Government Considers Recognizing Muslim and Jewish Holidays

January 2, 2004

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel,0,2158551.story

On January 2, 2004 the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported, "France is considering breaking centuries of European tradition by making an Islamic feast and a Jewish holy day official school holidays, making official something that had become a de facto tradition across much of the continent. Surprisingly, the idea came from a government commission aiming to bolster the official separation of church and state. Its report also suggested banning Muslim veils, Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses in public schools. The suggestion was so unexpected that Muslim and Jewish leaders seemed embarrassed by the special treatment. But the political need to cushion the blow of a veil ban could lead the French to set an unexpected precedent in the Western world...'France will be the first non-Muslim country to recognize Eid al-Fitr and the only country apart from Israel to celebrate Yom Kippur,' said Patrick Weil, a member of the special commission that proposed the new holidays."