world

Muslims worry about broader France headscarf ban

36 Comments
By JAMEY KEATEN

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

36 Comments
Login to comment

I don't really agree with the French position on headscarves. They want people to identify with being French, rather than being whatever else you are ... I can understand that to an extent, but there has to be a balance. Enforced egalite isn't equality. It's just intrusive. There has to be some place for private beliefs or styles, I think, to the extent that it is possible in a particular position. Head coverings, at least minimal ones, shouldn't be this much of a problem.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

"When in Rome, Do as the Romans." While a tourist should be free to follow his/her own customs, if a person takes up residence or citizenship in another country with a different culture, it's incredibly unreasonable to impose one's own culture on the host culture. Of course, a person should also be free to practice their own cultural peculiarities so long as that does not infringe on the rights of others, but that person should also take steps to assimilate into the host culture. You can't have your cake and eat it, too. The French culture, by law, requires the face to be exposed, as a security/identity issue. That's the law of the French. Assimilate.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@Surf O'Holic These people are French citizens, most of them born and raised in France.Their religion is not a nationality.French culture is historically catholic.The laws on the scarves are all recent laws, the people have not been consulted.It is just since the french revolution and May 68 that France has been on crusade against Catholicism and now Islam.People should be free to practice their religion like in UK , US or Japan.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

afroengineer, there is no law on scarves, but laws prohibiting ANY prominent religious symbols in schools and for state employees, it's not limited to Muslims. France is based on the separation of the State and the Churches, deal with it.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@Eppee

I don't live in France thus I don't need to deal with it.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

French laws are non-discriminatory and make sense. For example, suppose I create a religion that requires me to always carry a sword. If you say to me that I can't carry the sword, but someone else can wear a headscarf, you are not only infringing on my religious freedom but you are also discriminating against my religion. It's better to treat all religions equally when it comes to symbolism, dress codes etc.

Remember: all religions are creations of the human mind. No religion can claim any more validity than any other, no matter when it was made up or however many adherents it claims.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I wonder if I can start a religion in which the wearing of a tie is obligatory? Maybe the French will then ban the wearing of ties? I like these French laws more and more.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

People who believe they are somehow affirming their religious faith by donning distinctive headgear or some other costume outside of a church, mosque or synagogue (to name three) have a rather superficial understanding of what that "faith" is supposed to entail. I have the feeling that a lot of them would not be so compelled to do so except that they feel coerced by the tyranny of the majority.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I'm fed up of the use of the word 'Islamophobia'. As many have pointed out, it carries overtones of racism. Islam is a set of beliefs or a faith, not a race, and as such it is open to criticism, ridicule or even dislike. @Afroengineer I agree that people should be free to practice their religion but if we look at your example of the UK, an established church leads to nonsense like unelected clergymen in the House of Lords and a law ( under review ) which bans royals from marrying Catholics. In the US, there are many constantly trying to blur the boundaries of church and state and we see the astonishing spectacle of presidential candidates being asked about their stance on evolution. For some, France may seem extreme with these prohibitions, but overall I applaud its attempts to keep church and state separate. A secular state is the best guarantee of toleration.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Sorry afroengineer, the "deal with it" was not particularly directed at you but was more of a generality toward people going to a state job interview with a religious costume and not understanding the concept of "secular state".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

“Unfortunately, Muslims have the impression today that secularism is being shaped based on Muslim practices, and that’s worrisome,” he said in an interview. “Everybody always talks about secularism, how it’s not just about Muslims.

Because Islam has never had a reformation. There has never been a properly secular Muslim society, as seen initially by rules like unequal taxation and more recently by rules limiting freedom of speech.

But just because Islam has a celebrated tradition of quelling free speech and diversity of opinion, it's no reason for France to continue down this road. If someone wants to go around dressed in a tablecloth, that's their business.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@afroengineer,

" These people are French citizens, most of them born and raised in France.Their religion is not a nationality.French culture is historically catholic."

Mixed bag of facts here: SOME of these people are French citizens, SOME born and raised in France, but due to self-imposed segregation have chosen not to assimilate into the " historically catholic" French culture, but rather have chosen to impose their religious culture. That's ridiculous and absurd.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To all those who are telling about separation of state and church, how a piece of clothes on the head can threaten the secularism of France?There is no law against scarves, yeah right but that all started because 2 schoolgirls refused to remove their scarves at school and then it was like the Republic was in danger and a law was passed quickly.The Muslims of France reacted maturely and they accepted that law.Did we see any display of anger of the French Muslims?No.Then we had a law on the face covering veil though it was only wear by less than 200 hundred in a Muslim population of 6 millions but yet the Muslims accepted it.Catholicism in France has been also attacked, with provocative acts from Femen and other so called satirists , the Catholics of France also didn't react at all.Islam and Catholicism are not threatening the secular nature of the actual republic at all.If you guys are really interested into this, you should not based your analysis on this article alone but in the long history of the recent attacks on the rights of Catholics and Muslims in France.How wearing a cross or headscarf can threaten the republic?I hope for sincere answers and that no one will tell me that it starts with headscarves and cross and that we will have sharia and inquisition back in France.

@Scrote,

by comparing a piece of cloth to a weapon, your comment doesn't make any sense.Come with something else.

@Jimizo,

thanks for your comment, what i meant was that wearing a cross , a kippah or headscarf is completely legal in the US and in the UK without threatening the secularism of those countries.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

afroengineer.

Reread that law, it is not just aimed aimed at muslims as it also forbids christians from wearing a cross, from people wearing a skull-cap, etc.

In short religious signs are not to be worn publicly, plus hiding once face is illegal now since 9/11. Co-incidence?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There is no law against scarves, yeah right but that all started because 2 schoolgirls refused to remove their scarves at school and then it was like the Republic was in danger and a law was passed quickly.

France has had laity laws for hundreds of years. There were no laws against scarves because scarves were not religious accoutrements until recently. I'm anti-hijab-ban, but let's get the history right.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"To all those who are telling about separation of state and church, how a piece of clothes on the head can threaten the secularism of France?"

It's a challenge to the very foundation of the core secular principles set out by the law Loi du 9 décembre 1905 by the rise of "foreign" religions (yes, Islam) that are by-products of mid 20th century immigration and France's colonial past.

I live in France and I realize that this law despite banning all symbols was intended for the muslim population. And I do not care one bit - as an outsider myself, the rule of thumb for me has always been if you're not happy then you're welcome move....

I applaud France for their secular stand, in fact I'll applaud anyone making a stand against other people that make decisions based on "faith".

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"There were no laws against scarves because scarves were not religious accoutrements until recently. I'm anti-hijab-ban, but let's get the history right."

And there is no "headscarf ban" either, let's get that right. That is a misconception that has constantly been peddled by the English-speaking media.

The law concerns any and all visible religious symbols and/or garments.

Muslims should chill out for a change and maybe invent a magic undies garment as worn by Mormons to slip under the radar. It's not as if French Muslims are out on the streets protesting about the chronic global Muslim on Muslim blood-letting now is it?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Nessie

France has had laity laws for hundreds of years.

I said since the french revolution, i didn't say that France secularism started yesterday.People here have a bad habit to distort or misread others comment.

There were no laws against scarves because scarves were not religious accoutrements until recently.

I'm afraid to misunderstand, are you telling me that the hijab appears recently?You do know that Islam was born in the 7th century right?

As for the others, discussing with you will serve no purpose because you are already impartial by your hatred towards religious people. I don't need to share the belief of these people to find that the government has no business telling people how they should dress or what kind of hat or what kind of necklace they should wear.

I know a woman who is under cancer treatment and is wearing a headscarf because she is bald, would you ask her during a job interview why she is wearing this?Or that she should remove it?Think about it sincerely and you will see why it is just wrong to judge people by the way they are dressed.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@IT's Me and the one who liked his comment,

There is no edit comment option here and I don't work at JT, so there is no way for me to edit my post. Now read again if I did mention that it is against Muslims ONLY.You people should be honest to yourselves and accept an argument or just try to refute it with arguments.

Fortunately everybody will be able to see that I clearly mention in my comment about Catholics as well.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I clearly mention in my comment about Catholics as well.

Why "Catholics"? How about Protestants, Anglican, Orthodox Christians, Shinto, Buddhism, Hindi, etc.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Also Afro,

The law was not written because of two school girls as you say you have your facts slightly wrong. They purposefully went to school with their head paraphernalia on after it was signed into law to make a point. It didn't work out too well for them either.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I am with Madverts.

The women opposing the law are minute when compared to the whole Muslim population in France who are happy to go along with it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Madverts,

The law was not written because of two school girls as you say you have your facts slightly wrong.

Nope, it was before.

I remember about it like it was yesterday.

In case you accept arguments from Wiki :

C'est au nom de ces principes que des élèves portant le hijab et refusant de l'ôter sont exclues de leur établissement. Cette expulsion a lieu devant un Conseil de discipline de l'établissement et certains recours sont allés jusqu'au Conseil d'État.

The two girls got kicked out first then they protested and took the matter to the "Conseil d'Etat" (State Council?) then we got the Stasi commission and the law.

You are the one who got your facts wrong.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@Madverts.

Sorry I forgot to paste the wiki link and sorry also I didn't see the details on the matter in the english page so I send you the french link.I would like to translate it to you if you are interested but now I can but anyway we have google translate for something :)

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loi_fran%C3%A7aise_sur_les_signes_religieux_dansles%C3%A9coles_publiques#Le_rapport_Stasi

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Madverts,

i apologize for my bad wording, what i meant is that France has turned anti Church since the French Revolution because the king who was supported by the church was seen as well as the church as oppressors.The Church lost its influence after the french revolution and this is what i wanted to point out.You can dig about France history yourself to know more about it.It just didn't start with the law of 1905.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No, it became law in 1905 since it is the law we're discussing here I thought it pertinent.

I'm not wrong about your facts since the debate about this law commenced in the higher echelons (covered much later by the Stasi commission) in the 1980's, through the 1990's and was signed into law by Jacques Chirac.

What a lot of people lose sight of is that this ban only applies to public institutions. It isn't like they can't walk in the street wearing them if they want. It is the constitution of the land in France, further modification to laws have been discussed and deemed necessary as more religious activists from a growing Muslim population try to impose their beliefs on a system who's fundamental foundations lie in laicism.

Like I said, certain Muslim's wish to make an issue here in a country that has it's roots as you say in laicism from hundreds of years before, yet I've not heard one peep about the global carnage caused by fellow believers.

Frankly, for all their annoying arrogance and misguided patriotism as a whole (I can say that holding a French passport and 15 years hard time in country), the French are in this instance leading the charge of secular enlightenment in removing the foolishness of faith-based decisions or policy-making.

Heaven-forbid we let it get to the sorry state of my British motherland next door. Let's be fair here, they couldn't even export that hook-handed POS that was preaching for terrorists attacks within the UK after 10 years legal proceedings and gazzillions of pounds Stirling when the French would have simply put him on a plane....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"The two girls got kicked out first then they protested and took the matter to the "Conseil d'Etat" (State Council?) then we got the Stasi commission and the law."

Oh, and surely the fact that they were actually expelled denotes that the establishment had already made their stand on religious symbols before the activists kicked off? It's clear that aside from the 1980's political debate on the subject, as you mentioned earlier citing the revolution as a starting point for French secularism, that policy was no religious symbols.

Which bit do you want translating?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Madverts,

So my facts are not wrong right?

I really don't understand what point you are trying to make now. If it is about the facts on France history I explained it to you and seems that we agree(?) but if that historical fact is so dear to you, you should have read my answer with objectivity and see that it was an answer to the one who made the comment saying that French had a tradition of secularism which was false because France has a catholic history and tradition.

And now I see that you are talking about Muslims taking over the country and wanting to threaten the laity of France (I know I exaggerate your words but still :) ).I wonder how you could take this from a piece of clothes on the head of few women.

My main point was that by being oversecular France is clearly infringing the freedom of religion of its citizen.France is telling people what necklace, hat or scarf they should or should not wear.Separation of church and state means that the church should not have control over the government and that the government should not infringe the right of the church or whatever religion it is.But clearly France is turning highly anti-religion, it is not laity anymore it is persecution of people of faith.

France has 6 millions Muslims if they wanted to change the anything in how France is now , surely everyone would have noticed.

Which bit do you want translating?

If you speak french then no need to translate, I speak french and I just wanted you to read it.Thanks for offering though.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Oh, I'm not arguing with you just discussion :)

I have to admit that I can't believe the expulsion was back in '89, time sure flies - so I guess I do actually owe you an apology Afro, I could have sworn they kicked up their activist stink. The historical point I'm making after is that the debate for the law was already well under way, not simply drafted because of the two activist girls decided to challenge the fundamentals of the Third Republic.

".But clearly France is turning highly anti-religion, it is not laity anymore it is persecution of people of faith."

Could you perhaps back up this pretty charged accusation with something? At least give me some indication of how you got to this seemingly paranoid notion?

"The Republic neither recognizes, nor salaries, nor subsidizes any religion" as per the French Constitution of 1958 states. The official line, the one that I stand behind 100%, is that the principle of separation of church and state should not be allowed to be challenged by citizens wishing to impose their faith-based beliefs on the rest of us. France has if you will moved on from the nonsense of organised religions.

I'm guessing you're religious, possibly Muslim, so I might add that I in no way wish to offend you with my point of view, even if it is the will of the vast majority of the the nation. I'm presuming that's why you don't address my other comments, notably the dire need for Muslims to get their own house in order....

Bonne journée, Monsieur l'ingénieur .... :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

" The Muslims of France reacted maturely and they accepted that law.Did we see any display of anger of the French Muslims?No."

Have to wave the bs-flag on that assertion. Certainly burning of cars on the streets qualify as display of anger.

@afroengineer, no disrespect, but if you don't like the decisions made, then you are free to vote with you feet(as I did decades ago) to regions more accomodating to your lifestyle.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Surf,

" Certainly burning of cars on the streets qualify as display of anger."

To be fair, I don't think that had a lot to do with either religion or secularism despite many of the perps being of "North African" origin (at least at some point somewhere down several generations...)

Les banlieues is a French made problem actually, one that I definitely don't agree with the state's handling of, a boiling kettle still bubbling today. Whilst such social degradation may also be the poisoned fruit of France's woeful colonial past and poor subsequent handling to present day, I don't think it's fair game on this topic.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Madverts

Sure, I don't know if you follow the french media but for example when Femen attack the people of Civitas who were peacefully demonstrating against "le mariage pour tous" the women of Femen with the feminist activist Caroline Fourest showed up with some tear gas(?) spraying on demonstrating families with tags on their bodies insulting the curch, then the government and the media completely distorted the fact and presented it as it was Civitas who were attacking.Then you had piss Christ expo, the laws against the religious symbols.

I understand your point but please understand mine too.I'm not talking about people who want to change the laws or impose anything to anyone, I'm talking about how a clothing, hat, necklace can challenge the republic.

Sorry to ask you a personal question, but does it honestly bother you to work or deal with someone wearing a kippah, a cross, or a headscarf? That is what the article is about and that is the point I'm talking about.

Sorry to tell you that but whether I'm religious or not is not relevant, we are talking about the rights of some people to wear a piece of clothes. And no you have not offended me a bit, thanks for your concern :)

Bonne soiree a vous monsieur et au plaisir :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@afroenginner

but does it honestly bother you to work or deal with someone wearing a kippah, a cross, or a headscarf?

In my opinion If people are bothered by it or not is not the point. The point is that when you are working for the State you are representing the State, therefore have to go by the State's rules and not be wearing any religious symbols. The same applies if you work for Mizuho or Delta you will have to wear their wonderful uniforms.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Sure, I don't know if you follow the french media but for example when Femen attack the people of Civitas who were peacefully demonstrating against "le mariage pour tous" the women of Femen with the feminist activist Caroline Fourest showed up with some tear gas(?) spraying on demonstrating families with tags on their bodies insulting the curch"

I do follow the French media, if only to be able to moan about the charlatans they are for not taking the corrupt ruling elite to task for one thing. Different subject to religion, but it somewhat shares one attribute I dislike between them, denial. Denial lapped up furthermore by the French left although you'll not find one French person outside of the teaching profession that will actually own up to voting for the current tool in office less than a year into his mandate, but I digress;

The two incidents you cite can hardly be attributed to macabre actions of the state, nor do I feel that either make any sort of a case to your earlier allegations of France being "highly anti-religion", even less "persecution of people of faith." They were perhaps highly charged accusations made in haste? Hopefully you've probably guessed I'm honest so (if I my say without sounding condescending) that there's no need to embellish on a hot-button topic as it is usually self-defeating....

One thing though - I remember the exhibition with piss on the cross. It's hardly something I get down on, but I certainly believe in freedom of expression so I can't object to it, despite the obviously offensive angle there. And in general people using that kind of provocation do so because they lack real talent and usually hang themselves rapidly given enough rope as it were. If I remember rightly the exposition actually ended with Christian extremists breaking in and throwing stink bombs or something, whilst there were unsuspecting on-lookers present and everyone getting arrested.

And then we have the Muslim terrorist that bombed Charlie Hebdo's HQ over a freakin' cartoon....

"Sorry to ask you a personal question, but does it honestly bother you to work or deal with someone wearing a kippah, a cross, or a headscarf? That is what the article is about and that is the point I'm talking about."

But that isn't the point of the law, I utterly disagree. Comparisons to the gay marriage bill certainly aren't fair in my opinion either but rather than go off topic - if you like - I'll take it up with you the next time JT have a thread on that subject with pleasure.

What we are dealing with here is the principle of separation of church and state and nothing else. The unshakeable foundation to which the Republic was built, and it's subsequent protection from those who would seek to challenge it. The law has no footings whatsoever in any kind of state sanctioned religious bigotry, you're dead wrong.

If there's one thing I'd like you to accept is that the root of all the support for this does not come from a fear of religion or its' deciples. It's hard to deal with some people that base their convictions on faith alone, personally I find it frightening to a certain extent and prefer to deal only in facts. Honestly, do you think I would make the case I have today to secretly shield my true feelings of either revulsion or latent fear caused by a person wearing significant religious paraphernalia, and more to the point - why should it?

My best and first friend I met here on my travels 15 years ago is a Muslim of Algerian descent. Heh, well, when it suits him it that is - a bit like most French Muslim males in the post-generation X tribe like myself ;) but that's once again another story.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To be honest , the scarve has a deeper issue , the one of integration . the issue is that for many Muslims , their Muslim idenity comes first and wearing a full veil at a job interview is like clearly creating a "you and me " barrier , you're basically putting your differences very much forward . There is a problem of integration of minorities from Africa in France , that is the underlying theme behind the veil issue

There is also the political aspect , i lived 10 years in Algeria , and i know many Muslims women who are totally virtuous but do not wear the veil , it's not an olbigation in Islam , it's a personal choice , initally , only the wives of the Prophet wore it

In the US ( " In God we trust" , Bible belt ), the Church is not really separate from the State like it is in France , you don't see politicians wanting to teach creationism in France , basically the French citizenship suppose that the whole nation belongs to one community (based on assimilation ) , as opposed to the US/UK way of having various distinct communities living apart , the latter model is perhaps less idealistic and more pragmatic , but that's the founding idea of the Republic of France , one language , one law , one community .

That is where the veil problem comes in , the way France has parked their immigrants into ghettos since the 1960's (with all kids going to the ghettos schools and never going out of their microcosm ) , it has de facto created an American/British situation of "communitarianism" , and scores of the deprived and forsaken population have taken refuge in a more radical practice of the religion which is worrying a part of the population and shows that the integration model has partly failed , so the veil issue is highly political (look at the score of the radical right and far right these last 6 years , makes a third of the French population ) .

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites