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The Headscarf ControversySecularism and Freedom of Religion$
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Hilal Elver

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769292

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199769292.001.0001

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(p.111) 6France
The Headscarf Controversy

Hilal Elver

Oxford University Press

This chapter is about French politics and law against headscarf use. Socio economic conditions of French Muslims and France’s colonial past, the ideology of cultural assimilation and strictly implemented laicite principle of the Republic provided a special circumstances for Muslim in France different than rest of the Europe. Especially, French concept of laicite is an important component of the current headscarf debate. Besides Turkey, France is the first country in Europe that a major headscarf controversy took place, and received global attention. The French law of 2004 that prohibited religious symbols from public middle and high schools is an important turning point in Europe as the first legislative action against Muslim school children, more so than other minority religions. The Chapter end with the discussion on the new law that prohibits Islamic dress (burqa) from public space.

Keywords:   french laicite, france colonial past in relation to magreb, stasi commission, burqa debate

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