Julien Odoul, a member of France’s National Rally (RN) is at the center of a controversy after asking a Muslim woman to remove her viel at a plenary meeting of the Regional Council of Burgundy Franche Comte on Friday, October 11.
The Muslim woman was accompanying her son and his class on a school trip to explore the mission of the “democratic assembly.”
Odoul and his colleagues asked Marie Guite Dufay, the President of the Regional Council, to have the woman either remove her hijab or leave the meeting.
Dufay, however, replied that she can only intervene when someone exhibits disruptive or offensive behavior, reported Le Bien Public.
“This is not the case. So there is no reason for this person to leave,” she said.
She described the RN’s move as a “surge of hatred” and “unworthy of elected officials of the Republic.”
The Muslim woman left the room with her son after the argument. Photos of the boy crying after the attack on his mother went viral on social media.
Dufay said that she spoke with the Muslim woman to express support. Dufay plans to visit the boy’s school on Tuesday, October 15 to meet the children, their teachers, and companions.
It was not enough for Odoul to attack the Muslim woman in the meeting. The elected official took to his Twitter to justify his action.
The RN member, however, received strong condemnation from public figures and officials.
“It is by humiliating mothers publicly in front of their children that we create communitarianism,” said Marlene Schiappa, a French politician and Secretary of Equality between women and men.
Sophie Montel, former member of the European Parliament, also denounced the RN’s action, emphasizing that it is “so disgusting” to attack a woman in front of children.