France’s latest legislative move to ban the wearing of hijab in public by Muslim girls under the age of 18 has sparked fierce condemnation on social media platforms with the widespread use of the hashtag #HandsOffMyHijab.

Iran PressEurope: The French Senate’s move against the hijab came earlier this week as part of a persisting push by Paris to impose a so-called “anti-separatism” law that purportedly aims to reinforce the country’s secular system, PressTV reported.

The move is seen as yet another Islamophobic scheme to target the nation’s minority Muslim population.

Debating the controversial legislation on March 30, French senators approved an amendment to the bill on Wednesday, calling for what they claim as “prohibition in the public space of any conspicuous religious sign by minors and of any dress or clothing which would signify inferiority of women over men.”

However, the backlash against the anti-Islam amendment was instantaneous, with many critics saying in the past week that the proposed legislation amounted to a “law against Islam.”

The controversy further drew the attention of several high-profile figures, including American Olympics woman athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad, who shared a post on Instagram, suggesting that the French Senate's amendment showed that “Islamophobia is deepening in France.”

“This is what happens when you normalize anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim hate speech, bias, discrimination, and hate crimes – Islamophobia wrote into law,” she added.

Founder of Muslim Women’s Day and the Muslim Girl website, Amani al-Khatahtbeh, also reacted against the controversial move, tweeting, “No government should regulate how a woman can dress, whether to keep it on or take it off,” referring to the wearing of the hijab.

France’s lower chamber National Assembly, which is dominated by President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist La République En Marche (LREM) party, voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill on February 16 before it was passed on to the conservative-led Senate.

Last November, a US-based rights group was among many institutions slamming the French president for issuing an ultimatum at the time to Muslim leaders in France to proclaim that Islam is an “apolitical religion.”

"President Macron must reverse course before his nation returns to the colonial racism and religious bigotry that haunted so many European nations for centuries,” said Nihad Awad, the executive director of Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in a statement.

CAIR, the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the US, also condemned Macron’s ultimatum, insisting that "the French government has no right to tell Muslims or any other religious minority how to interpret their own faith."

Meanwhile, Amnesty International last month also warned that the proposed bill posed a “serious attack on rights and freedoms in France,” demanding that “many problematic provisions” of the law be scrapped or amended.

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