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Headscarf Debate Divides France
News Bytes 10/31/2019 29 Comments

On October 11, a French official disrupted a council meeting. He demanded that a Muslim woman remove her headscarf, “in the name of our secular principles.” The scene has triggered a national debate over the headscarf, Islam, and secularism.

France is in a decades-long battle with itself over the country’s secularism. The French constitution guaranteed secularism more than a century ago. It meant to create a government that is neutral about religions. But some feel it is being used to suppress religion from French daily life.

Christians realize that God cannot be separated from any part of life. “All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)

Some say French secularism has become an excuse for mistreating minorities like Muslims. Nicolas Cadene is an official in the government’s Observatory of Secularism. He sees French society dividing. Some citizens are increasingly turning from religion. Others, chiefly Muslims, are growing more visible for embracing their religion.

Cadene also believes the headscarf debate reveals confusion over the 1905 law that separates church and state. He says the law isn’t meant to protect a “white and of Catholic culture” like some seem to insist.

Islam is the second largest religion in the mostly Catholic nation. Many citizens view France’s Muslim population as intruders. They fear Islam threatens the French way of life, including their beloved secularism.

Fifteen years ago, France forbid students from wearing “ostentatious” religious signs in classrooms. Seven years later, France outlawed face-covering veils in French streets.

The mother singled out at the council meeting is known as Fatima E. She says her son wanted her to attend his class meeting. He cried when the man yelled at his mother.

“He felt everyone was against me,” she says. “I felt a rejection I’ve never felt before.”

At five months before public elections, politicians on both sides are taking up today’s debate. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen calls the Muslim headscarf a “political weapon” and “an infraction of secularism.” Meanwhile, France’s President Emmanuel Macron says, “The wearing of a veil (head covering) in public spaces is not my affair.”

The French Senate approved a bill Tuesday that requires women wearing headscarves to remove them when attending school outings.

(Mannequins with veils on display at an exhibition hall for the Muslim World Fair in Le Bourget, outside Paris. AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

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Most recent comments

This could make some people

This could make some people even more determined to cling to Islam. However, I don't think that France is all in the right here; it is wrong to suppress all religion. I will be praying for this situation.

Which side?

I agree with Lena P. While Islam is not a thing I support, it is utterly ridiculous to FORCE a person to give something of they're religion up. I feel horrible for these muslim women, and I have mixed feelings about this. It must have been horrible for that little boy to see his mother be yelled at. : ( But this is also giving the muslim's a HORRIBLE example of Christianity!! How will they feel about this? I am praying.

This is Massimo A

I agree with Carys

Bad example.

I agree with Carys. Muslim people consider anyone who is not Muslim to be christian. They should have freedom of religion.
This is Nadia.

I agree with Carys.

I agree with Carys.
People should be able to do what they want, thought obviously I don't agree with Islam ,I don't think people should be forced to give up what they believe!

Off Topic

Has anyone read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson? I'm reading it for school it's pretty good!!
I'm also reading Bruchko by Bruce Olson for school it's a missionary book also really good!!

To above

No I haven't. Doesn't it have something to do with pirates? I think iv heard of it.

@ Carsy

I don't think they are were Christians.

To Above @ Carys

The one who yelled at the woman.

head scarf

that is so wrong! it like Gods not dead 1 and 2 but with Muslims. I am obviously not a Muslim but if I was I would be outraged. people have the freedom to religion, why can't the lady wear head scarfs?
P.S. kinda off subject but, if you are looking for a good book try animal farm. its great. and I have read treasure island.

@ Porter

What's treasure island about?


It's about a boy and his parents who run an inn when one day a mysterious pirate arrives.....
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson tells the story of Jim, a young boy who watches over an inn in an English seaside town with his mother and his gravely ill father. A new guest at the inn, Bill, terrifies everyone at the inn with his raunchy sea songs and threats of violence.

To Above

:O oh. I don't think I would read that. :-) :-) but you can.:-)

@Porter E

Animal Farm is by George Orwell right?

I remember this

My family and i used to live in France. I remember how you'd be walking down the street or in the store and you'd see it everywhere. I had some friends in school who followed islam.

@Lily S

Cool how long did you live in France?

@ Beth H

15 months.

@ Carys M



Where do you live now?

@ Lily

So do you speak French?

Who has watched God's Not

Who has watched God's Not Dead?

To Above

I haven't its at my church to barow but my parents say its not for kids.


I have it's pretty good.

Yeah it's good.

Yeah it's good.

@ Beth H

Yeah it's good


A lot of people are typing:"


A lot of people are typing:"I agree with _________( insert name here) especially Carys

@ Gloriana

Haha, that's because. Carys normally rights exactly what I was going to say!,
Also I agree with you!!

@ Porter

I've got animal farm but i haven't read it yet. I haven't read treasure island either.

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