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#1: Re: [I] Cultural dress codes [Was Re: [I] -I- Bra measurement andfitting]

Posted on 2006-07-22 17:38:34 by Mike Stevens

Louise Mac Mahon wrote:

> The French law seems to be discriminatory because it cannot be fairly
> applied, even if all Christian symbols were banned, a Christian could
> go out without feeling s/he is betraying his beliefs, for some Muslim
> men and women the scarf is fundamental so they suffer more by the ban.

While I actually agree with Louise about 99%, my understanding (which may be
flawed) of the French law (which may also be flawed!) is that *all*
religious signifiers are banned in State schools, to strengthen the secular
nature of these schools. That's a principle I can support up to the hilt,
but Louise has correctly identified the place where it falls down on its
face.


--
Mike Stevens
narrowboat Felis Catus III
web-site www.mike-stevens.co.uk

No man is an island. So is Man.

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#2: Re: [I] Cultural dress codes [Was Re: [I] -I- Bra measurement andfitting]

Posted on 2006-07-23 20:13:18 by Kimberley Verburg

Mike Stevens wrote:
> Louise Mac Mahon wrote:
>
>> The French law seems to be discriminatory because it cannot be fairly
>> applied, even if all Christian symbols were banned, a Christian could
>> go out without feeling s/he is betraying his beliefs, for some Muslim
>> men and women the scarf is fundamental so they suffer more by the ban.
>
> While I actually agree with Louise about 99%, my understanding (which may be
> flawed) of the French law (which may also be flawed!) is that *all*
> religious signifiers are banned in State schools, to strengthen the secular
> nature of these schools. That's a principle I can support up to the hilt,
> but Louise has correctly identified the place where it falls down on its
> face.

Not all religious symbols are banned from being worn by French state
school pupils, only "conspicuous" ones (before that it was
"ostentatious" symbols and the schools had more leeway). In practice,
that means Muslim headscarves, Sikh turbans and Jewish skullcaps are
banned and small Christian crosses aren't.

The principle of secularity which the French are indeed very keen on was
an excuse. I was living in Paris during the time this law was being
discussed and the politicians talked about the Muslims pretty much all
the time -- there was no doubt in my mind about who the law was aimed
at. There was/is concern that many Muslims haven't integrated well into
French society and this was a PR move to show that the government was
doing its part to integrate them.

The Sikhs and Jews (and perhaps others) were unlucky and got caught in
the political crossfire.

--
Kimberley Verburg
<a href="mailto:kim&#64;lspace.org" target="_blank">kim&#64;lspace.org</a>

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