Source: The Guardian
On November 14, 2003 The Guardian reported, "France edged a step closer yesterday to outlawing Muslim veils in schools after a cross-party commission of MPs [Members of Parilament] backed legislation to ban all visible symbols of religious conviction from state-run institutions. The decision by the 31-member commission is sure to inflame an already heated debate that cuts to the core of one of France's most pressing problems: how far the secular republic can accommodate the demands of Islam. Or, put more bluntly, is being Muslim compatible with being French? The question is a vital one. With more than 5 million followers in France, an increasingly outspoken Islam - now tainted, rightly or wrongly, in the public mind by notions of fundamentalism and terrorism - has become the country's second-largest religion."