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20.1.04

France Vs. Logic

France Debates Head Scarf Ban In Schools

As France debates a plan to ban Islamic head scarves in public schools, the education minister said Tuesday that even some bandannas and beards should be barred from the classroom.

... The bandanna "will be banned, if young girls present it as a religious sign,'' said [Education Minister Luc] Ferry, who was presenting the proposal to lawmakers.

Responding to a question, Ferry also said that beards would be banned, if they are worn for religious reasons, according to a report on France Info radio.

... President Jacques Chirac says the bill's goal is to protect France's secular underpinnings. However, it also is seen as a way to hold back the swell of Islamic fundamentalism in France's Muslim community--the largest in Western Europe.


So you're going to protect yourself from Islamic fundamentalism by making Muslims angry at you and confirming the fundamentalist belief that Islam and modern culture are incompatible. Next, Chirac will propose to keep French people safe from beestings by poking beehives with a stick.

The theory, as I understand it, is sort of like an English immersion program for immigrants to the US. If you force them to act as if they're secular, you'll break the hold of their old culture and teach them to assimilate. Instead, I would imagine the result will be to drive observant conservative Muslims out of the state school system. This would create a cultural divide as Muslim and non-Muslim students aren't exposed to each other, exacerbating the very problem the policy is designed to fix.

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