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French secularism and the ban of religious symbols in public places - Essay Example

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French Secularism and the Banning of Religious Symbols in Public Places Name Lecturer Course University Date Introduction The controversial French law prohibiting the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols in public schools passed in and signed March 2004,and subsequently came into effect in September 2004, caused a lot of stir all over the globe for number of reasons…
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French secularism and the ban of religious symbols in public places
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Download file to see previous pages The French law does not particularly mention the religious symbol, but most people are of the opinion that the law was targeting the veil worn by Muslim women. The law seemed to have stemmed from a controversial occurrence that happened in 1989 and 1994; in 1989, three female students were expelled from schools for declining to remove their hijabs (veil). In 1994, the minister in charge decreed that that ostentatious symbols’ were to be banned in public schools around the country, but discreet symbols were to be allowed to the discretion of the school or the teacher in charge. The Muslims in France France has the largest number of Muslims in Europe, the population of Muslims in the country stand at about 5 to 6 million, representing approximately 8.3% of the French population (Lenze, 2013). Majority of the Islamic population in France are moderate, but there are fundamentalist, the headscarf worn by Muslim schoolgirls is a symbol of the Islamic religion and culture and it is woven into the Muslim society all over the globe. Researchers have often enquired into the reasons for the lack of integration into the entire French society, and the reasons why the emerging generations are drifting towards fundamentalist Islam. Writers have often pondered on the reasons why the community cannot be integrated into the French secular society (Sarat, 2011). The Secular State France is founded on the principle of cuius regio eius regio this means that what the leader believes so should the subjects, even though the state disowns religious adherence (Herb and Kaplan, 2008).  Religion is very important to the secular state, although the state has the ultimate power to interpret the significance of certain signs and symbols. This particularly implied that the veil worn by Muslim women and girls was taken to be a religious sign, this being in contradiction to the secular principles of the French society. It has often been stated by Muslim clerics that the wearing of the headscarf by women in public places is a religious duty (Valsiner and Rosa, 2007).  The wearer of the veil assumes the obligation bestowed upon her by the Islamic faith , and in addition the state should realize the fundamental human right, that if a person’s conscience compels one to wear the veil they should be allowed only to the extent that they do not violate other people’s right. The law on the on the other hand merely depict the veils as symbols and signs without determining the reasons why Muslim women wear them. The principle of a secular state may have an implied meaning that reflects on a state that is not bounded by any religious belief but it allows her citizens to assume any they deem fit. However, the law banning of wearing scarves in public places seemed to be intoned on forcing the citizens of the French republics to be secular (Jones, 2011). This perception was cemented by a top European court ruling after a case was brought before it pitting two French Muslim girls versus the state (D W, 2008). According to the law, secularism does not contend on the religion being restricted to the secrecy of integrity, to its being deprived of public views ( Graff, 2004). It merely implies that only the free expression of the religious signs is a major component of the liberty. Therefore, a fundamental question that arises is that in any secular state such the one in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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