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Ten Years On: The Ban on the Muslim Veil in France Raises Continuing Questions
by Bilal Talidi
The report published by the newspaper le Monde on the 10th anniversary of France's ban on the Muslim veil in public educational institutions in France deserves to be read and meditated to draw the main conclusion on the French model of secularism in facilitating discrimination against Muslims.
The editors of the report confirm that there has been wide compliance with the French law banning the wearing of the hijab by Muslim girls in public schools. However, that result does not mean that the law has addressed or resolved the problems it was intended to address, and in fact it may have created more problems. Indeed, the choices for girls are limited: girls either choose to adhere to their faith and permanently abandon their studies as has happened in some rare cases, or they move to private institutions with all of the related financial burdens, or they study by correspondence, or, finally, they comply with the law by removing the veil, and put it on again at the end of the academic term.
The effects of this law have not been limited to public educational institutions, but have expanded into the whole public space. This broadening of the ban occurred in 2010 with new laws adopted in secular Europe, banning the Muslim veil in public places.
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