They have drawn support from social media influencers, a US lawmaker and Ibtihaj Muhammad; the first American woman to wear a hijab while competing in the Olympics, among others.
“[The politicians] want our emancipation, they want to save us from this imaginary oppression, but it is they who are oppressing us;” said medical student Mona el Mashouly, 25, in her home city of Strasbourg.
The anti-separatism bill of President Emmanuel Macron’s government cracks down on forced marriages and virginity tests, and includes stricter surveillance of religious associations.
It initially made no mention of preventing minors from wearing the hijab in public.
The conservative-dominated Senate added the amendment, as well as two more that would prevent mothers from wearing a hijab; when accompanying children on school trips and ban the full-body burkini swimsuit.
A joint committee from parliament’s two chambers will debate the amendments and they may yet be scratched from the bill.
But for 22-year-old Hiba Latreche, the damage is done.
“[It is] symptomatic of the constant policing of women’s bodies, choices and beliefs that we have in France;” she said, “as well as the instrumentalisation of Muslim women.”