Posted by: becketfund | October 9, 2008

France: Recent Decisions on Religious Apparel

PARIS – Louis Schweitzer, the head of France’s government anti-discrimination agency (HALDA), ruled in September that it was acceptable to ban women wearing the burqa and niqab from state-sponsored French language classes for immigrants, USA Today reported on October 9. Under French law, language classes are often required in order to apply for French residency or citizenship. Schweitzer said in an interview with the Catholic daily La Croix, published on October 9 that “Religious freedom is not absolute,” and he said that authorities are trying to find “the most reasonable compromise.” A controversial 2003 law banned students from wearing apparel with religious connotations, like the Muslim headscarf, Jewish skull cap and large Christian crosses, in public schools.

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