Chirac seeks to extend scarf ban

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The Independent Online

President Jacques Chirac called yesterday for a ban on Islamic headscarves and other obvious religious symbols in state schools and suggested there should be a similar ban on officials or workers who deal with the public.

But he rejected a recommendation that the ban should be balanced by new Islamic and Jewish holidays in state schools.

He said all "ostensible" or blatant signs of religious or political allegiance should be banned in state schools. The President added that the principle of a secular state must also apply in hospitals and other public institutions. Islamic women patients could not refuse to be treated by male doctors.

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