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2015-03-27 digital edition

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March 27, 2015  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Toulouse rabbi told to remove kippah at voting place

(JTA) – The chief rabbi of Toulouse filed a complaint with police for discrimination after an election inspector demanded he remove his kippah at the ballot.

Rabbi Avraham Weill filed the complaint on March 26 in connection with an incident that occurred four days earlier, the France 3 television channel reported. When Weill entered the Ecole du Nord school in Toulouse to vote in the first round of France’s regional elections, a volunteer inspector affiliated with the Community Party told him he needed to remove his kippah, citing the need to uphold “the [voting] station’s neutrality.”

Rabbi Weill was allowed to vote at the insistence of other inspectors who intervened after Weill protested the Communist delegate’s decision, which Weill deemed discriminatory. The chairwoman of the voting station, who has the authority to overrule other inspectors, was absent when Weill came to vote, the report said.

The local branch of the Communist Party said in a statement that “far from an altercation or incident, this is a case of incorrect interpretation of the law” on voting, the television channel reported.

Rabbi Weill said he felt humiliated in front of his 4-year-old son, whom he brought with him to the voting station.

France’s law forbids voters to bring political propaganda to the voting stations, but does not forbid religious attire or signs.

France has robust legislation separating religion and state, a concept known in French as Laicite.

Rabbi Weill said he reminded the election inspector that Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve had not asked him to remove his kippah on March 19, when he attended the third annual commemoration for the four victims of an Islamist who in 2012 killed four Jews at a Jewish school in Toulouse.

During the ceremony, Rabbi Weill was among the cosignatories of a document advocating tolerance, titled "Chart of Laicite."


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