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Burqa ban under discussion


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You want to leave your own country, and live in someone elses. you should be prepared to integrate completely if required, that should include language, religion etc etc.

Is this a windup?  Your comment will no doubt receive widespread acceptance in some of the less enlightened areas of the world such as Saudi, Afghanistan, Barking, and Texas.

I for one as an individual have no wish to conform to anyones ideal, and I am secure enough not to need anyone to have to conform to mine.

 

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[quote user="Dog"] There is only one thing for it burqa wearers must be heavily taxed and be chipped and tagged. I am going to start the Miss Burqa Universe a beauty competition for burqa wearers. All competitors will undergo full body scanning - airport style. [/quote]

I'm concerned about the amount and source of Peyote and Fabaceae in your diet, perhaps you might want to check the mescaline content is within acceptable limits.[:D]

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[quote user="velcorin"]

I'll play devil's advocate here, as I 100% agree with Swissie. I'm a politician with an agenda to obtain the 5.5million muslim votes. Day 1, I get a 75 year old grandmother, a Gallic muslim convert, to walk deliberately down the Champs Elysee wearing a burqa. The police arrest her. Charged. Court. Sentenced to 3 months. Anyone want to speculate on the media attention I'll get, and the votes I'll gain?

Still say it's a law to give the CRS a reason to wade into a demos for wearing balaclavas and scarves.

[/quote]

You would certainly gain a lot of votes in Turkey amongst the moderate muslims (i.e. those living in central / western areas or in large cities and towns - predominantly the better educated and more affluent).  As I mentioned already, the moderate muslims are horrified by the stealthy (and calculated) encroachment of fundamentalism and many are planning exit routes from Turkey if this pattern continues.  The pressure for the burqa etc is not coming from the mainstream muslims but from the hard core fundamentalists.  Is this really a group we want to encourage? Unfortunately, being predominantly from a UK background, the posters on this board are biased by their experience. (Including you, swissie, as you have spent a large part of your working career in the UK).  Muslims in the central and northern parts of the UK are largely those from the Pakistani region of Baltistan (the Mirpur area).  This is a very conservative region even by Pakistan's standards and has strong links with Al-Qaeda.  As a consequence, we tend to be exposed to the vocal outbursts and demands of very conservative / fundamental muslims rather than those who are more moderate in their views (and less vocal!).  We, thus, assume that the desire for the Burqa and widescale adoption of Shari'a law is a mainstream muslim view and that denying this 'right' would cause widespread offence.  It isn't and it wouldn't.

Mrs 51

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I live in a predominately Magrebi muslim suburb of Paris. The issue around the lunch table at the boule club is not that the men want women to burqas, but how Sarko chooses to spin this law. Or the issue is why the law at all. I have NEVER seen a burqa in Paris in 4 years, so I agree with them (anyone else seen one?). Even the Commission admitted that of the 1200 (yes 1200, less than the number of students in some Lycees) women who wore the burqa, 80% were white Gallic converts to the religion. What happens in other countries, be it the UK, Turkie, Belgium, is not relevant. Sarko is just handing a brilliant political hook for the fundamentalists to hang their hats on, and wind up the millions of unemployed Magrebis even further.

Now Sarko is a politician, so you know he's lying if his lips are moving, if he says it's anti-burqa, it's not. I'll assume it's anti-street demo legislation, dressed up, and sold as something else.

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Interestingly, the teachers at the French school were split into 2 clear groups- those who were strongly feminists, and felt they were truly protecting their students against oppression by male members and the Imams, and other things like female circumcision, arranged marriages, etc (and I did understand their concern and their point of view) - and those who were strongly anti arab, anti Muslim and actually openly racist. (avec ces 'bronzés -said the wife of one of the teachers who worked in ZUP school (poor estate) - pas la peine de se casser pour préparer les cours, ça sert à rien). Often it seems, the Principe de laicité is used by racists and the extreme right as a barely hidden mask for sheer racism.

It is perhaps the case that many British people living in rural France have no idea about the uphill struggle of Beur (North African) young people, even those 2nd, 3rd or more generation, in France. Their huge difficulty in accessing good education, and Further Ed, the almost impossibility in accessing the Grandes Ecoles, the Elite of police, legal, engineering, civil engineering, law, etc, 'unis'. And of course jobs, bank loans, accomodation, mortgages - a great song by Zebda, a Beur group from Toulouse 'ah non. ça va pas etre possible'.

A French Muslim friend of mine was unable to find a job after her IT Deug (2 year Degree) and the ANPE (Social assoc for unemployed) sent her to the UK with the Da Vinci programme. She is a very practising Muslim, but does not wear any religious signs, and was educated in a private Catholic school. She was amazed how well she was accepted in the UK, for her professionalim and attitude, irrespective of her religion, and irrespective of the fact she is a woman (a fact which still is a real hurdle in IT in France). After her 6 months work-experience, the Firm asked her to stay and she did, for 8 years. Bought a house and was very settled, climbing the ladder at work. She had to return to take care of her mother- and made a killing on the sale of the house. Back in Paris, she phone Estate agents - she has NO accent at all, and when she explained her job and situation, they were falling over themselves to find her flats to rent or buy - as soon as she gave her name - she found the flats had just been rented, just been sold! Her first week-end back she went out with friends and her sister to a Club in town- all bar her + sister got in. They were told they were 'unsuitable for the image of the Club' - they were dressed just like the other girls. ETC, ETC, ETC- perhaps some of you have NO idea about provocation and police behaviour, and daily rejection these young people have to live. So why bring this law for a tiny minority, for something that is NOT a problem- but which might well become one in the face of the problems above.

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[quote user="Quillan"]Yes but you are talking just about Muslims when in fact I can tell you from first hand experience that France is a very racist country and its not just Muslims, its anything other than white.[/quote]

So thats official is it? If I was of that opinion I would find it very difficult to spend any time here, but I do, as much as possible, and I do not find the French in general to be any more  racist than any other nationality.

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[quote user="NickP"]

[quote user="Quillan"]Yes but you are talking just about Muslims when in fact I can tell you from first hand experience that France is a very racist country and its not just Muslims, its anything other than white.[/quote]

So thats official is it? If I was of that opinion I would find it very difficult to spend any time here, but I do, as much as possible, and I do not find the French in general to be any more  racist than any other nationality.

[/quote]

Yes it is and I have visited and lived in a few other countries. I have a daughter of mixed race and she visits me regularly here in France and I have seen it first hand. I have also listened to people and sometimes what I hear them say makes me just walk away. Fortunately I have experienced this sort of thing before over the years so it does not effect me that much, I just consider them ignorant and stupid. Its also not always what they say, its their facial expression, attitude and body language. Perhaps because of my daughter I am more attuned to it than people such as yourself. [:D]

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I would not tolerate a student wearing a scarf on her head in school , because that is the law and I approve it.

( Just as I wouldn't accept a cross or a kippa , etc )

Schools are the last places where every child has a chance to be like any other child , and I approve the principe de laicité; that s part of our French constitution, our values.

Racism has nothing to do with the attitude of the teachers, in my schhool, I ve NEVER heard any racist comment, on the contrary.( and it is a big high school= 1300 students.)

England has such a different attitude, at second thought, now I think it's a matter of culture, and maybe you have to be French to understand how we feel about the values of the Republic.

To me it means a lot.

Our head of state is separated from religion, not in England.

Laicité is a very French thing I assume .

 

 

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And I do understand how you feel, and I respect that- although I still feel that the British way of accepting that integration does not require immigrants to become more like us than  us (yes I AM British). But I do, as said in my previous post, understand the values of the Principe de laicité. You have not replied about how such a big number of State funded Catholic and Jewish schools do fit with said principle. Either you have a secular system, or you do NOT. Amazing though that Catholic schools are now becoming the refuge of Muslim kids!

Would you really have refused a wonderful, hard-working, polite, friendly, helpful, smiling child arriving on an exchange with a bright coloured scarf though? For us, her teachers, it would have been unimaginable to have to leave her behind - one of our best students- and for the teachers to have lied to us like that. What if the introduction letters had not had a photo, and we would have turned up on the Monday morning? We ask our students to work hard, take part, be helpful and cooperate - whether they wear a scarf or not is irrelevant. And yes, you are right the French and British history and culture, and so may factors, make the situation very different in both countries. But Quillan is so right, France is a much less tolerant country than the UK- and the Laicité is just too often a very thin veil (!) for plain racism, and so is this old chestnut 'national identity. A great film to watch, Kassowitz's 'La Haine' if you want to see what it is like in the out of town Cités/estates. BTW it is the same in Switzerland, my native country- and even much worse. The whole banning the burqua initially came from here- after the law against Minarets was passed recently. Fear and phobia of the unknown - vitriolic hatred often in my village and in rural areas, where they have never seen a Muslim, never mind a Minaret or a Burqa.

It would be interesting how you would feel Frenchie if you spent time teaching in a multicultural school in Leicester, as I did (4 different schools). I taught with many French native teachers during my career - and all agreed that British tolerance brings much better results and a much better atmosphere- and allows students, girls in particular, to achieve their potential better, as they do not feel they and their culture/religion are not respected and/or rejected. I would totally approve the banning of the burqa is the scarf was allowed - but that has been banned already. Most here have said that a scarf is NOT a religious symbol (the Koran in fairly clear on that) but a cultural one- so why ban it. Laicité is about religion not customs/culture, is it not?

Again, the crux of the matter is : improve or inflame an already very difficult and tense situation. Appeasement or war. The Nazis chose war- but I am not sure it was the best way to solve their problems. A friend of the burqa I AM NOT. But most girls I've known to wear a scarf did so out of choice, not parental dictate, though I do not refute that some are forced to. Catholic kids are forced to go to Mass and take communion- and in some areas are still expected to marry another Catholic- still sort of arranged.

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I am very tired now so I can't develop my answer ( maybe I will tomorrow, if I have some time left in a hectic day!!) .

Just a few elements.

Religious schools are private  schools, most of their funds come from the parents of the children who attend them. They are not state schools, they can be religious.

Swissie, I was born in a catholic family, I had the chance to live in a nice house, but there was a huge cité HLM ( estates) , a really difficult one, not far from home, and I went to the local schools . My parents were attached to l'école de la République.

Most of my friends were muslims, my family had no problem with that.

We visited each others' homes, learned about different customs and ways of life.

I lived in Jordan - Amman - for 6 months, I know Tunisia quite well, this just to explain that I don't wear blinkers, and there are many aspects of  muslim tradition that I ve shared and  enjoyed.

But to me our French institutions must remain laiques, NO religion should enter them whatsoever. 

And I'm sorry, but yes, I would have refused the young girl wearing ascarf, because that is against the law here , and I can't see why I would make a difference for her, and refuse the scarf to our students. ( though we ve never had the problem in my school. We have  quite a few muslims, but they know the law and accept it .) We are not rejecting their culture, not at all, just refusing religious signs; which is different from culture.

At the last PTA meeting, a muslim mum brought some north African cakes for the teachers, we all found that very nice.

 

So they re all just students to us.

 

 

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There is no requirement for muslim girls to wear a hijab until they reach the age of 13.  So there is no reason why the wearing of a scarf should be an issue before that age.  After 13, I see no reason why the hijab shouldn't be allowed.  By the time they reach 13, children know each other as simply another kid in the class rather than as representative of a 'strange religious faith' - which is surely the point of eliminating potential divisive religious beliefs from the classroom?

From a practical point of view how do you know if a child wearing a burqa has understood if you can't see their face?  How does a child in a burqa participate in sports?  How do you know that you are not handing over a child to a stranger if that stranger's face is hidden by a burqa?

Mrs R51

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So ban the burqa, but allow the hijab. It is clear that it is a CULTURAL thing for SOME muslims- and not religious (nothing in the Koran requires it). What would you have done if kids from Australia had come on an exchange, and 2 of them were Maoris wearing traditional Maoris tattoos? Of if a kid wears dreadlocks. Or if Chines kids came for gymnasitics and wore the yin/yang symbol - an important Taoist/Buddist symbol? And what if you had a student group from Israel, visiting your school? As a teacher, I could not possibly arrange an exchange with a French school, where any child from an ethnic background who shows any signs of that difference - and I think a scarf is NOT a religious, but a cultural symbol, would be barred. I could NOT discriminate against some students, often my BEST and most hard-working students.

I must do some reading again - but I am pretty sure that the majority of Catholic private schools are mostly state funded - and to me that just does not square up to the Principe de laicité.  You can't have one rule for the immigrants and the majority, and another for Catholics- if you want a secular state. In the UK of course, Church and State are still closely linked (Prince Charles has already said he would not be happy to be Head of the Anglican Church in a multicultural Britain - which is probably why his mother has not abdicated, as it knows it would cause a crisis and perhaps change the system for ever [GOOD, I say]) - and the Laws of religious tolerance mean that we have a very different attitude. After the wars of religion in both our countries in the 16th and 17th Century - GB decide to reunite its people with tolerance, whereas FRance decided to solve the problems by becoming secular. Personally I wish we could have the best of both, secularity and tolerance.

Yet again - that is not the issue.                Improve relations          or             inflame them?

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[quote user="Swissie"]

Yet again - that is not the issue.                Improve relations          or             inflame them?

[/quote]

I think I already replied to that.  Most moderate muslims I have spoken to (from a number of nationalities) feel the current move towards fundamentalism and adoption of the Burqa is both inflammatory and divisive - particular in modern western secular communities.  The majority agree with the ban.  Sadly their voice is often drowned out by the extreme minority.

Mrs 51

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[quote user="Swissie"] After the wars of religion in both our countries in the 16th and 17th Century - GB decide to reunite its people with tolerance, whereas FRance decided to solve the problems by becoming secular. Personally I wish we could have the best of both, secularity and tolerance.[/quote]

The Bill of Rights in England (1689) confirmed the Anglican Church as the State Church and did nothing for religious tolerance as the Bill still ensures that the heir to the throne of the UK is a Protestant and that remains in effect today.  After the Bill Catholics and Non-Conformists continued to be discriminated against in the UK, the major trading influence in the UK, East India Company doing so openly until the 19th century.  This also held good for various offices of State, even Tony Blair felt unable to become a Catholic whilst still the PM.

France continued to be an established Catholic State until the Church and State were disestablished in 1905.  The Revolution overturned the previous French legal and state sytem of discrimination against religious minorites and Protestantes were allowed their estates back, were allowed to worship openly and were also allowed to serve in state organisations like the army and the French administrations.  Although the 'supremacy' of the Catholic Church was confirmed by Napoleon in the Concorde of 1810, other religions - the Eglise Reformee and Jews - had their rights of worship fixed in French law.

France was never a secular state until 1905 and arguably, still truly isn't because of the influence of the Catholic Church - remember the way that Sarkosy snuggled up to the Church after he was elected President?.

 

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[quote user="NickP"]

[quote user="Quillan"]Yes but you are talking just about Muslims when in fact I can tell you from first hand experience that France is a very racist country and its not just Muslims, its anything other than white.[/quote]

So thats official is it? If I was of that opinion I would find it very difficult to spend any time here, but I do, as much as possible, and I do not find the French in general to be any more  racist than any other nationality.

[/quote]

Quillan is, IMHO, quite correct.

I work for a French Company, presently in the Middle East, and with few exceptions, the French staff are more racist than any of the British staff that I have previously worked with. Sometimes its more overt than others but the attitude is always there. It seems to get more prevalent the higher up the company ladder you go.

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As someone said, you get racism in all nations. But it seems to me the french are more outspoken about their attitudes. Unlike british who seem to fall over themselves to be PC.

Just look at the support for thefrench  FN party, compared with the National Front in the UK.

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powerdesal wrote:

"Quillan is, IMHO, quite correct. I work for a French Company, presently in the Middle East, and with few exceptions, the French staff are more racist than any of the British staff that I have previously worked with. Sometimes its more overt than others but the attitude is always there. It seems to get more prevalent the higher up the company ladder you go."

I assumed that Quillan was talking about the French in France as being racist. The situation you describe is about ex-pats, and I think that it is universally acknowledged that ex-pats, especially those at the middle management level of any nationality working abroad tend to look down on the locals,  unfortunately this is racism. So I must agree with your comments, but in contrast to Quillan's statement I repeat; that personally I don't find the French any more racist than any other nationality.

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[quote user="Quillan"]

I think you must lead quite a sheltered existence when you visit France then. [;-)]

[/quote]

You can think what you like mate, it doesn't mean you are correct. I have worked in France; I have many friends in France and I spend time in many different areas of France. The French that I know and have been introduced to over the past thirty years are no more racist than other people, some are; but most are not. The one common denominator among the French is their passion for there own culture, maybe you interpret that as racism.

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[quote user="NickP"][quote user="Quillan"]

I think you must lead quite a sheltered existence when you visit France then. [;-)]

[/quote]

You can think what you like mate, it doesn't mean you are correct. I have worked in France; I have many friends in France and I spend time in many different areas of France. The French that I know and have been introduced to over the past thirty years are no more racist than other people, some are; but most are not. The one common denominator among the French is their passion for there own culture, maybe you interpret that as racism.

[/quote]

Being introduced to somebody does not mean you know what they think and no they probably wouldn't make a racist comment in front of you. Yes the French are passionate about their culture but that does not mean they are or are not racist, they are, as you pointed out, two different things and should not be confused. I do find that people from the north of France to be less racist but as I said I base my comment on personal experience at first hand. Likewise I have the benefit of listening in to conversations without actually taking part (French guests talking at breakfast or dinner plus village fete, boule club etc) and have been quite shocked at times at the comments made probably because I thought in the past that the French were not racist well not as much as people in the UK. Perhaps we move in different social class's but I can only speak of what I have found. Just because you have not heard a racists comment does not mean people don't make them or your correct either.

As and example, in our small village of just under 200 people we have another B&B run by a Dutch (none practising) Muslim chap and his wife. Twice now he has had objects thrown through his window accompanied by racist comments. The first time he called the Gendarmes from our nearest town, they came, shrugged their shoulders and went, shortly after he had the second object thrown through his window just missing his wife. A local person, he didn't tell me who it was, said that it could happen again and perhaps he might consider moving (and no he was not interested in buying his house).

We have a couple of Vietnamese chaps play at our boule club, they play because they are rather good but nobody talks to them otherwise and I often hear racist comments made about them when their backs are turned.

At local rugby matches (and even when  visiting USAP) if the opposite team has coloured players the supporters often shout racist insults at them.

We sometimes have weekend guests from Toulouse and they quite often make racists comments about the Algerians and Muslims living there.

Anyway perhaps its best to leave it at that as we clearly disagree about this subject.

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I'd be very rich if I got a few Euros every time somebody round here (both France and Switzerland - we live right on the border)

 'd'toutes façons, j'peux pas blairer les bougnouls'.

Makes me wince every time in horror. Strange thing is, there are NONE around here.

It is possible to be truly integrated AND be different.

It is possible to be really proud of your national identity WITHOUT being racist  (Nazis and fascists were really proud of their national identity, of course).

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[quote user="Quillan"][quote user="NickP"][quote user="Quillan"]

 

[/quote]

[/quote]

 I do find that people from the north of France to be less racist but as I said I base my comment on personal experience at first hand. [/quote]

If you are including the Nord Pas de Calais and La Somme then I am sorry to dissapoint you but we are heaving with em, the National Front took 20% of the vote.

Of course not everybody is and I do find that education, travel and exposure to other cultures broadens peoples minds and horizons but overt racism is the norm and accepted as such around me.

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It does seem strange that the less educated or travelled people are, and the less real contact people have had with foreigners/immigrants  - the more racist, intolerant or just plain frightened of 'differences' they are. Blame the Press and TV?? I was very young when I first experienced racism, in the form of other local childrens' behaviour towards recently arrived Italians, first the men alone, then their wives and families - and also towards visiting Romanies and Hungarian families in 1956 escaping their country. It was abhorrent to me as a young child, as it is till now.

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