The majority Senate on the far right adopted on Tuesday, in an explosive context, a proposed law LR to prohibit the wearing of religious symbols to parents accompanying school trips, deemed "counterproductive" by the Minister of Education Jean- Michel Blanquer.
After an impassioned debate of almost five hours, the text was voted by 163 votes to 114 and 40 abstentions. However, it is unlikely to be voted by the National Assembly, dominated by the presidential majority.
The examination of this controversial text was maintained despite the calls for renunciation of the left which denounced an "intolerable climate" and within the majority, in a tense atmosphere in the aftermath of the attack on a mosque in Bayonne, which caused two serious injuries.
The senator (ex-PS) of Bouches-du-Rhone Samia Ghali denounced a text that "stigmatizes". She welcomed the same day in the Senate about thirty women and children from Marseille's working-class neighborhoods, including some veiled mothers.
The subject was relaunched by a member of the RN taking part of a veiled woman during a public meeting. The right continues to press Emmanuel Macron to speak again on secularism.
Echo, the head of state on Tuesday night targeted those who "want to sow hatred and division" use the principle of secularism "to lead the fight against this or that religion. "Secularism is a principle of brotherhood that must live in every French as a compass," said Macron during the inauguration of the European Center of Judaism in Paris.
– "Halloween witches" –
Before the Senate, the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer immediately reaffirmed his opposition to the proposed law, but pledged to be "in support of the directors of institutions in the measures they wish to take to fight against proselytism ".
"Going beyond the necessary, a law would be counterproductive because it would send a scrambled message to the families that need to be brought closer to school. The minister also defended his fight for secularism, but also against communitarianism and against radicalization.
The text aims to modify the code of education to extend "to persons who participate, including during field trips, to activities related to teaching in or outside institutions" the prohibition of conspicuous religious symbols posed by the 2004 law.
The numerous interventions took place in a relatively serene atmosphere, except for some projections of the non-registered senator Jean-Louis Masson, who notably compared the veiled companions to the "witches of Halloween".
For the authors of the proposed law, it is a question of filling a "legal vacuum" in order to avoid leaving the heads of institutions to decide.
"The law must be clear, the law can not be in the + at the same time", supported the patron of Senators Republicans Bruno Retailleau.
– "Amalgam simplifiers" –
The whole question is whether the school trip is indeed an "educational time" and whether the accompanying parents should be considered as "volunteer collaborators" and therefore subject to the same obligations of neutrality as the teachers. The right defended this position, disputed on the left.
In the senatorial majority, Laurent Lafon (centrist) warned against "the context in which it intervenes, where amalgam simplifiers take precedence over reasoned speeches".
"It is not because some hysterize the subject that it should not be treated," retorted Jerome Bascher (LR).
Opponents of the ban have widened the debate to its consequences: "It could move some children away from public school" (Antoine Karam, LREM), it would cut "the only link of socialization for these women" (Colette Mélot, Independents ).
This debate "is the blessed bread for Islamists," launched Laurence Rossignol (PS) and the text "feeds suspicion" against some citizens, added Pierre Ouzoulias (CRCE majority Communist).
"Predators who reject our republican model can rejoice at the emergence of a society of prohibition, prohibition, exclusion," added PS group president Patrick Kanner.
Three LR senators voted against the text and 10 others abstained. At the PS, 15 elected officials did not take part in the vote, the majority voting against, as all the groups CRCE and LREM. The centrists, like the radical majority RDCS and the Independents, shared one another.