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Ermm..... from BBC News today


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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 11:08 GMT

French headscarf ban recommended

Two Paris sisters have been among the high-profile expulsion cases Muslim girls in France could be barred from wearing headscarves in schools after an expert commission recommended a ban on "conspicuous" religious signs.
The official commission headed by former minister Bernard Stasi is publishing its findings on issues relating to religion and the state.

French President Jacques Chirac will then have to decide whether to follow the commission's recommendation.

The ban would include the Islamic veil and the Jewish skull-cap.

Mr Stasi consulted a wide cross-section of public opinion, including teachers, religious leaders, sociologists and politicians before handing in the report to the president on Thursday.

Medallions allowed

A report by France Info radio in Paris said the ban would outlaw the Jewish kippa, large crosses and the Islamic headscarf, which would be considered overt religious symbols.

Medallions and pendants which merely confirm the person's religious faith would be allowed, it said.

We cannot accept ostentatious signs of religious proselytism, whatever the religion

President Jacques Chirac
French public life has a strong secular tradition which has existed since the revolution, but the commission has now recommended that the plan be enshrined in law.

Mr Chirac has hinted that he could back a formal ban.

Last week he said France felt "in a certain way under attack as result of the display of ostentatious religious signs, which is totally contrary to its secular tradition".

He added: "We cannot accept ostentatious signs of religious proselytism, whatever the religion."


The issue has led to a number of celebrated cases where girls have been suspended or expelled for wearing headscarves to school.

Other schools do not act against pupils who come to class wearing headscarves.

France has the largest Muslim population in the European Union, with around five million people.

The BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says the Islamic headscarf has become the focal point of an agonised national debate in France.

It reflects many of the nation's unspoken fears about its failure to fully integrate its Muslim immigrants or to give them a purely French cultural identity, says our correspondent.

France's chief rabbi, Joseph Sitruk, has joined Christian churches in arguing against a ban.

"What an aberration it is to want to muzzle religion in the name of secularism," he said in a newspaper interview.

Some Muslims are also opposed to the wearing of headscarves, while others believe the debate has more to do with French concern over its growing Muslim population.

Two German states have begun moves to ban headscarves in schools, after a recent court ruling that current law meant women were free to wear them if they chose.

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Won't it be nice when they get this cloning thing sorted. We will all come out the same - boring boring boring people from a test tube.

Come to think of it - there was once a final solution to all these problems but they chose a worse solution than just banning things - but they started with a ban, then got to burning books then people. I know I lost relatives in that example of 'we are better than you, we know best'.

I suppose nuns and the Pope, if and when he visits France will be covered by this new law?

Vive la differance.


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The thlot pickens.

Italy have been experiencing the same thing - some father complained that he wanted the cross taken down from a classroom wall unless representations of other religions were on show too.

And dear Niko Sarko (I love this man), strangely enough, is against the school ban, because he says it will only make the Muslims more militant. I say strangely, because very recently he wanted Muslim women to have their ID photos taken without their scarves on.

I'm still (mostly) for the school ban. If I go into a church here I keep my shoes on, if I go into el-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem I take my shoes off. No problem. If they go to school in an Arab country they keep their veils on, if they go to school in secular France, they take their veils off. Seems perfectly logical to me
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According to a caller to LBC97.3 radio yesterday, a secular ruling in France has precluded anyone wearing any obvious symbol of their religion in state premises, or if they are employed by the state since 1905. This is simply being extended to schools. Personally I do not believe that schools should have to bend their rules regarding dress to suit all the religions that exist these days. In the UK the government seems to be on a mission to please everyone in this sense and one only has to look around at the kids on their way to school - they are a motley lot to say the least. I believe that if parents send their children to a school they should have to abide by the rules of that particular school or send the kids to a school that suits their own religion.
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