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French row over plan to swap Christian holidays
by Dan MacGuill
A French official has stoked controversy this week by suggesting some of France's Christian holidays should be removed and replaced with a national day off for the Jewish and Muslim festivals of Yom Kippur and Eid.
Despite France's long and often rigid tradition of church-state separation, a strict form of secularism known as "laïcité," the French working calendar is dotted with several national holidays based on Christian festivals.
That state of affairs has for years angered strict secularists and atheists, as well as Muslims, Jews and members of other religious faiths, whose holidays are not similarly recognized by the French state.
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