Opposition to Ban of Religious Symbols a Minority Position

February 1, 2004

Source: The Guardian


On February 1, 2004 The Guardian ran a story from The Observer on the division in France over the headscarf ban: "[Jamila] Farouk, a 30-year-old office assistant, believes the law banning 'ostensive' signs of religious affiliation in schools - which is likely to be passed with cross-party support by the French parliament this week - is a deliberate attempt to marginalise Muslims. Farouk and the campaign group to which she belongs, Le Mouvement pour la Justice et la Dignité (Movement for Justice and Dignity), are in the minority, even among Muslims. They are calling for a second demonstration against the law next Saturday. The first protest, on 17 January, drew fewer than 20,000 people. By a crushing majority - up to 70 per cent in some surveys - the French want the new legislation. Even though 'ostensive signs of religious affiliation' in the draft law covers Jewish skullcaps and 'manifestly excessive' Christian crosses, few pretend that its real target is anything other than the Muslim headscarf."