Sailing: “I am for freedom, but the impartiality of public services”, Emmanuel Macron confirms

While moving to Le Havre, Emmanuel Macron spoke privately about wearing the hijab, a major topic at the center of the debate with Marine Le Pen.

“I am for the neutrality of public services, forging the republican spirit, and for this reason there is no veil in the school,” said the President of the Republic during this meeting with the residents of Le Havre.

Referring to the results of his five-year term, in particular the law affirming respect for the principles of the republic, known as the “anti-separatist” law, Emmanuel Macron insisted on the fact that he “wanted to fight extremism and the people.” Those who weaken the Republic, and those who advocate by religion practices not in keeping with the laws of the Republic.”

However, he said he opposes the ban on wearing the headscarf in public. “We have millions of our compatriots whose religion is Islam, who should be able to live quietly in our country,” he declared, justifying his remarks by the fact that France is “the country of freedom and that no country in the world has prohibited the wearing of the headscarf in the street.”

“For a little girl to wear a niqab in the street is not a problem for me.”

Emmanuel Macron was responding to a question about an exchange he had on Tuesday 12 April in Strasbourg, with a veiled young woman who stopped the president to ask him if he was a “feminist”. Then he assured her yes, and in turn asked the young woman whether she wore the veil by choice or if it had been imposed on her, and the latter replied immediately that it was a personal choice. “Lovely. […] To have a hijab-wearing girl in Strasbourg ask: “Are you a feminist?” “It’s the best answer to all this bullshit I can hear,” he said.

“In the street, the little girl’s wearing of a headscarf is not a problem in my eyes, if that is her choice. What I don’t want is to suffer,” he said again on Thursday.

Marine Le Pen, her opponent in the second round of the presidential election, asserted that the headscarf is a “garment” used by Islamic fundamentalism to serve an ideology it considers “totalitarian”, and would like to ban it in public. If elected, whoever wears the headscarf in the street can be fined.

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