French President Jacques Chirac asked parliament on Wednesday for a law banning Islamic head scarves and other religious insignia in public schools, a move that aims at shoring up the nation’s secular tradition, despite cries that it will stigmatize France’s 5 million Muslims.
Chirac said he also wanted to open the way for businesses to impose the same ban, warning that “fanaticism is gaining ground” in France.
“Secularism is one of the great successes of the Republic,” Chirac said in an address to the nation. “It is a crucial element of social peace and national cohesion. We cannot let it weaken.”
For many French, the Islamic head scarf symbolizes Muslim militancy and fears that fundamentalists are making dangerous inroads in France.
But Muslims — for many of whom the scarf is a mark of modesty and a symbol of identity — say a ban is discriminatory and violates their freedoms. They warn it could provoke a backlash, pushing Muslims out of France’s mainstream life and fueling militancy.
Chirac said he would push for a law to be enacted in time for the school year that begins next autumn. Islamic head scarves, Jewish skullcaps and large crucifixes would fall under the ban.
“They don’t have a place in our public schools,” Chirac said.
No marble blocks with the Ten Commandments on them allowed either.!Look, Chirac is pissing off the 3 monotheist religions equally. Isn’t that fair?
France is being even about it though – no head scarves, no skullcaps. The “and no large crosses!” seems more like an admission that christianity doesn’t have any associated clothing more than anything else.
Now, one could argue that due to the demographics this is really nothing more than a shot at Islam – but thats arguable, because the law imposes the same restrictions on all religions.
Before the usual lefty nonsense gets overwhelming, I’ll point out that Ataturk banned headscarves 80 years ago in Turkey. The result? The only Islamic nation that’s worth a damn. All the rest are either dictatorships, insanely poor, or some combination of the two. This is a smart move on behalf of the French. But by all means, folks, continue to defend religious trappings that seek to drag us all back to the Middle Ages. We should be doing the same thing here in North America, before we end up in the same situation as the French.
Wasn’t allowed (and yeah, duh, gee, I WONDER WHY).
However, there were women that I went to college with who wore the scarf that didn’t cover their whole face. They seemed pretty normal to me. Before you say “ban muslim garb”, I want to know if you’re banning all muslim garb, the cover-everything-garb, or what?
All of it. The scarves, veils, everything. It really is a slippery slope. First the scarves, then veils, then women are wearing full hijab. And then the pressure escalates for all men to ensure that their wives and older daughters are dressing like this. It’s happening across the Middle East. More and more people are turning to fundamentalism. This is just one of the more obvious signs. And it shouldn’t be encouraged. For a whole lot of reasons, one of which is the obvious threat to women’s rights. I don’t know why this is even a topic for debate. By and large, we’ve built an incredibly advanced, open society in the West. The Muslim world is home to dictatorships, torture, sexism of a sort that hasn’t existed in the West since the days of Eleanor of Aquitaine–yet there are people who think we should eagerly embrace some of its most archaic customs? Uh, no thanks. Islam has a lot of good things to offer the world, but repressive dress for women isn’t one of them.
All of it. The scarves, veils, everything. It really is a slippery slope. First the scarves, then veils, then women are wearing full hijab. And then the pressure escalates for all men to ensure that their wives and older daughters are dressing like this. It’s happening across the Middle East. More and more people are turning to fundamentalism. [/quote]
You’re kidding, right? You don’t really think that banning scarves will stop the spread of fundamentalism across the Middle East, do you?
You mean the same draconian Malaysia that often refuses to acknowledge the existence of Islamist terror groups in its backyards? And tends to blame “Christian” countries for the problem in the first place? Yes, the nation is a vertiable pillar of modernity. And I know that Turkey isn’t exactly Rhode Island, but come on, it’s a lot closer to the West in almost every way than Malaysia.
And I wouldn’t have a problem with Israel doing this. After the occupation was ended and the Palestinians given back their land. As long as Israel also banned all the trappings of Hasidic and other forms of Orthodox Judaism. :wink:
Why isn’t it? We’re seeing a wave of Islamism like never before. It’s almost certainly more of a threat to liberal, democratic countries and like ideals now than it was in 1923. So why dismiss moves such as that being made by France as racist or unnecessary? And the evidence is pretty strong that Ataturk’s modernizing policies had a huge effect on the relative success of Turkey. I mean, just look east past the Golden Horn and see what could have been Turkey’s fate. There are some good reasons why Turkey didn’t wind up like Syria or Iraq.