It seems probable that people will not be allowed to wear Muslim headscarves and other religious symbols in French schools and other public buildings after a special commission published its report last week. The government argues that a law is needed to protect France`s secular traditions and to unable rising of Islamic fundamentalism. The ban would also apply to Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses.

The report also recommended that the laws should require that all public service employees "should be strictly neutral”. According to some reports, some Muslim women had demanded that their husbands should be with them at all times in hospital and would accept only female doctors. The new laws must remind all health service users that "it is forbidden to reject a healthcare worker, and that everyone must respect the rules of hygiene". However, the Jewish and Muslim holy days of Yom Kippur and Eid should be made official school holidays, and companies should allow their employees a day off during the religious holiday of their choice as an example of respecting religious diversity.

Despite this, France has been widely condemned in the Arab and Muslim world, where thousands of angry protesters from Beirut to Baghdad showed their indignation and opposition to a headscarf ban.

France is known as Western Europe`s largest Muslim community with 5 million Muslims. Many believe that banning headscarves is a direct way to exclude Muslim girls from public schools.

People in multicultural societies like Britain or the USA might think that it was strange, or even absurd, to introduce a law to protect secularism, especially as its main aim seems to be to deal with the increasing number of Muslim girls wanting to wear headscarves at school. In France, however, secularism is guaranteed by the constitution and, in the eyes of the republic, everyone is supposed to be equally French whatever their religion or ethnic origin. It is believed that the proposed law was to preserve constitutional secularism and to oppose "forces trying to destabilise the republic", in other words Islamic fundamentalism. Sociologists, however, see the law as "the beginning of the problem."

"I believe that even those who do not wear the headscarf will feel offended," a Muslim girl says.

"Instead of fighting against Islamic radicalism, it might encourage it," she observes. But some other Muslims here believe the key to successful integration is to live the values of their adopted land.

"I arrived in France and adapted to this country," said 65-year-old Telly Naar, who came from Morocco 40 years ago.
"Each should be able to practice religion at home. If one wants to wear the headscarf outside, fine, but not inside a school that is secular."

So the views of people stay opposite as well as the answer to the question: ‘How to make peace between religion and secularism?’’

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