Essay on French Law And Religious Symbolism

1713 Words Oct 11th, 2015 7 Pages
Secularity in France targets the public sphere, the treatment of religious symbolism in French law raises issues of how the maintenance of secularity should go about in a nation, forcibly removing ‘visible religion’ from the public sphere, implies a lack of pluralism in a nation, laïcité then could be considered relatively undemocratic. What exactly was meant by ‘ostentatious’ is a matter of much debate, to what extent must a symbol of religious affiliation be ‘ostentatious’. This year, a 15 year old girl was sent home for wearing a long skirt, that allegedly ostentatiously displayed her Muslim faith. While the law does not explicitly target Muslims, there is by default bias toward the Muslim hijab and clothing that could be regarded Muslim. The law lead to the State Department listing France as a nation guilty of ‘abuses of religious freedom’, along with several third-world dictatorships.

French law regarding the headscarf targets public education in particular, suggesting that the politics of secularism are inherently tied to public schooling. As with Shinto secular Japan, leaders argued that religion should be kept out of the public sphere, specifically that of education. Eugene Cheniere, the aforementioned principal and a French center-right politician, raised the question of headscarves in schools suggesting that the school is the ‘cradle of laïcité’, a place that ought to grow the secular values of the French nation. Thus, public schools ought to be an arena to…

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