Sheikh Tantawi: France has right to ban Islamic headscarves in state schools

Published December 30th, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

Ahead of his talks with French Interior Minister, the Grand Sheikh of Egypt`s Al-Azhar University, the highest authority in Sunni Islam, stated on Tuesday that France had the right to ban Islamic headscarves in state schools. 


“The veil is a divine obligation for a Muslim woman... No Muslim, whether ruler or ruled, can oppose it,” Mohammed Sayed Tantawi said in a statement issued for the minister’s visit. But he added that the obligation applied “if the woman lives in a Muslim country. If she lives in a non-Muslim country, like France, whose officials want to adopt laws opposed to the veil, it is their right. 


“I repeat: It is their right and I cannot oppose it,” AFP quoted Tantawi's statement. (

© 2003 Al Bawaba (

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