Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday December 19, 2003
The religion of State
French President Jacques Chirac said today that a law is necessary to ban the Islamic headscarf and other religious insignia from the classroom.
“The Islamic veil – whatever name we give it – the kippa and a cross that is of manifestly excessive dimensions: these have no place in the precincts of state schools. State schools will remain secular. For that a law is necessary,” he told a selected audience at the Elysee palace.
The president was giving his verdict on the findings of the so-called Stasi committee of experts which recommended last week a ban on “conspicuous” insignia in schools.
He said the law should be in effect by the start of the next school year in September 2004.
The president rejected a second committee recommendation under which the Muslim Eid el-Kebir and the Jewish Yom Kippur would be introduced as annual holidays in state schools. (CP)