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French Senate debates Muslim headscarf bill

PARIS – The French Senate is debating a bill that would require Muslim mothers who wear headscarves to remove them on school outings.

The bill under consideration on Monday comes amid a weeks-long uproar over French secularism and headscarves at the center of the debate.

The thorny topic moved into the headlines in mid-October after a far-right National Rally representative at a regional council demanded that a Muslim woman in the chamber remove her headscarf, causing a scandal.

The measure under debate was introduced by the mainstream right months earlier.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told Senators any law forbidding head coverings on school outings would be "counter-productive." A 2005 law banned students from wearing headscarves in classrooms.

The bill has little chance of passing in the lower house and becoming law.