French nun refused place in retirement home due to veil

20.11.2019

A French retirement home refused a place to a nun because of her head covering citing secularism in the country, France Bleu public radio reported on Tuesday.

The nun, aged over 70, had decided to retire to her native area of Haute Saone late last year and requested a place in a public retirement home, the report said. But when she was offered a place in July, the letter stipulated that out of respect for secularism, religious clothing could not be worn.

The mayor of Vesoul, Alain Chretien, said in a statement published on Twitter later on Tuesday that he had heard the news "to my great astonishment" and that it was a "very regrettable" error.

The incident came to light amid a flare-up of France's recurrent debate over the headscarf worn by some observant Muslim women.

The conservative-dominated Senate recently approved a draft law to ban parents from wearing religious clothing while accompanying school trips.  

However, the law is expected to be rejected by the National Assembly, which is controlled by President Emmanuel Macron's centrist party.

A 2004 law, passed after debates over the Islamic headscarf, banned schoolchildren from wearing obviously religious attire.    (dpa)

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