“Unveil the girls and educate the boys”

A few hundred people took to the streets of Brussels on Saturday. The demonstrators are calling on the authorities to impose a ban on wearing the Muslim headscarf in Francophone schools. According to the organisers of the demonstration such a ban must be made by decree.

The organisations that demonstrated in Brussels think that politicians should ban all religious symbols from all the schools in Francophone education.

“Unveil the girls and educate the boys”

“Unveil the girls and educate the boys” is one of the slogans used by demonstrators.

According to one of the advocates of a headscarf ban, Karima, there is huge social pressure in the schools to wear a headscarf.  “Those who don’t wear a headscarf are cursed at and accused of not being religious or of being a prostitute.”

Nadia Geerts of the organisation RAPPEL called on politicians to take a decision to urgently protect girls from the obligation of wearing a headscarf.

The debate on whether to ban religious symbols is heating up

The debate over whether or not to allow religious symbols in schools has been in the spotlight over the last few months, both in Flanders as well as in the south of the country, where a number of schools have implemented a ban individually.

In Flanders the debate was sparked off again when an Antwerp school announced in June that it would implement a ban on religious symbols (so also the headscarf) from September.

After a turbulent start to the school year at the school in question and much debate, both pro and con, the network of Flemish Community schools decided to implement a ban on headscarves and other religious symbols in all the schools.

The debate is still very much alive in Flanders, and apparently in Wallonia as well.