Talk:French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools

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Former featured article French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
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Language is Strong[edit]

"It is however considered by many to specifically target the wearing of headscarves (a khimar, considered by most Muslims to be an obligatory article of faith as part of hijab ["modesty"]) by Muslim schoolgirls. For this reason, it is occasionally referred to as the French headscarf ban in the foreign press."

I'm sorry, but this isn't correct: "a khimar, considered most Muslims to be an obligatory article of faith as part of hijab". The language is very strong and needs to be changed, removed or supported. The headscarf is a contested issue in the religion. You can find various views either saying the hijab is obligated or not obligated. Please someone do something about this. I honestly feel it needs to be either removed or changed to a more neutral position. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

uncited sentence[edit]

"In that case, brothers may abuse and threaten their sisters. Incidents have occurred where persons have regarded young Muslim girls who refused to adopt the headscarf and dress code as "prostitutes" and have subjected them to gang rape." This needs to be cited and phrased in a more NPOV way because that is not a common thing. Maybe instead "In extreme incidents, persons have regarded young Muslim girls who refused to adopt the headscarf and dress code as "prostitutes" and have subjected them to gang rape." -- unsigned comment by IP,00:13, 28 March 2006

I believe the reference is to "tournantes" -- you could look at Ni putes ni soumises. AnonMoos 19:48, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Important information[edit]

Much of the text of the article is about the intents of those pushing for the law, and speculation about possible implementation decisions; all these go far beyond the actual text of the law, the essential part of which I translated. I also gave a pointer to an authoritative source for the text of the law.

All comments about non-legal sources (this includes politicians expressing themselves in unofficial documents) should make it clearly apparent that they are not authoritative. David.Monniaux 18:39, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)


It goes much farther than that.

If that law had been suggested *only* for laicity considerations, all religious symbols would have been entirely forbidden. Including small crosses, that are usually wore above the clothes (in particular protestant crosses).

The generally believed reason why only ostentacious symbols have been forbidden is much more tricky. It was decided because of the increasing number of girls in high school, wearing the headscarf, not just as brutal desire to limit expression and practice of faith (as some people here seemed to believe, so as some foreign newspapers probably report it).

That increasing number of headscarf is one of the numerous signs of extremist activity in France, in particular in poor suburbs. But aside from that, this is also an explicit break of a french law, that guarantee equality between men and women. If it is true that some women decided to wear the veil in a totally independent and free mind, it is also clear that it is not the case of many of these young girls.

In many suburbs, the woman is often given the choice of being either seen as "prostitute" (when refusing to wear the veil) and may be victim for example of collective rape, or is "submitted" (when accepting to wear it). This position is in particular defended by the now famous (in France) association Ni putes, ni soumises, which want to defend the rights of women to be without veil but still "decent" women, not just there for the men service and pleasure.

See for event 2 days ago.

The laic school is also the school of sex equality.

At least, this is one point of view :-)

text from Votes for deletion[edit]

I removed the notice to say that this page was listed on Wikipedia:Votes for deletion as it's been struck off as everyone voted to keep it. Here is a record of the votes and comments:

January 18 (2004)

  • French headscarf law - this article duplicates a section in Islam in France. I don't think it is needed. Either it should go, or the section in the larger article should be reduced to just be a pointer. - UtherSRG 02:52, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • I think it should be kept on the grounds it may be a worthwhile stub for any future developements due to this law. SimonMayer 02:56, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Usually, when I see an article I think worth, listed for deletion of vfd, I go help saving it by spending time adding to it. But here, I feel so abashed at the proposition of deleting such a topic that has been filling all our newspapers for more than 10 years, compared to the thousand of bullshit articles in this place, that I will not even make the effort. I am truely disgusted. I might even had considered listing the bullshit articles here for balance, but I think I would be loosing my time. Some people here, could consider spending their time writing articles. Horrible vfd place, I should not even consider coming here more than once a month, temple of the deletionism to its uggliest form. Anthere
    • Keep. Duplication suggests that it should be a redirect, not deleted. I don't really care whether you leave it duplicated, or remove it from Islam in France, or redirect it to Islam in France, but I can't think of any reason to delete it. -- Tim Starling 03:19, Jan 18, 2004 (UTC)
    • Keep - definitely. Very broad subject that can easily be fleshed out. --snoyes 03:37, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Keep, natch. This is a valid and interesting topic, much more can be written on it, and even if it were decided to put the text back into Islam in France, this would still serve as a worthwhile redirect. — No-One Jones (talk) 03:48, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Clearcut keep. There have been worldwide scarf-marches as a protest. Definitely deserves an independent article... (might as well suggest we should not have an article on zero tolerance -- Jussi-Ville Heiskanen 03:57, Jan 18, 2004 (UTC)
    • Keep, move stuff from Islam in France. Probably should rename this to reflect its not just applying to headscarves. -- Finlay McWalter 04:06, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Keep: topic is major enough to merit independent treatment. silsor 04:17, Jan 18, 2004 (UTC)
    • Nuff said. I withdraw my proposal. The article stays, and I'll work on Islam in France to point better to it and not just duplicate the section. - UtherSRG 05:35, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)
    • Keep. Secretlondon 07:27, Jan 18, 2004 (UTC)
    • Keep because it is a valid topic. SpellBott 09:55, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I was about to vote "keep" as well. --Fabiform 17:41, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)

chador or hijab?[edit]

Isn't this more about the chador instead of the hijab? I would imagine the full-body hijab is less common in France... Dysprosia 00:19, 11 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Well, when girls were excluded from school in France it was called "l'affaire du foulard" - the headscarf affair. But I think it's not uncommon to wear the full-body hijab. Perhaps a French person will be able to tell us. fabiform | talk 04:31, 11 Feb 2004 (UTC)

When girls were excluded from school in France, they had got a hijab only on their head. 14:33, 26 May 2006 (UTC) julateufree


notable? Wouldn't "conspicious" be a better word? Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 11:34, 11 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The french law deals about "signes ostentatoires", then "ostentatious" could also be a better word. 14:41, 26 May 2006 (UTC) julateufree

In the end the law went for the term "signes ostensibles" - that is "conspicuous" and not "ostentatious". Johncmullen1960 (talk) 11:08, 13 July 2008 (UTC)


It is widely believed to be specifically directed at French Muslim girls who dress according to hijab.

First, if it's widely believed then it should be easy to find at least one spokesman to quote. Second, the Wikipedia article on hijab said (if I recall correctly) that hijab means "modest attire". The sentence I deleted makes it sound like all modest attire for Muslim girls would be forbidden, and they'd have to wear mini-skirts and show their belly buttons like Britney Spears.

Let's repair this sentence and put it back. Does it mean head scarves, or what?

And is this a case of anti-Muslim or anti-Arab discrimination being written into law? If someone thinks so, let's quote them. Otherwise, it sounds more like 'contributor opinion' rather than encyclopedic fact. --Uncle Ed 20:10, 11 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I think this week's Economist special report on this issue is quite good (someone else already put this as an external link). One person they quote, Khalil Merroun, rector of a large mosque in a town just south of Paris, says "It's not the crucifx or the kippa that is targeted, but Islam." I think the best translation is that it is a ban on "conspicious religious symbols" - the Economists also translates a passage as "of manifestly excessive dimension." As I said above, I believe the article is badly named at the moment French law to ban conspicious religious symbol is definitely more accurate. Yes hijab has the wider meaning that you refer to, and yes it is specifically the headscarf that would be covered by this law. If you want a quote that it is an anti-Muslim law from a non-Muslim try Ken Livingstone who said "President Jacques Chirac is playing a terribly, terribly dangerous game in the same way that many politicians felt they could pander to Hitler in the 20s. The only way to defeat Fascism in Europe is to stand against every demand they make. It is an anti-Muslim measure and will stir up anti-Muslim pressure." Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 20:46, 11 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Thanks, Pete. I moved the article to "conspicuous".

Anyway, I clearly don't know enough about the issue to be writing about it. All I have are questions. And, yes, it does seem that the law -- despite the appearance of being a general prohibition smacks of a deliberate targeting at a Muslim or Arab display. As if to say, assimilate or else!

"Bavaria's rightwing education minister, Monika Hohlmeier, claimed the head scarf was increasingly used as a political symbol. Wearing Christian crosses or Jewish symbols was acceptable, she added - an assertion that invited accusations of double standards."

I'd like the article to address the extent to which the wearing of the headscarf is a political statement ("we are not like the rest of you; we refuse to assimilate").

Also, to what degree is it a religous requirement, and who says so? Is it "clearly mentioned in the Koran"? Girls must cover their hair, ears and throat, showing no part of their head except the face?

Is it a "cultural custom", like "I don't want anyone seeing how pretty my daughter is; she might marry outside her faith."? Or a "control the women" thing, as in "We mark our women like a herdsman branding his cattle; every girl wearing a scarf is some man's property."

It's too big an issue for me: that's why I want someone else to write the article: so I can read it and learn! --Uncle Ed 21:36, 11 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I am in the same boat as you Ed. It is clearly an interesting subject, and I fear I wouldn't be doing it justice by simply parroting what I've read in weekly newspapers. Having said that, I think it would be right to mention, particularly in this English language article, that France has been secular for a long time (goes back to the Revolution) and this law is an extension of that. Saying "God bless America" is the most natural thing in the world for Americans to hear Bush say, but if Chirac said a similar thing about France I think it would be a headline in Le Monde. Here - - is a primer on France's secular history. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 22:23, 11 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Comparison to dress codes[edit]

Something else to think about on matter of head gear or dress codes

In USA schools, there are school regulation Dress Codes. Students are not allowed to wear any head coverings-period- because 'Gang Members' were head scarfs/ bandanas or baseball caps.

No T-shirts with any type of print , such as rock groups, are allowed as well. No Gang Color shirts.

The dress codes at these schools are strictly enforced. The schools now have police officers assigned to them.

Metal detectors are at many schools, no guns, no knives, no pocket knives, no nail files etc

Instances are much more frequent , but only the largest cases make it into the newspapers, that students have gang fights or disgruntled student show up with guns at school.

Apparently the schools in France did not have enough dress-code-enforcing powers.

ON US SCHOOLS - You can't compare dress codes like the above to codes against religious dress. The constitution in the US allows the free expression of religion, and has been consistently upheld. A Muslim student (or any other student wearing a particular clothing for religious reasons) would be allowed by law to wear those symbols even in a school which otherwise banned hats and bandannas. (talk) 17:20, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

You have, however, just drawn an analogy between violent gangs and a religion. Not many people would argue that allowing people to wear gang colors in school would be a good thing, but it doesn't follow that muslim women and sihk men should be prevented from dressing modestly, as their faith requires. fabiform | talk 04:56, 12 Feb 2004 (UTC)
French Law does not recognize a superiority of alleged religious requirements with respect to civil law.David.Monniaux 18:36, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Furthermore, this is not an accurate representation of the state of schools in the US. Sikhs are pretty universally allowed to wear their head coverings, as mandated by their religion, and I know of no US school that has successfully prohibited that. --Delirium 05:58, Feb 12, 2004 (UTC)

No connections from gangs to religion is intended. Merely a point about head scarfes or headgear. Religious objects, such as large crosses are not allowed here either. Not even setting up christmas mangers any longer, as used to be done at Capitol Park. I still see some Sihk headgear here too. After 9/11 an old grandfather Sikh wearing headgear was however found floating in a canal nearby. Americans could not even tell Sikh's from Arabs, let alone terrorists. None of this is meant for the main page. Merely some points to contemplate, before any more French Fries or French wines are boycotted again.

But... wearing the veil isn't the same as wearing a cross. There's no edict that I know of requiring Christians to wear crosses. I imagine that if you've grown up never showing your hair to any person outside of your close family, having to go to school with your head exposed would feel very much like being forced to wear low-cut tops that displayed your cleavage (at a time when your religion outlaws such displays of flesh). Y'know?  :) fabiform | talk 06:01, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)
If I am not wrong, the Islamic custom is that female children dress modestly when they become women (puberty). In newscasts about Islamic countries, you can often see little children with long (and uncombed) hair besides their covered elder sisters. So it would be after going to school that Muslim girls start wearing headscarves.
Maybe Wahhabis or Talibans force very small children to cover their heads.

Survey numbers and teachers[edit]

I moved the bit about teachers out of the reference to that specific survey - the version of the survey printed in The Economist didn't mention teachers. Does the original survey mention teachers specifically, anyone know? Where did the bit on teachers come from, do we have a source we can reference? - David Gerard 11:02, Feb 12, 2004 (UTC)

I've taken out the teachers for now. If anyone has a survey reference mentioning the teachers, put it back in - David Gerard 00:42, Feb 13, 2004 (UTC)

I've found a refernece. I searched le parisien, here's the search result (I couldn't access the article for free):

Les profs favorables à la loi, 05/02/2004

LES ENSEIGNANTS attendent avec impatience la loi interdisant à l'école les signes religieux. Pour la première fois, un sondage CSA, réalisé pour « le Monde » et « la Vie », le démontre : 76 % des profs se déclarent favorables au texte (lors d'une enquête effectuée en décembre auprès de l'ensemble d...

Teachers in favour of the law February 5 2004

Teachers are looking forward to the law banning religious symbols in schools. For the first time, a CSA survey for "le Monde" and "la Vie" shows 76% of teachers say that they are in favour of the text (during a survey taken in December to most...

I think that le Monde has more accessible archives, I'll go and see... fabiform | talk 05:35, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I haven't had any luck finding it in le monde or le monde diplomatique. I give up! I assume that the snippet above is all we really neaded? fabiform | talk 05:55, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)
A reference would be good - is it the same survey quoted in The Economist? But it's substantiation! - David Gerard 15:28, Feb 13, 2004 (UTC)
Hmm? What do you mean by a reference? fabiform | talk 15:33, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Sorry, I mean a weblink. Still I've put in a sentence as is anyway - David Gerard 15:34, Feb 13, 2004 (UTC)
I could give you the link to the page where it asks you to pay before you can view the article if you like. This is bugging me again. Perhaps I'll find a better source somewhere else? fabiform | talk 15:43, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)
If we can find a better link, good. Or a reference to the newspaper date and page. Whatever you think is a workable idea, I suppose, you went and found the ref! - David Gerard 16:24, Feb 13, 2004 (UTC)
Well, I've already given you the newspaper name and date of the article above, no idea of the page number though. But...

I've found a different reference for you! - very good site for this article.

84% des enseignants pour l'exclusion d'une élève voilée (sondage) - AFP [1] (4th February 2004)

84% of Teachers in Favour of the Exclusion of Veiled Students (survey) - APF

84% des enseignants se prononcent pour l'exclusion d'une élève voilée, dont 19% sans même chercher de compromis, selon un sondage CSA réalisé pour le Monde et la Vie et publié dans le quotidien de mercredi, daté jeudi.

84% of teachers report that they are in favour of the exclusion of a veiled [female] student, of whom 19% said they would not even try to compromise, according to a CSA survey carried out for le Monde and la Vie and published in the [daily] newspaper on Wednesday, dated Thursday.

Interrogés sur leur attitude une fois la loi sur la laïcité votée, 65% des enseignants déclarent vouloir d'abord chercher un compromis mais exclure l'élève en cas d'échec. 19% disent exiger le retrait et exclure l'élève si elle conserve son voile. 15% en revanche sont contre toute exclusion.

Questioned on their attitude once the law on secularity had been passed, 65% teachers said that they would first wish to try and find a compromise but would exclude the pupil if necessary. 19% said they would demand the pupil remove her veil and exclude her if she failed to do so. 15% on the other hand were opposed to any exclusions.

D'autre part, les enseignants sont massivement favorables (78%) à une loi interdisant les signes et tenues manifestant ostensiblement l'appartenance religieuse des élèves. Ils sont également favorables (72%) à l'interdiction de port d'insignes politiques. 57% préfereraient le mot visible à ostentatoires (16%) ou ostensible (16% également).

On the other hand, teachers are massively in favour (78%) of a law banning conspicuous clothing or other signs which identify which religion a pupil belongs to. They are also in favour (72%) of banning the wearing of political symbols. 57% preferred the word "visible" to "ostentatious" [ostentatoires] (16%) or "conspicuous" [ostensible] (also 16%).

Toutefois, les enseignants ne placent la laïcité qu'en onzième position (14%) de leurs préoccupations derrière l'échec scolaire (en tête avec 58%), la défense du service public, les relations enseignants-parents, les effectifs, les programmes, la sécurité....

However, teachers only ranked secularity in 11th place (14%) of their preoccupations, behind failing in school [I think this means pupils dropping out etc, literally "school failure"?] (at the top with 58&), defending the public service, parent-teacher relations, pupil numbers [attendance or class sizes?], the curriculum, safety...

De plus, ils considèrent (59%) que parler du voile à l'école est une façon de ne pas aborder les vrais problèmes qui se posent à l'enseignement.

Moreover, they consider (59%) that focusing on the veil in schools is a way of avoiding the real issues facing education.

Ce sondage a été réalisé du 22 au 24 janvier auprès d'un échantillon représentatif de 504 enseignants de collèges et lycées publics.

This survey was carried out from the 22 to 24th January [2004] using a representative selection of 504 teachers from state-funded secondary schools [collèges et lycées].

Copyright - AFP

- Well there you have it. My rough and ready translation by the way. fabiform | talk 16:44, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Just put that link in the article. Very good! - David Gerard 02:28, Feb 15, 2004 (UTC)

Ethical and Legal Implications[edit]

France has ratified the Convention on The Rights of the Child which specifies:

Article 14

1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

2. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.

3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

Article 16

1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.

2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

This "religious symbol ban" law is also in obvious contempt of one's fundamental human rights.

"The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms" also known as EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (enforced at the highest level by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR):

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

1 Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2 There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 9 – Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

1 Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

2 Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

It seems that France is confounding the people's rule with the people's tyranny again.User:Damas

Would you consider avoiding unnice comments toward other countries than yours Damas ? fr0069
Has this commonly been raised as an issue with the French public or media? That is, is it something obviously suitable for an encyclopedia article on the subject, or only speculation here on this talk page? - David Gerard 02:28, Feb 15, 2004 (UTC)
Yes, here is a similar case accepted by the ECHR: [2]. Any lawyers around?

More accurate title?[edit]

May I suggest that we change the title of this article for a more accurate title ? The french name of the law is "loi sur la laïcité". May I suggest that the current title sounds biaised to me ? A law meant to insure the laicity principle is respected is frankly *not* the same than describing the law as a "ban over religious symbols". The current title of this article is just fallling short. The french title is "positive" when the current title weights definitly too much on the "restrict religious freedom" side. fr0069 15:42, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)

This is an article discuting the "hot topic" du jour... and the controversy surrounding this law, not simply "Loi n. 2/2004" of the French Republic. And yes, the French title is "positive", and nevertheless the law is biased. User:Damas
This is not answering to my comment in any way. What we are reporting are facts, and the fact is that the title of the article is not a FACT, it is an interpretation of the spirit of the law. As for the law being biased, this is not your job to judge this. Why should it have any influence in your activity here ? fr0069
Also, the French wikipedia article is called "Loi française pour l'interdiction des symboles religieux", so depite the fact it could have been called "la loi sur la laïcité" with none of the headaches of translation we face, they chose to call it that. fabiform | talk 18:02, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Fabi...let's be serious :-) We started this article, before the french people did. Or rather...I started the topic several months ago, and it was not even mentionned on the french wikipedia. The current french article is merely a translation of this one, so do not give as an argument for keeping a bad title, the fact the french decided to give it that name, when all they did was to copy the english title. If that troubles you, I will change the french title NOW :-) fr0069

OK, I didn't read the French article! But... I still think the current title has merit. How would we translate "la loi sur la laïcité" in a manner that people without a knowledge of the French system would understand? Law on secularity/secularism is meaningless to most English speakers, and would encompass past laws from all around the world; French law on secularity not specific enough, especially if you don't know that this is about public schools; French law on secularity in schools again this isn't specific enough to this current law, it implies that the current state of affairs is widespread religious observance in public schools. Wikipedia is supposed to be about a consensus of opinion, it is undoubtable that media attention is focused on the issue of the veil and other religious "symbols" in schools, and it is obviously the government's agenda, how else can you explain their ignoring the part of the report about celebrating non-Christian holidays, and the fact that they didn't consider the Sikh turban etc. Do you have any specific titles in mind that we could consider, I'm having trouble thinking of any reasonable alternatives except for "French law on conspicuous religious symbols in schools"... how does that one strike you? fabiform | talk 20:31, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I understand this comment of yours Fabi. But it still is problematic. Because it still insist on the religious side; As I understand it, that is how it is interpretated by Americans at least, but it is not so by the majority of French people. What is important is laicity, and not religion so much. I would very much like that you read what I wrote at the very top of the article. Perhaps you might understand better one of the major reason of that law (which explains a lot why it is focusing on veils). It might also explain that if it was only an attempt to limit religious freedom, it would not have focused only on conspicuous signs, and crosses or Fatma's hand would have been banned as well. What I try to explain to you is that this title might be perfectly sound for american people perhaps, because I read they focused on the religious side, but it is wrong for us.

That is a fact there is no english word for laïcity. Is that a fair argument to give a false and misleading title for a non english law ? I do not think so. I actually think it would be less misleading to give as title the french name of the law, so that people won't wrongly slide on the religious side so much, but rather try to go on an article about laïcity, where they can really understand what laicity is.

Wikipedia is supposed to be about a consensus of opinion, it is undoubtable that media attention is focused on the issue of the veil and other religious "symbols" in schools,

it is focused on this in english media. Not so much in our media. That is where you are mislead. If you wish to try to explain french law and french culture, at least try to stick to french information, not foreign information.

and it is obviously the government's agenda,

no, it is not so obvious. If it were only the religious issue, all signs of religion would have been banned. The government is also trying to figure how to guarantee the freedom and equality of women in that whole issue.

how else can you explain their ignoring the part of the report about celebrating non-Christian holidays,

The government is *currently* trying to reduce the number of holidays: they will likely remove one, and some were willing to remove 2. That removal has been heavily criticize. Now, if they wish to add one non christian, they will lose the benefit of their fight. If they try to remove 3 days, to add a non-christian, they will get social uproar

and the fact that they didn't consider the Sikh turban etc.

???? I know *no* studant wearing the Sikh turban. Actually, I know *no one* wearing the Sikh turban. Is it necessary to take into account into laws what just does not occur in a country ??? fr0069

I would like that, at least, if that ugly title is kept, it is made less proeminent, the real name of the law is made more proeminent. I would like also that a citation is provided for a name that appears entirely invented to me. fr0069


If you're referring to the bit at the top of this page "The laic school is also the school of sex equality" etc, yes I had already read this. It is one interpretation of the reasons behind the law (and a common motivation from people who believe the veil is a tool of submission). But, it is not the only reason for this law, and to imply this would be POV. Reasons (off the top of my head, there are probably more) that this law has been proposed and the motivations of some of the people who support it (in no particular order):

  1. belief that the current situation of allowing veils etc in schools violates the long tradition of laicity in government funded institutions
  2. belief that the veil is a tool of supression and subjugation of women
  3. belief that wearing the veil or other religious symbols is the same as prosthelizing (preaching/advocating)
  4. belief that if people live in France they should be "assimilated"
  5. belief that the veil represents extremists
How any of the points stated above has anything to do with secularism (separation of church and state) is beyond me User:Damas

I have to disagree with you on the media focus. Here are some quotes from le Monde: "Laïques et musulmans "hors intégrismes" tentent de manifester ensemble contre la loi antivoile" (headline); "M. de Villepin, la loi sur le voile et le turban sikh" (headline); "Matignon et l'Elysée s'efforcent de recadrer le débat sur l'interdiction du voile à l'école" (headline); "L'Assemblée nationale a adopté en première lecture, mardi 10 février, par 494 voix contre 36 et 31 abstentions, le projet de loi encadrant, en application du principe de laïcité, le port de signes ou de tenues manifestant une appartenance religieuse dans les écoles, collèges et lycées publics" (first paragraph); "Dans une école de Bondy, le dilemme de deux garçons sikhs" (headline).

And from Liberation: "La loi sur le port des signes religieux à l'école n'est que la continuation de..." (first words of an article); "Voile et paranoïa droitière" (headline); "Contre l'islamiste, le citoyen" (headline); "Il y avait une connivence à l'Assemblée pour légiférer sur le voile" (headline); "494 députés votent contre les signes religieux à l'école" (headline); "Juppé et Fabius : une loi sur le voile imparfaite mais nécessaire" (headline); "Les sikhs défilent contre le projet de loi sur la laïcité" (headline); "Voile, liberté et ordre public" (headline); "En France, on aime bien se décrire comme le pays de la laïcité militante, par exemple pour justifier le fait que nous soyons les seuls à faire une loi pour interdire le voile à l'école...." (first line of article).

You will have noted three mentions of Sikh men in those quotes. Just because you personally don't know any Sikh men, doesn't mean that they don't live in France. If this law were truly based upon re-enforcing the principle of laicity in French schools then there would have been no concerns when Sikh men were mentioned. If women are oppressed by the veil, are men oppressed by the turban? I'm not being sarcastic, sexual equality cuts both ways.

It might also explain that if it was only an attempt to limit religious freedom, it would not have focused only on conspicuous signs, and crosses or Fatma's hand would have been banned as well

The title of the article doesn't imply that these are being banned; the title isn't "French law to restrict religious freedom", even if that is how you are interpreting it, not everyone will.

I actually think it would be less misleading to give as title the french name of the law, so that people won't wrongly slide on the religious side so much, but rather try to go on an article about laïcity, where they can really understand what laicity is.

This isn't the article about what laicity is, nor is it the article about the history of laicity in France, nor the separation of Church and State in France, nor "l'affaire du foulard" from a few years ago. If those articles don't exist yet, I hope someone will write them soon, but this article is about the law which is currently being voted on. The focus of this law is not the enitire concept of laicity in schools (laws already exist on this) it is designed to clarify and re-enforce these existing laws and to extend the concept of laicity to removing conspicuous religious symbols from schools. fabiform | talk 08:48, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

One way to interpret the controversy is that the French government cannot tell the difference, or has chosen not to see a difference, between "Islamism" (an invention of secular theorists who seek to separate the religious and political character of Islam, and see headscarfs in schools as violating their own rules about separation of church and state which Islam doesn't assert), Islam as a political movement, and freedom of worship or expression. Many people editing Wikipedia seem to have this same confusion, as witness the biased redirects (especially of Islamist). This may be based on a lack of knowledge, which suggests filling out list of Islamic terms in Arabic with good definitions may help everyone to understand what the real debates are from the Islamic side - there being many experts here on the secular side of this.

Actual text of the law[edit]

By the way, here is the actual text of the new law (from a PDF on You will see that this amendment is not referred to as the "loi sur la laïcité":

N°253 - PROJET DE LOI encadrant, en application du principe de laïcité, le port de signes ou de tenues manifestant une appartenance religieuse dans les écoles, collèges et lycées publics. - première lecture - adopté le 10 février 2004
Number 253 - Project of law surrounding, as an application of the priciple of secularity, the wearing of signes or clothing which show religious adherance in public schools, secondary [or high-] schools and collages [in the British sense, up to the age of 18 years]. - first reading - adopted February 10 2004.
Article 1er
Il est inséré, dans le code de l'éducation, après l'article L. 141-5, un article L. 141-5-1 ainsi rédigé :
First article: An article (L. 141-5-1) is inserted, in the code of education, after article L. 141-5, and reads as follows:
"Art. L. 141-5-1.- Dans les écoles, les collèges et les lycées publics, le port de signes ou tenues par lesqueles les élèves manifentent ostensiblement une appartenance religieus est interdit.
Art. L. 141-5-1. - In public schools, secondary [or high-] schools and collages [in the British sense, up to the age of 18 years], the wearing of signs or clothing by which the students conspicuously show a religious adherance is forbidden.
"Le règlement intérieur rappelle que la mise en œuvre d'une procédure disciplinaire est précédée d'un dialogue avec l'élève."
The school rules/by-laws recall that disciplinary action should be preceeded by a dialogue with the student.
Article 2
[lists which teritories this would be applicable in, and inserts references to it into previous documents]
Article 3
Les dispositions de la présente loi entrent en vigueur à compter de la rentrée de l'année scolaire qui suit sa publication.
Article 3: The present law will come into force at the start of the school year following its publication.
Aritcle 4 (nouveau)
Les dispositions de la présente loi font l'object d'une évalustion un an après son entrée en vigueur.
Article 4 (new): the provisions of the present law will be evaluated after one year of enforcement.
Délibéré en séance publique, à Paris, le 10 février 2004.
Le Président,
Signé : Jean-Louis DEBRÉ.
Deliberated in open session, Paris, Februaty 10 2004. The President, signed Jean-Louis DEBRÉ

Hopefully that is official enough to support the article title. I note that the idea of a review after one year has not been widely reported, and is not included in our article. (again, my translations) fabiform | talk 11:00, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

No, it is not.

You will see that this amendment is not referred to as the "loi sur la laïcité":
this is the generally used term for french people, and as the generally used term, it should at least be mentionned in the article;
N°253 - PROJET DE LOI encadrant, en application du principe de laïcité, le port de signes ou de tenues manifestant une appartenance religieuse dans les écoles, collèges et lycées publics. - première lecture - adopté le 10 février 2004
the current title is 1) entirely forgetting the "principle of laïcity" hence making the current title bogus. 2) using the term "ban" when the french term is "encadrant le port". So sorry, the current title does not fit. It is biaised and not representative of the real name of the law. It is a personal interpretation of the name of the law. It is letting aside the whole reason for the ban, only focusing on the result.
And this is precisely this type of omission that leads people to make comments such as "It seems that France is confounding the people's rule with the people's tyranny again."
So, either we adopt the shorter name commonly given by french people for this law, or its english translation (though I agree it would not be very useful since people do not understand what laicity is), or we give the accurate translation of the current french title : that is without the word ban and with the mention of the laicity principle; fr0069
We have the short title in, I've just put in the long title. Could someone please accurately translate the long title into English and put it in the article?
I'll give it a go in a minute :) fabiform | talk
Good one :-) - David Gerard 13:45, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)
(I've also put the article into sections. Also, the tenses are a mess - someone with excellent English and French needs to go over this one. Also, the French links at the end need explanatory text.) - David Gerard 12:17, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)
Anthere, I already suggested changing "law to ban" to "law on" and asked what you thought, you didn't reply. Would "on" be an acceptable translation of "encadrant le port" (i.e. "French law on conspicuous religious symbols"). I personally don't think that the word "ban" is as negative as you think, I mean we could have a law banning murder (murder=bad thing) or a law banning women from voting (women voting=good thing) - but I would be happy to change ban to something like "on" if you prefer.  :)
thanks, law on would sound fine to me. fr0069
As David said, the phrase "loi sur la laïcité" is already in the article (first line in fact). Now, if we're not careful our title is going to get a bit long, but here are some suggestions. Please feel free to add to the list if you have other ideas. fabiform | talk 13:04, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

We can all say which of these we would be happy with:

  1. French law on laicity
  2. French law to ban conspicuous religious symbols (current title)
  3. French law on conspicuous religious symbols
  4. French law on conspicuous religious symbols in schools
  5. French law on laicity and conspicuous religious symbols
  6. French law on laicity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools
  7. French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols
  8. French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools
The first is good because it's what it's commonly called in France. But it's not good because there will undoubtedly be many other laws concerning laicite. It's specifically about conspicuous religious symbols in public schools ... title's getting a bit long, isn't it? - David Gerard 13:45, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)
The first is bad because that's what the whole law, and not just this amendment, is commonly called in France. I would be happy with any of 2 to 8. fabiform | talk 15:39, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Why not split this article in two? It is obvious that you are talking about another thing entirely ... an ideal law. The only consequence of this amendment is a ban on the islamic scarf, also known as hijab - this was, before some white-washer meddled, an article about THIS (the hijab ban) specific and only consequence (there is no notable orthodox Jewish or Sikh community in France at this time) of the ammended law. What conspicuous religious symbols are you talking about?
Uh ? what do you mean we are talking about two different things ? We are talking about a new law. What are you talking about ???fr0069
Exactly my point, the original article was about the main consequence of the law, not about the law itself... How would you call an article about an imaginary US law called: The anti-discriminatory statute based on standardization of albedo? User:Damas
That does not help. I apology, but I really do not see your point. Perhaps someone else can explain to me, but here, I am lost. Too much circonvoluted. This law is not imaginary, it is very real, just as real that the issues surrounding it. I do not understand the comparison in the least. Sorry.

I think it is important that laicity or secularity are cited in the article name. So, 2, 3 and 4 are not very good to my opinion. The first one will not be understandable enough to english people. I am unable to judge which of secularity or laicity is best (I let that to you :-)). And finally, I think mentionning in school is important, because Chirac also mentionned other details (such as doing the same in public administration) which I suppose will be treated separately. So it might be important to mention school here. So, 6 and 8 are best. fr0069

I've had a look in the dictionary, and I think that "secularity" is the best word to translate "laïcité" with. This leaves us with number 8: "French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools". Anthere and I have said we're happy with this one, I'm not sure from David's comment about the length of the title if he will agree with using this one since it's the longest of them all! If no one jumps in and stops me then I will move the page to the title in number 8 in 24 hours.  :) fabiform | talk 19:11, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I don't mind the lengthy title, if "secularity" is a good translation - David Gerard 20:26, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)
I thought the word "French" in the title was surprising. By comparison, we have Airline Deregulation Act rather than American law on airline deregulation. I'd prefer to title the article using the name of the law for the article on the law, in accordance with the way that articles on other laws have been named. Currently it makes Wikipedia look a little US-centric. Martin 20:49, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Jan 2004 survey link dead[edit] is now a closed link (403 Forbidden). How annoying! I've left it for now, but do we have a live link that doesn't require payment? - David Gerard 14:34, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)

It still works for me. fabiform | talk 14:40, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
OK, if it only hates me then that's good for everyone else ;-) - David Gerard 14:55, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)
I hope it's not just stuck in my cache. I shift-refreshed though, and it still worked! fabiform | talk 15:39, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I'm now at a different machine and it works fine for me. - David Gerard 20:26, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)

Overseas territories[edit]

Consistent interpretation of the law should yield that since the some territories are populated by muslims in such areas an un-veiled woman is in fact displaying a religious symbol that proclaims her religious faith. User:Damas

curious comment. The fact a women is un-veiled does not prove she is claiming another faith, or no faith at all, but that she might have chosen to practice her faith without veil wearing. Anyway, in Mayotte, there are no such troubles with religious extremism and girls forced, which is certainly why it does not matter so much.

That is neat, in looking for a word, I fell in this link :

revendication and clan[edit]

Thanks Fab.

I need you to explain exactly what you're saying here:

They have highlighted the tensions provoked by the revendication of religious and group identities, like the formation of clans, for instance. They regret frequent violence toward themselves as well, in particular toward female teachers.

I don't know what you mean by "revendication" - do you mean the creating/formation; the claims/demands; reclaiming, etc?

revendication is claiming, demanding. Such as a terrorist group who "revendicate" the right for Corsica to be independant. In our case, typical religious "revendications" are demanding the right for women to be covered, demanding no pork in school food (this has been the case for a long time), asking that girls have a female teacher, in particular in gymnastic or at the pool, sometimes demanding that girls or separated from boys. For other religious groups, it might be not to study on a specific day (like saturday), or on celebration days (the non catholic celebration days). It might be the right to be able to make 6 prayers per day. Or that some topics (such as sexual education) are removed from programs.
group identities is a bit more complicated. But suffice it to say that in some places, kids may be from more than 10 different origins in one classroom. Among teenagers, a cultural identification happens, such as wearing specific clothes in a specific way, or using specific language (which is frankly not pure french), or listening to specific music. These groups request to be recognised as cultural units, with specific rights, while school is on the contrary supposed to make no difference between pupils. School teachers are often overwhelmed by this, and when a group of teenagers gang against her in class, or after class, verbally or physically attack her saying she is racist or does not respect cultural diversity, well, that is tough :-) Especially since teachers are more trained in the spirit of gender equality and laicity, than in extremism and bullying.

And the word "clan" is mostly used to mean a Scottish family... do you mean a "gang" (this could imply that they are violent), or would "group" be better? So far I've only done the "Background and Stasi Commission" section. Cheers, fabiform | talk 09:53, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC).

yeah, you are right. Gang is the word I often saw. Gang definitly it is. Typically...when a girl refuses to wear the veil in a city, some guys will consider she is then "free" to use and an offense to Allah, and should not complain to whatever happens to her. They pick her up, and lead her at the lowest level of buildings, and will rape her in turn. Often, these are groups of 6 to 10 individuals. Sometimes, there is even the boyfriend of the girl. We call this "tournantes" or "viol en réunion" (that is the legal term). This also happens in schools. In 1998/9, 556 affairs of sexual agressions (12% or rape) were reported in school. Some girls are also sold for a couple of euros, beaten. This is rarely done by just one guy. It is team work. If the girl behave properly (understand, she is not in jean with nake head, she does not stay out, she does not provoke guys) she will be respected. Some mothers get so scared for their girls, that they ask her to wear the veil to protect them. These mothers were those who fought for their rights 15 years ago. 15 years ago, none of them were wearing veils (but they were often submitted to forced weddings very early, I have a couple of painful memories for some of my friends then, I went to a city college). These phenomenons toward women are recent. And are frequently stirred up by extremist groups underground in the city. You initially get a group of bored and rather unhappy kids, then you get gangs; then some switch to more classical illegality, with drug sales in school, use of weapons, intimidation, car stealing and such.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "revendication" as "the action of claiming back or recovering by a formal claim"; the word is last cited in the 1850s, so it's a bit out of date. The OED definition doesn't seem to be what is meant in the original text. The French-English dictionary translates it as "demand", or in law, "claim." This tracks with the description given above and with general French usage on the Web per a Google search on "revendication." A literal translation doesn't capture the context in English, so I've replaced "revendicatif" with the word "provocative." Hope this helps. Dave Kielpinski

Vote on article title[edit]

I got a message on my talk page advising me that by moving the article from [[]] to Religious symbols in French schools I had ignored a vote. I searched for the words "vote" and "poll" on this talk page, but I missed it. So should we vote again, or what? --Uncle Ed 15:38, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Scroll up this page - about half way through the "Actual text of law" section you will see a neat set of rows numbered 1 through 8 of proposed other titles. The only worry I have about the current title is that the word garb often has slightly negative conatations - it is sometimes used to imply unnecessary/pointless clothing - though this is not dictionary definition it may be better to err on the side of caution. Of course this choice of wording is secondary - we first have to decide what the focus of the article will be (see below!).... Pete/Pcb21 (talk)

Focus on the law itself[edit]

Focus on the underlying issue[edit]

Questions the article doesn't address[edit]

Is the proposed French law specifically aimed at preventing Muslim girls from dressing modestly?

And what's up with rape as punishment for immodesty? Personally, I sense an element of hypocrisy there :-(
The text of the law is available. Of course, we may discuss the motivations of those who wrote the law and the interpretation they wish to give of it, but discussing motivations is hardly NPOV. David.Monniaux 18:34, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Is the aim of the law to prevent Muslims (and some others) from conspicuously advertising their religious affiliation?

Yes. David.Monniaux 18:34, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Is there any truth to the notion that some French perceive Muslims as refusing to assimilate into the mainstream of society? Do these advocates regard the wearing of the headscarf as a political statement, i.e., a refusal to be French citizens first but Arabs or Muslims? In other words, I'm not a Frenchman who happens to follow a particular religion or to have a particular cultural heritage -- BUT I am part of a particular culture and/or religion who just happens to be living in France now. --Uncle Ed 15:47, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The article is half way through an expansion and copyedit procedure, so it could probably be reorganised or restructured after that to make things clearer.
I feel that we've covered the first and second points in the article, and if this hasn't come through to you then it needs restructuring (it did just double in length, so things might be a bit disorganised!). And is the third point not moving into the issues covered by Islam in France? fabiform | talk 15:57, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I get the feeling that I'm not helping. So I think I'll leave the article alone for the rest of the week, except to move it to Religious attire in French schools since "attire" is a much nicer-sounding word than "garb". Okay? --Uncle Ed

Um... do you have to? The new title you suggest still does not address all the issues that Anthere raised above with a previous title. What did you not like about the title you first moved it from - just the length? You also appear to have broken all the redirects since you just moved it three times in a row! fabiform | talk 16:06, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I don't mind if you revert my moves or edits. :-)

Here is a section of text I wanted in, but maybe it's not accurate:

Religious attire in French schools has aroused considerable controversy. Many French want to ban the conspicuous display of such symbols as the Muslim headscarf or other distinctive displays which readily identify a child's religion, on the grounds that the conspicuous display of such symbols (a) is an affront to the secular society or (b) amounts to a divisive political statement.

Au revoir, Edmond Le Pauvre

Yes we probably should have talked about this on this page rather than your talk page. Perhaps the article does need a softer introduction. But I have a big problem with the (a) and (b) part.
(a): France isn't a secular society, that's a pretty vague and misleading term - it has "separation of church and state", so the schools which are entirely funded by the State are supposed to be secular (although private Catholic schools are partly subsidised by the State, a nice contradiction for you!). This is the "ideals" explanation, and quite common, you're right.
(b): if you're talking about the "veil", then it's a bit of a leap to say that it is a political statement rather than a religious one. I'm not saying that it isn't sometimes used as that, or that it isn't associated (rightly or wrongly) with islamic fundamentalism, but that statement seems (to me) to imply that hijab is only a political statement. It may also be a way for a muslim girl to submit to Allah; a way to demonstrate her faith to the world; a tool of suppression imposed on her against her will, not for political reasons, but usually due to sexual politics in the poor housing projects; a pragmatic choice designed to offer sexual security; a cultural tradition; etc... Also, if you designate the veil or any other "religious symbol" as political, then it wouldn't be covered by this law, even though the Stasi commission recommended a ban on political symbols too. Having this in the introduction will just confuse people.
Plus, there are other reasons you've left out of your list. The law is supported by teaching staff because it clarifies a vague exisiting law, and takes a difficult decision out of their hands, where it has wrongly rested for the last 20 years. It is supported by many feminists and many people campaigning against racism. It is supported by many people who believe that France should be "une et indivisible" and that immigrants and their children should be "assimilated", rather than France having to adapt to them. I expect it is supported with people who confuse Islam the peaceful faith with Islamic fundamentalists, and people who dislike foreigners and people of other faiths (bigots and racists, etc). In my opinion, the (a), (b) that you suggest is an oversimplification of a complex topic and if we expanded it to cover everything I just said, then it's just too much to fit into an introduction. I think I've rambled enough.... fabiform | talk 17:07, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I will be frank :-) Tomorrow, as soon as I have time, I will start an edit war on the absolutely disastrous title given to that article. Given that much discussion already took place on the title of the article, the current change of article without previous discussion is extremely inappropriate. I will wait for opinion, but I will probably put the article back to the previous title.

Forgot signing.

fr0069 18:16, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

So we'll move it back to where it started the day at French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools? I'm fine with that, I don't really think this title is specific enough to the article content. EdPoor said he wouldn't fight with us if we wanted to move it back (I have been chatting to him about it on his talk page). I'll ask Ed to move it back if we're agreed (it has to be moved back by a sysop and he said he would do it for us). So no edit war needed!  :D fabiform | talk 18:19, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Good. So since you mention that Ed would be ok to put it back at the old title, I do it right now :-) fr0069
I didn't realise you were an administrator. How convenient! I think I've annoyed PoorEd for enough in one day.  :) fabiform | talk 18:26, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Hmmmm, that is a "power" I use less than once a month :-) Done for february then. The number of titles is quite ridiculous :-) I would be glad that Ed edits my text to make it good english (but this title was just grrrrr). Also, there is some stuff missing. Plus, it probably needs cimenting, and organising. Well, there is still a lot to do anyway. fr0069

Your English is exquisitely precise. I comprehend this title was just grrrrr quite clearly! :-) --Edmond Le Pauvre

do you understand bizzzzz as well ?


The Economist article "unfavourable to the ban"?[edit]

Anthere: I've just reread the Economist article. I don't agree with tagging it as "unfavourable to the ban." What bit led to you tagging it as such? - David Gerard 15:18, Feb 21, 2004 (UTC)

issue fixed on irc. ant

Public reaction[edit]

I think that the section on "public reaction" is POV, in the sense that it focuses on adverse reactions, and largely ignores those in favor. Surely that large majority of lawmakers didn't pass an unpopular law, did they? David.Monniaux 07:51, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I agree, the vast majority of public opinion in France since its introduction in 2004 has been in support of the law, as is showed by statistics mentioned in the article itself aswell as elsewhere. Little mention is however made of this fact within this section which does convey the law as if it is somehow unpopular which it clearly is not. Canderra 03:19, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Questions on the law and possible effects[edit]

There are a few issues I'm curious about and am not sure are answered in the article.

What happens if Muslim girls do not attend the public schools because of the ban. Are they allowed to be unschooled? Are they allowed or required to attend a private (presumably Muslim) school? Is it true that Catholic schools are partly funded by the state? Are other religious or private schools funded by the state? How is the issue of "religious obligation" dealt with--i.e., dress which can reasonably argued is non-optional for a religious practitioner (e.g., heads covered outside for Jewish men or turbans for Sikhs)? -- Cecropia | Talk 22:12, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

What happens if Muslim girls do not attend the public schools because of the ban. Are they allowed to be unschooled?

no, it is mandatory up to 16. They can go to a private school accepting them or follow school by postmail
Education is compulsory until the age of 16. This does not imply the children going to a school – home schooling is legally possible, though discouraged. David.Monniaux 22:36, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Are they allowed or required to attend a private (presumably Muslim) school?

They are so few muslim schools that this is hardly an option. Among private schools (the majority of which are catholics), some are funded by the state (and will likely follow the law) and some are not (and may have different interpretations ?)

Is it true that Catholic schools are partly funded by the state?

Some are yes. My kids are in a private school. It is funded by the state. In west of France, half of 6-10 schools are private. Most non funded are terribly expensive
Private schools that apply the same curriculum as public schools and accept certain rules (like not forcing religious education on students) are funded by the state (even some of their personnel is actually state personnel).
Most people who use private schools don't do so out of belief, but because they don't like the public schools in their area. David.Monniaux 22:36, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Are other religious or private schools funded by the state?

Most private schools are catholics right now. Afaik, they accept all kids, regardless of their religion
They actually have to if they want to be funded.
There are publicly-funded protestant and Jewish schools.

How is the issue of "religious obligation" dealt with--i.e., dress which can reasonably argued is non-optional for a religious practitioner (e.g., heads covered outside for Jewish men or turbans for Sikhs)? -- Cecropia | Talk 22:12, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

sorry, did not understand the question really. If you ask how it is dealt in private school...well, some kids in my kids school are head covered. The number of Sikhs is very very limited. SweetLittleFluffyThing
In the U.S., additional consideration is often allowed for issues of "religious obligation." This means that if someone believably must do something for religious reasons, they won't be prevented except for overriding reasons. An example of this is that very religious Jewish men must wear a head covering when outdoors (not necessarily a yarmulka), and must not work on the Sabbath (except in an emergency). It is not considered optional--i.e., an expression of faith, it is deemed a requirement. There was a case in NYC schools (IIRC) of whether Sikh students could carry a small required ceremonial dagger under their clothing, violating weapon laws in school. I don't know how that turned out. To try to put American law in the French context, if Muslim girls wore head coverings to express their religious identity, they could be prevented from doing if it were considered important and non-discriminatory, but if their faith required it, it would create a much more legally difficult situation. -- 23:19, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The reference point on that is the 1789 Declaration
"Article X - No one may be questioned about his opinions, [and the] same [for] religious [opinions], provided that their manifestation does not trouble the public order established by the law."
My understanding is that the government may validly prohibit some religious manifestation (and not some belief) provided that it can make a valid point of maintaining public order (here: avoiding religious quarrels and peer pressure in order to ensure the good workings of public education). As far as I know, the European Court of Human Rights has already followed such reasoning before, for Turkey.
My understanding is that American law creates some kind of exemption from normal rules for religious activities, while France does not. Another point is that the French government does not grant any recognition to any religion [except for Alsace-Moselle and military chaplains], thus determining that something is some "essential religious requirement" and not some "religious display" would be extremely complex (i.e. it's largely a matter of theology, over which different people of the same religion may have different ideas, thus it would somehow imply recognizing some "official" opinion etc...).
I have absolutely no idea as to what reading the courts will make of "conspicuous" and "public order". This may conceivably range from the possibility of banning any visible symbol to only banning symbols used in active prozelytizing. David.Monniaux 23:43, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I don't think there is a significant number of Sikhs in France outside of Paris. To be fair, apparently nobody thought about them until they pointed out possible problems with their beliefs.
Any comment on that is bound to be speculative, since the law is vague, not yet applied, and the executive decisions on it are apparently fairly vague too. Wait until the first disagreements arise. David.Monniaux 22:36, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Question on the 1905 law[edit]

Noting the coincidence of dates, did the Dreyfus affair have any influence on the decision to pass the original law? -- Cecropia | Talk 06:03, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

(I'm not an expert on French Third Republic politics. I think so, to some extent. To summarize, before the First World War, the politics of the Third Republic were polarized between the "clericals" and the "anti-clericals" – the former pushing for the involvement of the Roman Catholic Church in education and politics, the latter wanting a wall of separation. If I remember well, the law of the time was a Concordat regime whereby the French government subsidized the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist and Jewish religions, a regime which is now still current in Alsace-Moselle (and military chaplains, for all I know). Since Roman Catholicism was the religion of the vast majority of the population, it had the lion's share of the support.

Anticlericalism is not, per se, a movement of rejection of religion (though many anticlericals were certainly against religion, i.e. secularists), but only a movement of rejection of the influence of religion and the clergy in the public sphere.

The Catholic right, in those days, tended to be royalist, antisemitic and clerical. The Dreyfus affair was largely a result of cabals mounted by the Catholic right, and a visible episode of this important political struggle.

The 1905 law was one of the last nails in the coffin of clericalism; and I indeed think that the Clerical Right largely decredibilized itself with the Dreyfus Affair.

The last serious action of the reactionary right (nostalgy for royalism, a Catholic, rural society, authoritarianism...) was Vichy France. Their

However, I'm not a historian and I would be more comfortable if somebody more qualified wrote about that. David.Monniaux 16:01, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Here is something I don't understand: you explain who the law is obviously intended to target, but what of those it is not? Can a student, say, lodge a complaint against another student who is wearing a cross or a torrah around their neck? 05:49, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm not a lawyer, but a student who thinks that some other student wears some illegal conspicuous sign of religious belonging can certainly ask the administrative authority (i.e. the school's principal) to apply the law, and in theory can sue in administrative courts if the principal does not act. I don't think this would ever happen. David.Monniaux 06:19, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The above is true, but it's all theoretical. In actuality, the law was meant only to apply to the hijab and other Islamic symbols, which everyone understood perfectly despite the thin legalese cover of "separation of church and state". The reason the law only bans "ostentatious" religious symbols is because that's what Muslim students wear. A strict and puritanical interpretation of secularism would have resulted in banning all religious symbols, not just the headscarf. (talk) 04:55, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Can someone clarify this sentence[edit]

  • if parents force a girl to wear a headscarf, they may pull her out of the schools that might have freed them

I don't understand it: Who is "them" and how are they being "freed"?--Malcohol 12:39, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I suspect that who wrote this text meant that schools, providing a fair and balanced education vested with Republican values, would free girls from patriarcal mores. Or that the intents of those who passed the law were such.
I rephrased the sentence. David.Monniaux 09:17, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Costs of private education[edit]

When you say "families who do not wish to abide by the normal disciplinary rules of public schools can use private schools at moderate costs," what exactly is the cost of most private schools compared to average incomes, or even more interestingly, compared to the incomes of immigrant/Muslim families, etc.? Christopher Parham (talk) 15:07, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

This is a bit of a trick question. Most private schools in France have very low costs compared to private schools in some other countries because they are subsidized. However, prices seem to vary quite a bit. A collège in a suburb of Paris quotes 300€ a year for one student (then things like canteen or full board come on top of that). Since I don't have statistics about prices in general, I prefer not to quote precise numbers.
Immigrant/Muslim families tend to be on the low end of the social ladder, though this of course is a generalization.
I feel a bit uncomfortable writing answers to some of the above questions. They concern areas in which we have few official statistics, if not none. As a consequence, answers are likely to be more like guesswork or partisan propaganda than facts. David.Monniaux 16:41, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
Well presumably, to make the claim that private schools are accessible at moderate costs, we must have some sort of statistics about the costs of private schools. Otherwise what is the source of the statement in the first place? Christopher Parham (talk) 19:42, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

This claim is backed by:

  • The fact that the costs of teaching personnel of almost all private teaching establishments are paid for by the state (in fact, such teaching personnels are state employees)
  • The fact that a significant share of the population, including in not-so-affluent areas, can afford to pay for private schools
  • While I have not been able to fetch global statistics, price quotes range from 300 EUR per year for a child in a suburban Paris college (Moreau), 650 EUR in a private highschool (Sacré-Cœur) in central Amiens, to 1800 EUR at Stanislas, one of the most exclusive and reputed Paris private highschools. The École Alsacienne, in one of the plushiest areas of Paris, quotes 700 EUR per trimester, but unless you want to rub elbow with the children of CAC-40 CEOs and government ministers, you don't go there. A school in Lons-le-Saulnier quotes 185 EUR per year for students of poor families. Thus there is strong evidence to think that the normal costs are in the hundreds of euros per year, below the monthly rental cost of subsidized housing in the Paris region.
  • Officials from the umbrella group of Catholic schools have quoted prices, as said in the article.
  • Children of poor families receive government funds.
  • There is evidence that on several occasions the government paid the costs of private schooling for children who refused to abide by the school rules on religious symbols.

Actually, if we are to discuss the costs of private schooling, one would also have to add that due to the bad employment conditions (thus increased selection for jobs) and to the bad performance of certain public highschools, parents nowadays often pay for supplemental schooling, in addition to normal public schooling, in order to help their children. This is, by all accounts, fairly expensive (costs can be, for instance, 30 EUR per hour for private lessons in Paris by top-class students).

Perhaps "affordable" is not the right term. What I wanted to convey is the idea that the prices of French private schools are not comparable with those of, say, British "public schools" or American private schools, due to the extensive state support that they receive.

I'll reword the sentence. David.Monniaux 08:03, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

  • OK, that seems fine. The main point of relevance, obviously, is to what extent students adversely affected by the law are able to move into schools where the law does not apply. In that light it might be worth expanding on your last bullet point above in the article, if you can get more information on it.
  • While on the topic of the peer review, some other quick points: a few more section breaks would be nice; a couple of the sections, especially the Stasi commission one, are very long blocks of text. Also pictures of some kind would liven things up a bit, perhaps there is one of the commission meeting or of Stasi himself? At worst just one of a French school, perhaps. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:36, 29 September 2005 (UTC)
There are photos of Stasi discussing with Muslim girls etc. but they seem to be copyrighted by press agencies. David.Monniaux 08:14, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
Apart from that, somebody on peer review asks me to make longer paragraphs... :-) David.Monniaux 08:20, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
Longer paragraphs and shorter sections would make the article much more readable. Another point I'm not sure I've mentioned is that it might be worth making a stub for the first link in the article, the first link being red is a bit unattractive. Good job though, it seems ready for FAC. Christopher Parham (talk) 13:41, 30 September 2005 (UTC)


Girls wearing the headscarf were told to sit in separate classrooms, and not have contact with other pupils, while the "negotiation period" of a few weeks went on.

An anonymous editor put this without source. David.Monniaux 11:39, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Also, Many atheists and agnostics were supportive of the move.
Also by anonymous without source. -Cmprince 22:07, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

US English vs British English[edit]

Please don't use this article for this silly little war. :-) David.Monniaux 21:13, 22 October 2005 (UTC)


I strongly object to these words in the article:

The law does not mention any particular symbol, though it is considered by many to specifically target the wearing of headscarves (hijab) by Muslim schoolgirls.

You should mention that this law started out as a way to ban very large religious symbols like the crucifix.

This in no way was meant to target Muslim head dress, though the press later tried to convey that it was.

A little more history on this law would be helpful. LotteryOhYah 01:00, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

You should mention that this law started out as a way to ban very large religious symbols like the crucifix.
I don't think that any significant number of people think that, in France at least. David.Monniaux 06:23, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

It is not possible to say "incidents have occurres" where muslims have gangraped women who refused to wear the headscarf without mentioning a single instance! This is rumour - and as such open to manipulation by widespread racist prejudice against muslims. So I have take off that section JM

Public Reaction[edit]

I deleted the part which said that it was a small protest. Check out the CNN report [3]. One cannot expect the entire country to be marching on roads against the order.The number between 2000 to 8000 is by no means small.Gaurav1146 07:30, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

It is small compared to typical protests for nationwide issues in France. Compare with the sizes cited on French presidential election, 2002. Compare also to the numbers cited for protests on the PACS law. In 1995, there were "routine" protests of 60000 people in Paris against Alain Juppé's social security plan. [4] David.Monniaux 07:44, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
The labour day protest was exceptionally large which u can find out from the comment below the image for the article(Hundreds of thousands of people who normally do not take part in such demonstrations came).The CNN reports it as Europe sees biggest May Day crowds[5] .As for this article, I just want to say that there is no point mentioning that it was a small protest. The numbers have been mentioned ,so leave it to the discretion of the reader to decide whether it was small or large. I havent made changes to the article yet. Waiting for your comments. Gaurav1146 08:04, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't think so. The foreign reader (as you have clearly evidenced by your first edit) may not be acquainted to the typical size of French street protests with respect to national laws. See how, for instance, a "regular" street protest about a plan for changing the social security regime was 60000 people. So, sorry, but a nationwide protest of 8000 is small. (By the way, I wrote the article on the 2002 protests. Normally, they are smaller, but still, they totally dwarf 8000.) Seriously, a street protest in Nice by scientific researchers (thus an extremely small proportion of the population) was attended by 1500-2000 people! [6] I live in Paris and I can tell you that I regularly see protests bigger than 8000!
It is a bit like mentioning prices: you have to provide context, because foreign people may not have an idea of how much people are paid, typical expenses etc. This is why, for instance, the price of private schooling is compared to that of a phone subscription. I do not expect, say, Indian people to know about typical French prices. David.Monniaux 08:22, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Agreed that u have a fairly good knowledge abt the issue, and that was precisely the reason why i didnt remove your edits. BTW I didnt know that every small protest in France was covered by foreign dailies. Probably they are also not aware of the love of the french for protests.;) Anyways considering the fact that Muslims constitute around 10% of the Frech population, 8000 is not a bad figure. Gaurav1146 09:03, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

I was an English assistant expelled in 1998 from a school in Creteil for not removing a turban. The poor boy in the Le Monde article was probably someone different - although I didn't know there were any Sikhs in the academie.

You are right to say that muslims constitute about 10% of the French population but that bring us to the number of about 5 million individuals. Considering the fact that in those demonstrations people were only (or near only) muslims, I dare say that 8000 people is only 0.16% of the french muslims were demonstrated. Sorry to say that does not constitute a impressive number. I also would like to add that we French were in these times, concerned with two french hostages in Irak, Christian Chesnot and George Malbrunot. Demonstrations against the law stopped when young girls said that they were agreed to taking off their veils if it could help to bring back hostages. Lucygure

Distinction between public and [not-so] "private" schools in France[edit]

May a reader point out gratefully that this article explains in a clear and lucid manner a distinction that is very often lost on the general public and rarely reported in the news media? In France, most so-called "private" schools, including most "religious" schools, are in fact heavily subsidised by the State, as long as they agree to teach the national curriculum; such schools are perfectly entitled to offer IN ADDITION to such curriculum any religious instruction that they wish. This is the basis for most "Catholic" schools in France. The law in question only applies to NON-private schools, i.e., so-called "lay" (i.e., entirely unreligious) schools. It is entirely possible for Muslims to attend state-funded "private" (religious) schools and wear whatever religious attire they wish. Ironically, this means that not only can they create Muslim religious schools that are state-funded, but that they can attend "Catholic schools" and wear Muslim religious attire: and this is not only a hypothetical possibility; my [Jewish] son attended a "Catholic" school for several years in the company of several Muslim friends, some of whom did indeed wear the "Islamic scarf".

In short, the distinction in France is not between Muslims and non-Muslims : it is between those who wish to attend a "lay" school from which all religious symbolism is absent, and those who wish to attend a school with a "religious" atmosphere (regardless of which religion(s)). Some of the very inaccurate and biased news reports would lead one to think that what France had done was to outlaw religious garb in any public place! Thanks to those who contributed to this article for setting the record straight.

In addition, there exist government-subsidized lay private schools (such as the École alsacienne in Paris, if I'm not mistaken). David.Monniaux 11:21, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, a school doesn't have to be religious to be private, even if it's often the case. Private schools can hire their staff themselves unlike public schools. Private schools that follow the national curriculum and get subsidies are called "free schools", the term used during the struggle against Mitterrand who wanted to remove their funding. Aesma (talk) 09:41, 21 March 2013 (UTC)


Someone replaced the entire article with zero-IQ bat-hating messages... Me think Wiki should have smartened up long ago to know an article needs to be protected before it is advertized or promoted in any way.

see user:Raul654/protection →Raul654 02:48, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

French title[edit]

Could we include how the French refer to this law in the French language? The corresponding fr: article starts: "La loi sur la laïcité (Loi n° 2004-228 du 15 mars 2004 encadrant, en application du principe de laïcité, le port de signes ou de tenues manifestant une appartenance religieuse dans les écoles, collèges et lycées publics)..." — Matt Crypto 00:04, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Some helpful person has added this. Could anyone provide a translation? (Some people are just never satisfied...) — Matt Crypto 21:30, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

The French title translated gives "Law on secularism - Act of 15 March 2004 governing, in application of the principle of secularsm, the wearing of signs or clothing showing religious belief in primary and secondary schools." Johncmullen1960 15:00, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Hijab clarification[edit]

I changed khimar to hijab, since (1) the former redirects to the latter, and (2) most people know the broader term hijab but not the far less common khimar. However,' I also put in the more correct term (khimar). El T 02:45, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

I think it is important to emphasise the correct term - 'hijab' is roughly equivalent 'modesty' in english, of which there can be internal modesty as an attitude, and outward expresions of modesty. See sartorial hijab for examples of common interpretations of 'modesty' in an Islamic context.

A headscarf/khimar is one particular interpretation. The Koran itself does not explicitly say that a headscarf is required, and in fact many Muslims do not wear a headscarf. It is POV to suggest that the headscarf 'is' the hijab, which is why I changed the link to refer only to the correct term. Anyone clicking on the link would end up on the hiab page anyway, and could then read about the distinction between hijab as a concept and Koranic duty, and khimar as a particular item of clothing which some believe to be a requirement in order to fulfill the duy of hijab.

The difference might be equivalent to saying 'to be modest, you must cover your genitals' and then referring to trousers as 'modesty' when in fact other coverings are acceptable, for example shorts, which cover less, but do still cover what is require to be covered...

I think the confusion arises from two things. First, the difficulty some non-Muslim English speakers have with Arabic words and grasping concepts in a religion which may be alient to their culture, and secondly, the higher visibility of the style of dress among Muslims of a more conservative pursuasion. I can see why it might be that a garment can be confused with a concept, but when the words are translated into English equivalents, it becomes a lot clearer.

The Hijab article does explain this very well, which is why I think it is appropriate to use the correct term, and allow the fact that it links to the common misunderstanding as a useful 'feature'.

There are some clarifications further down in this article too. I think that is enough.

Phil webster 09:14, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Given that hijab has taken on a meaning of its own in English as used by Muslims and non-Muslims alike (as explained at the top of the hijab article), I'm not totally sure about preferring "khimar", since to do so is effectively an attempt to redefine the term, which is explicitly not what Wikipedia should be doing.
Having said that, it's good that khimar links to sartorial hijab. El T 09:51, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
I would say the opposite - calling a khimar 'hijab' is redefinition. The use of 'hijab' to mean 'khimar' is rather unfortunate. For example, to say to a Muslim that 'hijab' as a concept is now forbidden would be rather outrageous. Muslim schoolgirls can stil be modest, both in behaviour and appearance. I would expect that Muslim girls are not being forced to wear skirts, for example. But to state that it is in fact only the headscarf (khimar) which is forbidden is a different matter altogether.
Because of the huge potential for misunderstanding, I do think it is appropriate to make the distinction. It makes the point clearer, and it could in turn leads people to take a more enlightened approach to the subject through education.
After all, this is what a good encyclopaedia is for. Phil webster 10:19, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
When a term comes from one language into another, it frequently changes meaning. The correct meaning is the one in the language being spoken, not the language of origin. El T 01:08, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

"Hijab is banned in France"[edit]

In many talk shows these last few days, I have heard people saying that hijab is banned in France, voluntarily forgetting to clarify that it is a law only for schools. They put that in parallel to the fact that the Muhammad cartoons are allowed. How many people in the world do believe that indeed hijab is totally forbidden in France ? Hektor 19:41, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

For interest note that a recent poll asked people if they thought the hijab should be banned IN THE STREETS. I am pretty sure it was about 40% in favour ( 47% of far left sympathisers!!!)Johncmullen1960 20:24, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Breadth of Author's Information[edit]

The article portrays the debate on laïcité that has been entangling French politics with religious and social issues for the past twenty years in a light that exposes all the elements of the ordeal, from the perspective of the minorities affected by the exclusion of religious symbols from the public school environment, as well as from the majority opin-ion that the French State must remain exclusively secular, to the point where any expres-sion of Faith that is believed to inhibit one’s ability to learn and participate fully in the classroom is banned. Additionally, the problem fuels the popular fear that the presence of religious symbols imposes one’s private religious values upon France’s secular commu-nity.

Furthermore, the author has taken the precaution of defining the terminology found within the context of the law and the ensuing controversy, namely the dominant French policy of laïcité, their legal separation of Church and State, ensuring that the pub-lic domain supported by the French government remains secular and that the Church re-tains its role in French society without interference from the State in their private affairs.

For the most part, the author has conveyed an impartial interpretation of the de-bate, framing it within the arguments of both the supporters and detractors of the French law banning Islamic headscarves, as well as visible apparel of other religious sects in French society. The author cites sources from the government ombudsman and councils appointed by President Chirac in 2004 to evaluate the role of laïcité in determining the legality of religious apparel in public schools, along with other resources from interna-tional organizations and religious groups that have denounced the law as an infringement upon fundamental civil liberties.

Subsequently, the author depicts convincingly the overwhelming popularity of the new law, as polls conducted by the AFP and other reputable organizations have shown. Likewise, the author illustrates how the opposition has only appeared in relatively small numbers, mainly from the affected classes, such as the Islamic population in France. No-ticeably, whenever the author refers to the criticism of the law, the author uses the sub-ject, “some,” thus diminishing the people’s support for the opposition’s arguments. If only “some” of the world is actively criticizing the course of legislation taken by the French government in the past five years, then we can assume the majority has consented to its existence.

Interestingly, the author notes that the Jewish population has, for the most part, accepted the new law, in hopes that the secularization of their children in the public school system will reduce the amount of anti-Semitic violence toward them. This positive attitude in support of the law demonstrates a diametrically different line of reasoning than the Islamic view. Whereas the Islamic detractors perceive this curtailment of physical religious expression to be discriminatory, aiming to limit and belittle the Moslem, the Jewish community has, the author asserts, viewed this as a way to broaden and improve the lot of Jewish children within the public school system, where they have previously met with intimidation and gang violence.

Also worthy of note is the author’s information concerning the European Union’s stance on France’s political decisions, its potential to influence them and how when it determines the legality of French laws, what effect this has on the other member nations of the Union and their respective legal codes. In this way, French legal tradition has a method of permeating into Western sociopolitical thought, yet the opportunity also arises for the European Union to encounter and adopt or confront the French concept of laïcité and the extent to which it is applicable to other societies.

Overall, the author has played the issue within the concept of laïcité in France since its inception in 1905, and how French society has determined the parameters of the concept and laws which the State passes in order to enforce, expand and secularize the civic sphere of the French Republic. From the early days of the French State, through the travails and anti-clericism of the French Revolution, the author paints a progression of the Church-State issue to today, when France now faces the additional burden to the issue with the rising tide of immigration into France from Islamic countries and other regions where religious values blend with the social roles of the individual and the state.

There's isn't one single "author"; it's a collaborative effort. AnonMoos 17:50, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Duplicated section[edit]

The "History section" seems to be pretty much included twice. AnonMoos 17:50, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

"Gang" violence[edit]

"French Jews have not expressed significant opposition to the law. Some think that Jewish people hope that such a law will prove a step in the direction of less gang violence toward Jewish boys, which has occurred in past years.". Huh? I don't realy understand the meaning of this sentence. Do you mean that because they are not allowed to wear the kippah anymore, jewish boys cannot be regnogized as this and won't be violented for antisemitic reasons ? If you mean so it is stupid because there are very few jewish boys wearing the kippa at school anyway, and antisemitic violence do not needs kippas to regognize a jew. Or do you mean that because muslmi girls are not allowed anymore to wear the hijab, gangs will stop beating jewish boys ? If you mean so it is more stupid, because I do not see any connection between "gangs" and muslim girls. So, do someone have an explaination ?

Well for one, the sentence is screwed up gramatically. I guess that what they were saying is that it is speculated that the Jewish population welcomes it, hoping for less violence. But there's one thing; after seeing a student wearing a kippah, their classmates will know their religious affilation. When the new law comes into play and kippahs are not permitted, they'll still know that the student is Jewish! There won't be any brainwashing, nothing will have changed except the student won't be allowed his/her natural right of freedom of expression. The people that wish to do harm to the Jewish students will still know who's who, and there will still be violence. Hence, that acheives nothing. 21:19, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

When did it pass the Senate? Or didn't it?[edit]


I'm far from an expert on the French political system, but is this system comparable to that in the USA and elsewhere? I mean, did Chirac's proposed law have to be approved by both the lower house(=national assembly) and the French senate? The latter doesn't seem to be mentioned? I'm totally confused... Can anyone clarify? Thanks! Evilbu 20:21, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Passed the Senate on March 3, 2004. In France, in general (but not always) Senate debates and votes attract much less attention, because the Senate has less power than the Assembly and the really intense debates take place in the Assembly.
By the way, technically speaking, Chirac did not formally propose the law; the Government (the ministers) did. David.Monniaux 12:25, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
So the senate passed it before the national assembly. Even though you say it attracts less attention... it's still not gonna happen if the senate doesn't vote in favour of it right? Should the article include that date too? Apparently the French system is more complicated than that of the USA, seeing they have a bicameral parliament, a president and a government...

The sequence of events as seen from the Senate's site: The law passed the Assembly on February 10, 2004; passed the Senate on March 3; was signed into law by president Chirac on March 15 (if I understand it correctly); was published in JORF on March 17.

By the way, there was, I think, no doubt that the law would be voted. Both the Senate and the Assembly were from the same majority as the executive. There's no way that they would have voted down a high profile bill proposed by the executive (there was no business interest to justify behind the scenes dealings as for DADVSI).

In addition, since the Assembly can overrule the Senate in some circumstances, the opinion of the Senate may matter little. David.Monniaux 13:43, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

separation of church and state[edit]

The article is very good overall. One suggestion: "Since 1905, France has had a law requiring separation of church and state, prohibiting the state from recognising or funding any religion." I think this is inaccurate. Though the 1905 law is called "separation," it doesn't separate in the American sense of preventing the state from funding religions. In fact, through this law, the state took over the property of churches and assumed responsibility for the upkeep of this property (church buildings, etc.). I also believe that the 1905 law provides for the state support of members of the clergy. Also, the French state supports private religious schools. In sum, whatever "separation" means in France, it's different from what it means in the U.S. But the quote I cited fudges this distinction. My intuition is that "separation" in France means prevening religions from gaining political power. Since property is a basis of political power (from a French standpoint), the state keeps religion out of politics by administering its property. In the U.S., separation means that the government permits religions to function independently, to acquire property, etc. Daniel Gordon

I also believe that the 1905 law provides for the state support of members of the clergy.
No, it explicitly states that the State does not salary any religion. (But see Alsace-Moselle for the main exception, and there also are military chaplains.)
Religious buildings built past 1905 by any religion, or built before that by religions outside of the official ones (Catholicism, Judaism, Protestantism), are private property. The thing is, the buildings operated in 1905 by the former official religions had been taxpayer-funded; this is one justification why they should be public property. Religious organizations are not precluded in any way from owning property. David.Monniaux 02:21, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Religious Symbol?[edit]

Let us get one point straight, shall we. The Hijab is an article of clothing, it is not a religious symbol!Unfortunately the hijab is still called a religious symbol in the western media. I know not whether this intentional or not, but the end effect is belittling what the hijab is. It is a cover, like the blouse or the dress. To a muslim women, if you see her head, you have seen a part that you should not see. Like in the western culture where seeing the women's chest would be seeing something you should not see. Are western women allowed to walk around topeless? Imagine a nudist colony calling a wsetern women's shirt a religious symbol.

In reality all this boils down to is our standards against theirs. Anything beyond the western standards is a 'symbol' of some kind, an excess that tolerates consent (like the covering of the head), and anything below the western standards (being topless) is immoral or wrong and cannot possibly tolerate consent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:28, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

percentage of public and private schools[edit]

please write percentage of public and private schools. because it is needed to understand how much is it possible to use private school, because it can be far and changing home can be needed and even in some town may be no private schools. says: There’s a wide range of private schools (écoles privées) in France, including parochial (mostly Catholic) schools, bilingual schools, international schools and a variety of foreign schools, including US and British schools. Together they educate around 15 per cent of French children.--Qdinar (talk) 14:35, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

"some shaving their hair" - it does not help! that phrase is like mockery[edit]

"some shaving their hair" - it does not help! that phrase is like mockery. shaving hair does not allow to do not wear headscarf.--Qdinar (talk) 14:06, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

The article's title should say "state-run schools"[edit]

Many people fail to realize that only state-run schools are involved, and the current title keeps the ambiguity...--Jules.LT (talk) 17:32, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Civil Constitution of the Clergy[edit]

The Roman Catholic Church was the dominating religion until the Revolution of 1789, when the revolutionaries sought to overthrow not only the monarchy and its supporters, but also the whole social and political system, including the Church. Although the Church survived the revolution, according to the ideology of the new republic it could no longer remain a separate estate with its own possessions. Therefore, the new government confiscated the land and assets belonging to the Church and auctioned them off to help resolve the financial problems that had led to the revolution. The state also attempted a huge restructuring of the Church hierarchy and demanded that the clergy swear allegiance to the French government ahead of the Church. Only a small percentage of priests complied with this request,[citation needed] but nevertheless this attempt to bring the Catholic Church under state control can be seen as the beginning of the development of secularism in France.

As a description of the events of 1790, this lacks both neutrality and accuracy. The National Assembly did not conduct an entire revolution of the structure of society; they confiscated Church land to pay the national debt. (If they had, what would have been left for the Jacobins of 1793 to do?)

The phrase "can be seen" is another flare-lit tipoff. Eschew.

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Changing the title to "French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in public schools"[edit]

Is that a good idea? The current title is misleading IMHO. --RaphaelQS (talk) 15:35, 29 March 2016 (UTC)

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Ash Wednesday, bindi and hair[edit]

Our article doesn't seem to mention this even though it seems to me something which would come up a lot. Do schools generally allow people to have crosses on their foreheads during Ash Wednesday? The location etc seems to make it a particularly conspicuous symbol, of course it's only generally for one day. The law doesn't seem to concern itself with frequency only how conspicuous the symbol is although I would imagine some principals could give a warning but allow it and repeat that every year.

What about the Bindi (decoration)? (Something which would come up a lot less but probably still worth adding to the article if it can be source.)

And do French schools generally have restrictions on hair length for boys? If they don't and also for teachers etc, is hair length ever a problem for Sikh boys and men who don't wear a turban but also want to follow Kesh (Sikhism) as far as practiable so don't cut their hair? What about wearing their hair in a Joora? I would imagine tucking the Kangha (Sikhism) into the Joora would be a problem but it could be kept on the body. I don't know how much detail we should cover in the article, but it would seem some may choice this route as it would still allow wearing a Dastar etc outside school and considering that long skirts have been a problem I wonder if this has also been an issue. In English, I imagine "wearing of symbols or garb" would only cover the Kangha and not hair length or whether it's tied into a knot, but translation is often tricky so the meaning might be subtly different. P.S. I think I've used terms correctly and in a non-offensive way but apologies if I made any mistakes. If hair is a problem, I wonder if this extends to things like shaving the hair.

Nil Einne (talk) 13:15, 11 March 2017 (UTC)