A parliamentarian for the ruling Republic Forward Party in France, accompanied by a number of right-wing deputies, left a hearing in the National Assembly to protest the presence of a veiled student who participated in the session that was held on Thursday.
Parliamentarian Anna, Christine Lang, said on her Twitter account, “As a deputy and a feminist, I cling to the values of the republic, secularism and women’s rights, I do not accept that a person comes to participate in the work of the National Council while he is wearing a headscarf, which remains for me a symbol of submission. Therefore, I left the hearing.”
In the attached video, she appears apologizing for staying until the end of the session due to the presence of a veiled girl who participated as a representative of a student union.
En tant que députée et féministe, attachée aux valeurs républicaine,à la #laicite et aux #droitsdesfemmes, je ne peux accepter qu’une personne vienne participer à nos travaux à l’#AN en hijab, qui reste pour moi une marque de soumission.
J’ai donc quitté cette audition #DirectAN pic.twitter.com/6L5PRF2YvX
— Anne-Christine Lang (@AChristine_Lang) September 17, 2020
The veiled student, Maryam Pougetto, in her capacity as vice-president of the National Union of French Students, attended a hearing on the effects of the Corona pandemic on youth and children, in which representatives of youth and student bodies and unions participated.
The incident sparked widespread reactions and criticism of parliamentarism on social media platforms, where Twitter users described it as a contradiction. A year ago, Christine herself criticized Jordan Bardella, a member of the far-right National Front party, who considered women’s wearing the veil undermining secularism, in a televised interview with him.
Anna Christine commented at the time in response, saying, “No, Mr. Bardella, it has nothing to do with secularism, this is racism. In public places, everyone is free to wear whatever they want.
Representatives call for tighter rules on religious symbols in parliament
Rules approved by the French National Assembly allow the wearing of religious symbols for people participating in hearings or attending parliamentary debates. However, the incident reopened the debate over these rules and elected members of the Republican Party called for tightening these rules.
And former Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal admitted in a televised interview that she would have left the room as well if she had been there.
Alpes-Maritimes deputy Eric Ciotti expressed his full support on Twitter, saying, “I support my fellow deputies who boycotted the hearing …” He added that Parliament is not a “scene of Islamic extremism, except for listening to officials from among the clergy. Religious symbols should be banned in the council.”
Total soutien à mes collègues députés qui ont boycotté l’audition de la présidente voilée de l’unef
L’assemblée nationale n’a pas à être le théâtre du militantisme islamiste
En dehors de l’audition de responsables religieux il faut interdire les signes religieux à l’Assemblée https://t.co/fXJLiCaaDP
— Eric Ciotti (@ECiotti) September 17, 2020
A break with secular principles …
For his part, the activist and politician of the Green Zone, Yannick Jadu, said that this incident expresses a “complete break with the principles of secularism,” noting that the council was received by the Catholic cleric Abi Biar, who became a deputy from 1946 until 1951, saying that such a must be avoided Debate.
He added that Muslims in France should be protected, who are the first victims when talking about fighting radical Islam.
▶ "'Le #burkini n'a rien à faire dans une piscine' : pourquoi ?".
— LCI (@LCI) September 18, 2020