Following the recent remarks by French PM Manuel Valls on the need to ban headscarves in universities, the European Forum of Muslim Women is once again outraged and strongly condemns his institutionalized witch-hunt against Muslim women.

It is absurd for a minister to talk about legislating against the basic right to freedom of conscience and of the religion of these women, it only serves to further alienate and infantilize them.

The forum deplores and is concerned by the rise in populist speeches by French politicians, and we wonder if it is not simply a means to distract from real societal issues.

It is time for French politicians, and Mr Valls in particular, to start dealing with pressing issues of unemployment and social exclusion rather than open debates which have no reason to take place.