Ban of Religious Symbols Passes; Potential to Divide Country Rather than Unite

February 11, 2004

Source: BBC News

On February 11, 2004 the BBC News reported, "As expected, the French parliament has voted in favour of a new law to ban the wearing of Islamic headscarves in schools. And despite mass protests by French Muslims in recent weeks, the ban won by a landslide...After months of public debate, the vote in parliament was a brief affair. Just five minutes for each party to sum up their position on this controversial new law. Then, the vote itself - passed by 494 votes in favour, with just 36 against. This means that as long as it is approved by the upper house next month, the new law will come into effect in September, banning all obvious religious symbols from schools...Yet others warn that far from uniting the country, this new measure will divide it more than ever."