Europe

Lawyers training school in Paris accused of Islamophobia

Student lawyer claimed she was forced to remove her headscarf, threatened with expulsion from oath ceremony

Shweta Desai   | 08.01.2022
Lawyers training school in Paris accused of Islamophobia

PARIS 

A young Muslim student accused France’s foremost legal institution of Islamophobia after being threatened with expulsion from an oath ceremony for wearing a headscarf.  

Graduating lawyer Sara, who only revealed her first name, told Revolution Permanente, a far-left digital news site, that she was singled out for wearing a headscarf during a ceremony Thursday at the Palais des Congres in Paris.

Four staff members of the l'Ecole de Formation des Barreaux (EFB), a professional training school for lawyers, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Paris Court of Appeal, forced her to remove her head covering.

“You must take off your headscarf. If you don't remove it, you walk out of the room and you can't take the oath,” a school administrator demanded, she said. 

She said the incident made her feel threatened and humiliated after being yelled at in front of other students and left her with no other choice.

According to Sara, a magistrate accompanied her at the back of the auditorium to make sure she removed the headscarf.

She was told not to wear a headscarf if she aspired to be a professional lawyer.

The president of the Paris bar and distinguished lawyer Richard Malka was a guest speaker at the small oath-taking ceremony, a precursor to the main oath before becoming a lawyer.

Malka, who famously fought racism charges against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing Prophet Mohammad’s caricatures, gave a speech on upholding the freedom of speech.

“Half an hour before the speech, I was asked to take off my headscarf. I found that completely hypocritical,” said Sara.

Another student named Romane, who witnessed the incident, denounced the racist legal system that discriminates against minorities.

“After a young woman was publicly humiliated and exposed, R. Malka made a speech saying the only place where we have absolute freedom of expression is in the courts,” Romane said on Twitter.


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