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French Parliament Votes to Ban Signs of Faith

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by imported_Europe, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. This just in, it will be all over the news the next days. Pass the freedom fries...

    French Parliament Votes to Ban Signs of Faith

    Feb. 10 — By Tom Heneghan

    PARIS (Reuters) - France's National Assembly voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to banish religious emblems from state schools, a measure meant to keep tensions between Muslim and Jewish minorities out of public classrooms.

    Deputies voted 494 to 36 to ban Muslim headscarves, Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses and to expel pupils who insisted on wearing them. It will not apply to private schools.

    The government says the ban does not single out any religion, but cabinet ministers acknowledge its main targets are the Islamic headscarves and anti-Semitic remarks from Muslim pupils that teachers say have become more frequent.

    "After this debate and the magnitude of this vote, both the republic and its secularism have been reinforced," Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin told deputies.

    "What is at issue here is the clear affirmation that public school is a place for learning and not for militant activity or proselytism," Assembly Speaker Jean-Louis Debre said.

    It was the first reading of the bill, which must go to the Senate and then back to the National Assembly for final approval in mid-March, which now should be just a formality.

    The key passage of the law, which schools would apply from September, reads: "In primary and secondary state schools, wearing signs and clothes that conspicuously display the pupil's religious affiliation is forbidden."

    "This will not solve the problem," said Lhaj Thami Breze, president of the large Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF). "Who will decide what's conspicuous and what's not?"

    He said the UOIF would urge schoolgirls to opt for discrete head coverings such as bandannas or caps and hoped these would be accepted at school. "It's unfortunate that the whole nation is so preoccupied with a simple piece of cloth," he remarked.

    Nicholas Perruchot, a centrist UDF deputy who voted against the bill, said: "The law will not be applicable and the disputes will not diminish."


    The ban has wide public support in France, which has the largest Muslim and Jewish minorities in western Europe.

    Leaders of France's 5 million Muslims denounce it as discriminatory and likely to stigmatize veiled schoolgirls. It has provoked criticism from Muslim and Christian leaders abroad, including Pope John Paul II.

    Jewish leaders have been split over the ban, with those in favor seeing it as a bulwark against the militant Islam they see spreading in poor neighborhoods with mixed populations.

    Lord Greville Janner, vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, said in London it was a sad decision which "disgracefully punished the entire Muslim population and other religious communities."

    Before the vote, Education Minister Luc Ferry said France had witnessed a "spectacular rise in racism and anti-Semitism in the last three years" and the ban would help to keep classes from dividing into "militant religious communities."

    He said the law would also make clear pupils could not object to or skip classes for religious reasons.

    Teachers have complained in recent years of problems with Muslim pupils who interrupt history classes to deny the Nazis slaughtered Jews, boycott classes on human reproduction because they are "immodest," or refuse to attend physical education.

    It was not clear if France would also ban Sikh turbans, which the country's 5,000 Sikhs say are not religious symbols.

    In Kuala Lumpur, about 40 supporters of the fundamentalist Islamic PAS, the biggest opposition party in mainly Muslim Malaysia, protested against the law outside the French embassy chanting "Long live Islam" and "Crush the infidels."
  2. gfreshsushi

    gfreshsushi Senior Member

    Joined: Sep 21, 2003 Messages: 2,244 Likes Received: 1
    this is fucked. end of story.
  3. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    faith is good
    spirituality is good

    but i think organized religion can be evil.

    i think it's been shown that it is not as simple as 'can't we all just get along'
    or 'learn tolerance'

    the school is public.
    if people want to proseletize, they should go to a private school.
    if people can't afford it, then they make the neccesary sacrifices.

    "Teachers have complained in recent years of problems with Muslim pupils who interrupt history classes to deny the Nazis slaughtered Jews, boycott classes on human reproduction because they are "immodest," or refuse to attend physical education. "

    i have seen this backward thinking in other forms as well, including currently in the state of georgia, usa, where they want to ban the use of the word 'evolution' from classrooms.

    religion all too often has stood in the way of knowledge and the advancement of the human race.

    ...and what does this have to do with freedom fries?
    do you think muslims are being persecuted in france because of u.s. influence?
  4. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8
    thats it in a nutshell. i wish the states would be more secular, religiousness is getting annoying...
  5. SteveAustin

    SteveAustin Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 12, 2002 Messages: 7,042 Likes Received: 2
    I'm kinda torn on this. I don't think there should be any religous iconography in public schools, but on the other hand...I don't think anyone has the right to tell me what I can or can not wear.
  6. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    i agree that people can wear what they want.
    but teenagers in a public school have to be guided.
    they are still so open to influence.

    it's like when they banned gang icopnagraphy in the public schools in the states.
    sure, it was messed up for a minute that doo-rags and blue plaid shirts with only the top button done were banned, until it was demonstrated that school was a little more cut and dry without all the posturing.
  7. gfreshsushi

    gfreshsushi Senior Member

    Joined: Sep 21, 2003 Messages: 2,244 Likes Received: 1

    this is my opinion, but i realize it matters very little in countries outside of the usa. religious freedoms are often debated here for the sake of keeping them fair to all, whereas in many european countries, there is a state-sponsored religion or no guaranteed freedom of religion. it only gets worse as you move farther from civilization.

    not trying to be a dick, i just feel really passionately about freedoms. i'm an american.
  8. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    i still think that public school is no place for religion.
    in my lifetime, how many wars have started, not over God, but over religion.

    i have come to believe that religion is detrimental to society
    i think it's okay that people are sometimes persecuted for their religion..
    after all, that has been a MAJOR theme in religion for thousands of years.
    people ultimately, have gone on the road to martyrdom..

    which is to say, the government is clearly not changing anyone's views on religion.
    so why not ban the scarf?
    it is not going to destroy that person's believe.
    it is however, going to encourage a uniformity in appearance.
    when kids single themselves out o make a statement, it puts them in a precarious position of being a muslim first, a student, second.

    that's not the point of school.

    and this statement:
    this has little to do with religious affiliation, and more to do with disrespectful children and self-righteous families that push their children to speak up about controversial issues. what ever happened to suspending children that would not follow the directions of the teachers? this is a lack of stern leadership, not a problem of displaying religious affiliation.

    i just don't agree.
    the fact is, classes are being disrupted over religion.
    it's hard to argue stern leadership across cultural boundaries.
    the fact is, they are allowed to 'represent' their religion
    that alone makes it more important, and ultimately, something that can easily be observed and identified as a topic of discussion.

    and what about the ban on gang clothing in public schools?

    it helped the schools.
    who can say those gangs aren't as important to those kids as allah is to another?

    bottom line, they can practice their religion.
    if they want a guarantee of it, maybe they should move to the u.s.?
    yeah right.
    freedom here is trampled too. (american indians' right to take peyote during tribal customs was banned for example)
    ..and we have other problems with the state forcing their way into citizens' private lives.
  9. Crimsøn

    Crimsøn Senior Member

    Joined: Dec 18, 2003 Messages: 2,120 Likes Received: 1
    If you're in their school I think they definately have the right,
    religion has no fuckin place in schools whatsoever.

    As [email protected]#$% put it, religion all too often has stood in the way of knowledge and the advancement of the human race, and this is the fundamental purpose of school.
  10. Pinup

    Pinup Senior Member

    Joined: Mar 13, 2003 Messages: 2,208 Likes Received: 0
    My views :

    1. -civil society secularity depends on a simple basis : tolerance of others religions, signs of faith are allowed to the extent they do not override individual right.

      -governmental power secularity depends on hiding signs of faith. a man of government, representing people in all their diversity, CANNOT allow himself to show signs of his faith, it would be too much subject to debate and would not be true to the population he is speaking for.

      -problem : what about schools ? is the relation from teacher to student the same as government to civil society ? not that simple.

    in a nutshell, i think signs of faith should banned from school because

    1. school is public. no one in school should be entitled an individuality
    2. you are in school to develop your critical sense and judgement, and therefore, question your religion as well. you may decide to wear signs of faith out of school, not out of commitment, but, thanks to the development of your critical sense, out of choice.
    3. school is compulsive. if you disagree with someone elses ideas, tough luck, you're still in his class, he cannot be avoided as if he were in the street. this is a problem in france. therefore, putting aside religion is necessary if anyone wants to remain on a standard, equal base.

    however, this law puts aside the idea of belief, i find.
    Sikhs for example, are considered renegades if their hair is cut. how can the law declare itslef superior to someones personal beliefs ? i have trouble ascertaining.
    furthermore, the law's desire is to preserve school's absolute secularity. but religion cannot go unavoided, and family environment does, in some cases, still commit one to religion. therefore, wouldn't it be better to study religion impartially, at school, as part of global culture, instead of preserving solely 'relious education' within the family, or the temple ?

    my thought in a nutshell, i wrote something on this though.

    i am therefore totally torn, but i think that the french government is taking many a risk with this law.

    and Europe, freedom fries ? c'mon...
  11. Im surprised that everyone is not condemming this?
    I think its total bullshit!
    My freedom fries comment got some attention I see, all I meant was I thought this would be another reason for the freedom loving americans to hate on the french and for once I would side with the americans, therefore asking them to pass the fries.
  12. I'm totally in favor of that.
    jumping on a thread like this late makes me wanna type less and less..