Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

France moves to toughen ban on religion in schools  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 09/09/2013
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) France on Monday unveiled a new charter designed to reinforce rules banning religion from schools which have been a recurring cause of tension with Muslims and other faiths.

The "Charter for Secularity in School," is to be displayed in poster form in every state-funded school in the country in a move pioneered by the Socialist government's education minister, Vincent Peillon.

The 15-point statement contains nothing new in legal terms.

Instead, Peillon says, it represents an attempt to promote better understanding, and more consistent enforcement, of long-established principles which have their roots in the anti-clericalism of the French revolution and the country's 1905 law enforcing a strict separation of church and state.

Peillon's initiative was greeted coolly by leaders of France's five million Muslims, some of whom see the aggressive promotion of secularity as an assault on their culture and traditions.

Recent years have seen a string of legal disputes arising from the exclusion from school of girls wearing headscarves in defiance of a 2004 law which prohibits the wearing of "ostentatious" religious symbols.

Dalil Boubakeur, the chairman of the French Muslim Council, said the charter's emphasis on that law and to the equality of girls and boys amounted to "allusions" to Islam which would trigger concern in the community.

"Ninety percent of Muslims are going to have the feeling they are being targeted by this charter," Boubakeur told AFP.

That interpretation was rejected by Peillon. "Secularity is about the equality of everyone in the Republic. There are those who think it is all about banning things. In fact it was what allows us to live together freely."

The charter starts out by emphasising that France "respects all faiths" and that the state is neutral in regard to them.

It goes on to explain, in child-friendly terms, that the absence of religion from schools affords pupils the conditions to forge their own personality, exercise free will and become citizens in an environment free from pressure or proselytising.

In pratice, that means that teaching staff must never give any indication of their religious (or political) convictions during lessons and that pupils cannot use their faith as a reason to challenge the content of the national curriculum, the manner of teaching or the rules of the school.

The notion of the "Ecole laique" (secular school) as one of the cornerstones of the Republic and a guarantee of the universal right to the freedom of expression and thought is one that is cherished by France's intellectual elite.

Outside minority faith communities, it also enjoys strong support among the population.

"To me it's not right people coming to school with religious symbols," said 16-year-old Arthur Rivelois outside his Parisian Lycee. "Their faith is their business, it's nothing to do with the rest of us."

But critics wonder whether the model is suitable for modern-day, multicultural France and accuse the government of double standards.

They question whether a truly secular school system would allow Christmas trees or December visits by Santa Claus, and whether it would still observe holidays on Christian Saints days.

While the vast majority of school canteens dish up fish every Friday -- in keeping with Roman Catholic tradition -- any principal who provides halal meat for Muslim students risks incurring the wrath of militant secularists, whose cause is enthusiastically backed by the far-right, anti-immigration Front National.

Interpreting the rules correctly has proved a headache for school leaders.

Earlier this year a Muslim girl was excluded from her school after a headband and long skirt were deemed to constitute overtly religious garb. The exclusion was overturned on appeal and her parents are now suing the school for racial discrimination.

The legislation has also caused much anguish among France's 30,000 Sikhs, whose male children are required by their faith to cover their hair from an early age.

In practice, many primary schools have continued to allow younger Sikh boys to wear the Rumal, a handkerchief-type covering, but turbans are banned -- a situation that effectively results in many Sikh teenagers giving up school earlier than they otherwise would.


 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Jun 30 2016 - Tennis: Roger Federer ends Willis' Wimbledon fairytaleMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Marcus Willis'' Wimbledon fairytale came to an end against Roger Federer, but the British qualifier''s 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 defeat couldn''t ruin a day to remember for the new star ...

 Jun 30 2016 -  Tough love: psychology of Argentina's Messi relationshipMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Like neurotic parents, Argentines swung from criticism to unconditional love for their star footballer Lionel Messi this week, providing the soccer-mad nation''s many ...

 Jun 30 2016 -  Cricket: Anil Kumble takes charge with eye on bowlersMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Anil Kumble thinks a year - and 17 Test matches - is enough for India to make its mark on all three formats of cricket. Kumble''s one-year contract as coach of the national ...

 Jun 30 2016 - Golden age Hollywood starlet Olivia de Havilland turns 100Muscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Paris- Screen legend Olivia de Havilland, who turns 100 on Friday, is the last surviving star from "Gone with the Wind" and one of the last great stars of ...

 Jun 30 2016 - Obama to campaign with Clinton, Trump shrinks gapMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Washington- President Barack Obama will campaign with presumptive Democratic White House nominee Hillary Clinton for the first time next Tuesday, as a new poll shows a ...

 Jun 30 2016 - New York's Empire State Building to go dark for TurkeyMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) New York- New York''s famed Empire State Building will go dark on Wednesday in tribute to the 41 people killed and 239 wounded in a suicide attack at Istanbul''s main ...

 Jun 30 2016 -  Brazil has 'total confidence' in Olympics securityMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Rio de Janeiro- Brazil has "total confidence" that it can ensure security for more than half a million tourists and athletes attending the Rio Olympics this August, ...

 Jun 30 2016 -  Eight killed as fire guts pharmacy in IndiaMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Mumbai- Eight people were killed when a fire gutted a pharmacy in India''s financial capital Mumbai on Thursday, police said. One other person was seriously injured in the ...

 Jun 30 2016 -  Engine failure, errors by crew led to deadly Taipei crash: reportMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Taipei - A plane crash in Taiwan that killed 43 people when a passenger jet plunged into a river was caused by engine failure and flight crew errors, a damning final ...

 Jun 30 2016 - NY entrepreneur swapping start-ups for charityMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) New York- After making millions before turning 40, a New York-based entrepreneur is dreaming of transforming charitable giving by bringing his start-up stardust and ...

more...


 





Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help