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Headscarves in France

Reader comment on item: Reflections on the Revolution in France*

Submitted by Sidda (United States), Nov 10, 2005 at 16:17

I often hear people comment that the French were being racists by not allowing the headscarves in public schools in France. My mother is French, and I still have family in France, and I have heard another side of the story from them. One of my cousins is a teacher. She said that the extremists were using the headscarves as a political issue; students who did not choose to wear the headscarf were being harrassed and even assaulted by these guys, and it was very disruptive in the schools. Girls are allowed to wear the headscarf anywhere they want, just not in the schools. So as not to be discriminatory, Sikh turbans, Jewish caps, and crosses were also banned. Too bad since it wasn't the Sikhs, Jews, or Christians who were causing the disruption, but that's the way it is.

I live in an area where there are many Mennonite and Amish people. They have a very distinct culture; they have their own way of dressing, and the Amish don't even use electricity or drive cars. However, as different as they are, they never have posed any problem and are valued and productive members of our community. They just quietly live their lives and don't make a big deal out of their beliefs. Everyone accepts them. They don't use their dress to be "in your face" and make a political statement.
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