The Council of State of France will have to decide within three weeks on the question of the wearing of the hijab during sports competitions – in particular during football matches. Reflection on this problem was initiated by the Hijabeuses association, which brings together actors of the Muslim faith, writing Le Figaro.
The current statutes of the French Football Federation (FFF) prohibit the wearing of any “sign or clothing indicating religious affiliation”. The representative of the Hijabeuses, who spoke at the last session of the Council of State, called for the repeal of this article. This proposal was strongly opposed by the French Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin.
Accompanying French President Emmanuel Macron on a three-day working trip to Marseille, the Interior Minister gave an interview in which he said he ruled out the possibility of wearing religious clothing while playing sports . According to him, the public associations which push for the wearing of the hijab in sport “do not defend freedom of religion, but want to strike at the republic”.
“When you play football, you don’t need to know the religion of the person in front of you,” Darmanen explained.
The head of the French Interior Ministry pointed out that through the hijab as an element of clothing that covers the hair, religious dogmas are implemented that establish “control over the female body”. “I hope that everyone who protects women’s rights will oppose these kinds of unjust measures,” Darmanen concluded.
His stance was backed by MP Carl Olive, known for his closeness to the football community. In an interview with Europe 1, he said allowing the wearing of the hijab in sports competitions is “a way to divide, not unite” participants. “It is absolutely necessary to maintain complete religious neutrality in the sporting arena,” said the politician, who was once a professional soccer referee.
National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who included a ban on the public wearing of the hijab and veil in her presidential election platform, said “the hijab has no place in sport” and that MPs should pass legislation to enforce the ban.
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