conceding that the constitution made it difficult.
But other Socialist ministers immediately contradicted him. “There is no need for a law on the headscarf at university,” said Thierry Mandon, the higher education minister. He said students were adults, and as such they “have every right to wear a headscarf. The headscarf is not banned in French society.”
Patrick Mennuci, a Socialist MP in the Bouches-du-Rhone, tweeted of Valls’s comments on the headscarf in universities: “Why open a debate that doesn’t exist? Let’s concentrate on real problems.”
A Twitter hashtag sprung up called #VraisProblemesUniversite (real problems at University) in which people suggested issues that were more important to debate.’ - Guardian