French politician's call for 'ban on Jewish skullcaps' sparks outrage

Sep 24, 2012, 13:26 IST | Agencies

A far right French politician has sparked off outrage across the country by calling for a ban on the use of Jewish skullcaps in public in the 'name of equality'.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of National Front, said all religious headwear should be banned ‘in shops, on public transport and on the streets’.

“It’s obvious that if the veil is banned, the kippah should be banned in public as well,” she told Le Monde.

According to the Daily Mail, Le Pen, whose infamous father Jean-Marie Le Pen is a convicted racist and anti-Semite, also called for a ban on public prayers.

She even said kosher and halal foods should be outlawed in schools, along with foreign governments being allowed to pay for mosques.

According to the paper, French President Francois Hollande criticised Le Pen’s comments.

“Everything that tears people apart, opposes them and divides them is inappropriate. We must apply the rules, the only rules that we know - the rules of the Republic and secularism,” he said.

Jean-Francois Cope, leader of the opposition UMP party, also criticized Le Pen, saying she ‘barely knew what secularism was’.

“Marine Le Pen wants to ban any signs of religion on the streets, starting with the veil and the kippah. By doing this, she shows she does not understand anything about secularism. Secularism is not about the eradication of all religious expressions in society,” Cope said.

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