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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 08:44 GMT
French juror barred for headscarf
French Muslim girls wearing the controversial scarves
Scarf-wearing girls have been suspended from French schools
French Justice Minister Dominique Perben has barred a woman from a court jury for wearing a headscarf.

Mr Perben said the Muslim scarf, worn by the juror at a trial in Bobigny, north-east of Paris, was contrary to the principle of impartiality.

He said he did not want open signs of religious commitment in French courts.

The French Government has been split on whether to ban headscarves in public institutions because of its policy of strict secularism.

A heated debate is continuing over whether the scarves worn by many Muslim women are acceptable in schools, courts and government departments.

In recent months, several girls have been suspended from French schools for wearing them.

France has the largest Muslim community in the European Union, numbering about five million people.

Explaining his decision to have the woman dismissed, Mr Perben said: "The justice system must show its ability to be dispassionate and to be impartial and this is why this kind of outward demonstration is not acceptable."

The woman had attended the jury selection procedure at the court in Bobigny without a headscarf, but wore one on the first day of the trial.




SEE ALSO:
Headscarves: contentious cloths
26 Sep 03  |  Europe
Viewpoint: Why I decided to wear the veil
17 Sep 03  |  Have Your Say
Headscarf issue in highest court
03 Jun 03  |  Europe
Headscarf row erupts in France
25 Apr 03  |  Europe
Turkish headscarf ban questioned
07 Nov 02  |  Europe


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