Reactions to Proposed Ban of Religious Symbols Vary; Ban Could Extend to Workplace

December 19, 2003

Source: The Washington Post

On December 19, 2003 The Washington Post ran an article on the reactions and possible consequences of the proposed law in France that would ban "conspicious religious symbols" from public schools, citing some Muslims who agreed with the proposal to keep religion "private" and "in the home." The article went on to say, "Outside Paris's main mosque, in a tranquil neighborhood of the Latin Quarter, unsigned leaflets appeared during Friday services urging Muslims to turn out on Sunday to protest the proposed law...Chirac also called on his social affairs minister to begin consulting businesses about whether to introduce a law that would also allow workplaces to ban head scarves and other overt religious symbols. That would require changing the current work code's anti-discrimination provision, which now forbids firing or disciplining employees for religious reasons...The 3,000 Sikhs living in France will also be affected by the new rule, since Sikh boys from the age of 8 do not cut their hair, and their distinctive turbans are a sign of purity."