CAIRO: Pope Francis has urged France to respect the right of Muslim women to profess their faith and wear the hijab just like Christians are allowed to wear the cross.
“If a Muslim woman wishes to wear a veil, she must be able to do so. Similarly, if a Catholic wishes to wear a cross … People must be free to profess their faith at the heart of their own culture not merely at its margins,” Francis told the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, according to The Guardian.
France is home to a Muslim community of nearly six million, the largest in Europe.
French Muslims have been complaining of restrictions on performing their religious practices.
In 2004, France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places and schools.
France also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public in 2011.