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Iran's Ebadi critical of France's headscarf ban

French plans to forbid headscarves in state schools will only promote Islamic extremism, This year's Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi said in Paris on Thursday criticizing French plans to forbid hijab (Islamic dress code) in state schools, IRNA reported.

Plans to forbid headscarves in state schools will only promote extremism, Ebadi warned while commenting on the French President Jacques Chirac's pledge to back a ban on the Islamic headscarf in state schools.

The Iranian human rights defender and former judge said if there is a law to ban the hijab, only fundamentalists will profit from it adding that the girls should be given freedom of choice in wearing hijab.

Talking to journalists on the sidelines of a reception in Paris, she said the better the girls are educated and the more they go to school, the more emancipated they will be.

Chirac's remarks Wednesday on the controversial issue of Islamic headscarves drew a mixed reaction in France, some applauding the reassertion of France's secular state principles, while others called proposed legislation counter-productive and discriminatory. Many Muslims said the legislation unfairly targeted their community.

French Education Minister Luc Ferry said a bill banning "conspicuous" insignia from the classroom -- including the Islamic headscarf and large Christian crosses -- will be put before the National Assembly in February and should come into effect by September.

On Monday Ebadi hailed the capture of Saddam Hussein and called for him to be tried by an international tribunal.

"Iraqis are not the only ones to have suffered at his hands," said Ebadi, on a stop in Paris after receiving her peace prize in Oslo last week. "Don't forget what he did in Iran."

She was referring to the 1980-1988 war between Iraq and Iran that left hundreds of thousands dead on both sides.

... Payvand News - 12/19/03 ... --

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