Skip to comments.HEADSCARF ROW ERUPTS IN FRANCE
Posted on 04/26/2003 3:30:34 AM PDT by Doctor13
A debate over the right of Muslim girls to wear headscarves to school is raging in France, with government ministers facing allegations of racism.
The arguments date back more than a decade, but were reignited last weekend by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who insisted Muslim women remove their headscarves for identity card photographs.
He was booed by a 10,000-strong gathering of Muslims, the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UIOF). A former UIOF leader, Abdallah Ben Mansour, responded by comparing government rules on ID card photographs to Nazi laws against Jews.
"A law forced Jews to wear a yellow star, and it was overturned," he said.
"As long as the law bans the veil, we will respect it, but we will demand that it is changed."
The next day a Muslim woman driving instructor interviewed by France-2 television described the 1999 ID card ruling as "a new form of racism".
But in two schools - one in Lyon, and one near Paris - teachers have made fresh protests against pupils wearing headscarves in class.
This prompted Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin to say that he was in favour of a ban.
While the Interior Ministry said there was no plan to change the law and Education Minister Luc Ferry said a ban could be unconstitutional, a range of politicians came down firmly in the anti-headscarf camp.
Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande said headscarves were "out of place in schools".
Listen: Sarkozy booed
An MP from President's Chirac's party, Jacques Myard, told La Chaine Info (LCI) TV there was a "big difference between discreetly wearing a cross, a hand of Fatima or Star of David round your neck" and a headscarf which is "incompatible with the neutrality of the school and the French Republic".
A 1994 instruction from the Education Minister says the "ostentatious display of religious allegiance" in state educational institutions should be prevented.
Since then there has been a series of expulsions and readmissions of Muslim girls from schools.
Teachers in the small town of Flers even went on strike when a 12-year-old pupil refused to remove her headscarf.
Not all French Muslims are opposed to the government's line on identity cards and headscarves.
A moderate French Muslim group, the Muslim Co-ordinating Committee, defended Mr Sarkozy saying it was "shocked by the disgraceful behaviour of those who dared to defy the republic".
The rector of the Paris mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, for his part, urged French Muslims to "live with the times" in an interview with France Inter radio.
Hanifa Cherifi, who mediates between schools and families in headscarf disputes, said most Muslim women - whether in France or elsewhere - did not wear the headscarf.
"It's a minority tradition," she told LCI TV.
The row has prompted Education Minister Luc Ferry to pledge to introduce a new law next year that would reassert secular values in state schools.
France has a 1905 law separating church and state, but Mr Ferry said existing legislation was not designed to deal with the increasing ethnic splintering of French society and what he called "the rise of racism and anti-Semitism".
BBC Monitoring , based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.
The women who were veiled were permitted to go through passport control without lifting their veils. I asked the passport control officer why the women didn't have to lift their veils and by permitting them to enter without seeing who was under the veil, how did he know who as under the veil? I was told it was because they could not infringe on their religion because men were forbidden to look upon their faces.
"Great," my husband said, "You probably just let in Yasser Arafat!"
In addition, the veiled women continuously pushed their cart into walls because they couldn't see where they were going.
I'm reminded of the women in Florida who refused to have her photo on her driver's licenses. I wonder how many accidents it caused because they couldn't see where they were going? I think the license bureau acquieced, unless someone else has an update.
During a trip to one of the big shopping malls outside of Washington, D.C., one friend spotted a veiled woman wearing men's shoes.
(I'm afraid this will be posted more than once since I can't figure this thing out! My apologies if it happenes.)
Just ask 'em.
If they defend the practice(s), simply respond, "Fine. Good enough for your culture, good enough for ours. No veils, no Koran, no open observances of Islam whatsoever. To do so will invite arrest and possible deportation. Only difference........we won't torture you."
We are entitled to our own rules and standards. Foreigners are not privileged to impose their rules and standards on us in our own country.
On the other hand, the government cannot prohibit the free exercise (of an establishment of religion), so if wearing the veil is a religious practice, the government can't prohibit the woman from wearing it.
On the other hand, the government ends up not able to take her photo for her license so she does without the license.
Nothing could be simpler than that. Gal wants to walk, she walks, eh! Must be part of Islam or something although there's nothing about veils in the Koran - just discussions of modesty (which meant something quite different at the time since women in Mecca supposedly went bare breasted in the days of the Prophet.)
Maybe it was just a Muslim Lesbian..?
Is Bill clinton Islamic?
Baghdad Bob? Is that you?
Quoting incidents from the holocaust?
I thought that never happened...
There is a lot of difference between forcing someone to wear a star so that they can be persicuted vs forcing someone be like everyone else to keep others from being killed. If they do not want to live in a non-moslem society they are free to return home. The are not free to force their Islamic lifestyle on others in the name of freedom.
Maybe that's the only way they could get their jollies where women are concerned considering the strict laws they must live by separating the two?
If you cannot prove you are married while dining out, you go to jail!
Oh, it's going to be a bumpy ride!
What is little known that the anti-headscarf rule was directed against Christians/Catholics, together with a fierce persecution of Catholic Church by militant secularists in the beginning of XXc France. Read Pope Pius X encyclical from 1907
Headscarfs (not the veils covering face) are Christian custom which was imitated and modified by Muslims (Islam started much later). If you look at old photos from traditional Christian countries (like Poland, Italy, Greece etc) you will see that women cover their heads in public.
French secularists created a vacuum which is being filled by Muslims. The joy and importance of stopping Muslim invasion expressed by legendary epic poem Song of Roland got forgotten. Now secularism became unwitting Trojan horse for another religion.
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