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Constitutional Secularism in an Age of Religious Revival$
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Susanna Mancini and Michel Rosenfeld

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660384

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660384.001.0001

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Headscarf versus Burqa

Headscarf versus Burqa

Two French Bans with Different Meanings

(p.195) 11 Headscarf versus Burqa
Constitutional Secularism in an Age of Religious Revival

Patrick Weil

Oxford University Press

In 2004, the French Parliament enacted a law banning the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols in public schools. Coming at the conclusion of a public and open debate, it was supported by school principals, teachers and the parents of many Muslim female students. Its main aim was liberal: the protection of minor children—particularly female students—against pressure from their peers. It was limited to public schools, leaving those girls who wished to keep wearing the veil with an alternative, which was usually that of a private school under contract with the state. Frustrated by the limited scope of the 2004 ban, fueled either by an anti-religious or non-religious social mood and occasionally by Islamophobia, the 2010 ban on the burqa is of a different nature. It is aimed at adults, who pressure no one, in the freest public space—the street. Its radical character offers believers no alternative. It is mainly an attempt to politicize against a rising phenomenon: the integration of Islam in France, within the boundaries of French laïcité, through local accommodations and courts decisions

Keywords:   accomodation, ban, France, laicité, liberal, schools, female students, religious symbols, veil

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