World Bulletin / News Desk
A gym opened last month in Le Raincy, Paris has caused a stir in French society, with the local mayor already calling for its closure.
France hosts the biggest Muslim minority in Europe, with 5 million living within its borders. With municipal elections approaching, immigration issues look set to increase the popularity of the far-right.
Nadia el Gendouli, owner of the gym, told Reuters that the conservative local mayor, Eric Raoult, told her that he didn’t want veiled women in his town, as well as calling her a fundamentalist.
Although some women who use the gym still wear the headscarf while working out, some prefer to take it off in the building which is open for people of all races and creeds, except for men. There is also a prayer room in the back.
In a statement to Reuters the mayor claimed that it was the poor health and safety standards of the gym, not racism fuelling his opposition to it. He also said ‘Whether it's Jews, Catholics, Arabs, it's all the same. If it's not according to the law they'll be closed. Muslims need to know they have to respect the law.’
France is the only country in the EU that is officially and constitutionally secular, and has banned face veils in public and headscarves in schools.Last Mod: 04 Ekim 2013, 16:51