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Old 12-12-2003, 12:42 AM   #1
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should headscarf be banned in schools ?

i would be interesting to know views of people out here.

- AcrobatMan


French headscarf ban recommended


Thousands of Muslim schoolgirls in France wear headscarves
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 has released its findings on issues relating to religion and the state.

French President Jacques Chirac will announce next week whether he supports the commission's recommendation.

The ban would also include the Jewish skull-cap and large Christian crosses.

Discreet displays

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.

Secularism is the separation of church and state, but it is also the respect of differences

Bernard Stasi

Although the report was into the wider question of French secularism, debate on the issue has focused on the wearing of Islamic headscarves in schools.

The commission's recommendations would outlaw the Jewish kippa, large Christian crosses and the Islamic headscarf, which would be considered overt religious symbols.

"Discreet" medallions and pendants which merely confirm a person's religious faith would be allowed.

"Muslims must understand that secularism is a chance for Islam," Mr Stasi told a news conference on Thursday.

"Secularism is the separation of church and state, but it is also the respect of differences."

The commission's proposed law was intended so people of all religions could "live together in public places", he said.

Mr Stasi stressed that the commission's work did not target France's Muslim community but was aimed at giving all religions a more equal footing.


Public holidays

The report also recommends that Yom Kippur - the Jewish Day of Atonement - and Muslim Eid al-Kabir festival be celebrated in state schools.

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.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Wearing a headscarf should be looked at as a personal freedom, not as a sign of fundamentalism

Fatina Halawani, Jordan


Send us your comments
Mr Chirac has hinted that he could back a formal ban.

He said he would study the proposals, consider the opinions of "political parties, the religious authorities and the representatives of public opinion" and discuss them with the prime minister.

He will then announce his decision on 17 December.

"The objective is to guarantee freedom to every French citizen, with the only restriction that the common rules be respected," he said.

The proposals have prompted a mixed response.

Rector of the Great Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, said he would call on Muslims to respect any law, but he would ask for a grace period of several months "so that everyone can take stock of the fact that things have changed".

Moise Cohen, president of the Consistoire of Paris, which directs religious Jewish life, said he opposed a headscarf law because it could be viewed by Muslims as a discriminatory measure and could "exacerbate emotions".

Agonised debate

The proposals sparked a divided reaction from French anti-racism groups.

SOS-Racism said a new law would take the pressure off teachers, but the Movement Against Racism (MRAP) said that "one religion is clearly in the firing-line: Islam".

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

Other schools have not acted.

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.

She said 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.
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Old 12-12-2003, 01:18 AM   #2
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Stupid.
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Old 12-12-2003, 05:16 AM   #3
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This kind of thing breeds intolerance. Why not be accepting of all religions rather than seeing religious symbols as a call to arms? I work for the Toronto District School Board which is the country's largest & most diverse. I always wear a silver cross on a chain 24/ 7 and no-one has criticized this. The vice-principal at our school, a great lady I consider my mentor, is Jewish and celebrates the Jewish holidays etc. Eid (Muslim holiday) and Dwali (Hindu holiday) are also celebrated by staff/ students at our school. We have children who wear headscarves and turbans and the other children are so accustomed to it that no-one gives it a second thought. Public officials who try to sanitize Christmas, eradicate religious symbols etc only cause hard feelings unnecessarily, it promotes argument instead of acceptance and tolerance.
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Old 12-12-2003, 08:01 AM   #4
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Many Muslim women consider headscarves to be as essential as a top or a skirt and feel quite "naked" without one. It's unbelievable to me that the French people would be so callous about people's religious convictions. I also live in a town with a large Orthodox Jewish synagogue, and so most of their men have long beards and wear hats and prayer shawls all the time. Same thing. These symbols don't represent trying to force one's beliefs on others.
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Old 12-12-2003, 09:25 AM   #5
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These aren't just symbols, these are critical element s to these people's faiths. If a Muslim woman choses to wear a head scarf as an expression of her beliefs it si up to her and her alone. A lot of Muslim women as said above would feel absolutely naked and embarassed without it. I assume this law would also ban Tubans for Sikhs, which are kind of necessary as Orthodox Sikhs are Nazorites... aka they leave their hair uncut as sign of their relationship with God, hence the need for a turban in adult males. The Turban in this case was also adopted as a sign (among a few others like the steel braclets) to test the faith of Sikhs in a time of persecution. So trying to get them to get rid of it will not go over well. And there are other groups who will be affected by this.

It's not an issue here and Canada is a whole lot more multicultural than France is.
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Old 12-12-2003, 09:30 AM   #6
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You're right, pax, some Moslem women feel naked without their headscarves. This is a violation of human rights, IMO. I'd hate it if I were told I couldn't wear my St. Jude medal anywhere. This is a bunch of intolerant .
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Old 12-12-2003, 09:34 AM   #7
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In my never really all that humble opinion , ther are two ways to move toward facisim. One is to require religion. The other is to forbid it.



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Old 12-12-2003, 09:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Blacksword
which are kind of necessary as Orthodox Sikhs are Nazorites... aka they leave their hair uncut as sign of their relationship with God, hence the need for a turban in adult males. The Turban in this case was also adopted as a sign (among a few others like the steel braclets) to test the faith of Sikhs in a time of persecution. .

How about sword ? By their faith, sikhs are also instructed to keep a sword . What happens then ?
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Old 12-12-2003, 10:14 AM   #9
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This is just another step to try to contain religious (read: islamic) extremism, mostly by rightwing governments. Don't be fooled into thinking this is about religion in general, the talk about Christian crosses and Jewish kippa is just a cover-up. This is about a fear lots of Europeans seem to have for the islam and for muslim extremism.

They tried this in the Netherlands where a lot of people are concerned about integration, again mostly about the integration of muslims. Luckily they failed, because it's against our constitution.
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Old 12-12-2003, 12:55 PM   #10
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This is wrong on so many levels....this is all about ignorance and fear
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Old 12-12-2003, 01:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
"Secularism is the separation of church and state, but it is also the respect of differences."
If only we lived by these standards. Secularism goes too far; making sure no one is possibly offended by religious expression.

Let's pray France does the right thing on this one.
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Old 12-12-2003, 11:43 PM   #12
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What France is failing to understand is that these girls wearing their headscarves is not upsetting the separation of church and state by any means. These girls are not violating anyone else's religious rights, they're not forcing the Islam religion to anyone. It's their individual expression of their religion, and there's nothing wrong with it, and they should not have to remove their headscarves.

And DrTeeth's post about this being a fear in regards to Islam and stuff is sad but true-and that just makes it even worse. Why should these innocent girls remove their scarves because some people have this inane fear of Islam in general thanks to a few extremists? That's just incredibly unfair.

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Old 12-13-2003, 12:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by AcrobatMan



How about sword ? By their faith, sikhs are also instructed to keep a sword . What happens then ?
Is it required to be kept on their person? Does France forbid carrying weapons around? I'm not sure what other countries do, I'd hope most. As a religious symbol it is secondary to it's purpose as a potential weapon. Is this a double standard then? Perhaps it is. Laws which prohibit carrying arms, knives and other items which are considered dangerous are not based on religion but for safety of the public in general. If it conflicts with someone's beliefs well it has to be a little bit of too bad. In Australia for example no one in the general public is allowed to carry a gun, knife or sword of any description for whatever purpose. These laws weren't created in the interest of religious intolerance but for safety. The law cannot differentiate between a sword which represents the sikhs and one which is to be used for violence, so instead of excluding, it encompasses all. That includes those who have only religious intentions. It's an interesting devils advocate comparison but is different. It is impossible to cause harm with a turban or a headscarf as it is a sword.
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Old 12-13-2003, 03:34 AM   #14
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what about burqa - the black dress that covers everything ? should it be allowed in schools ? by the same logic as most of the people here, it should be allowed in government educational institutions.
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Old 12-13-2003, 08:49 AM   #15
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If it's a security issue they can have their finger prints on record as an alternative to photo ID. I'm sure your concern is with idenity fraud but if its somewhere you're known even full body covering can't hide your identity to people who know you. Though this is a fairly mute point as most women who wear the burqa wouldn't be allowed to go to school at least non-Muslim ones. In fact I've never seen a single woman in a burqa in my life, either in my home city or here at my university, and there's a large Muslim population here on campus.
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