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French draft law aims to ban hijab for child minders

16 February 2012 General 52 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Djamila, a childcare assistant, said it is “absolutely not her role” to speak of religion with kids. (Photo courtesy of Rue89)

Djamila, a childcare assistant, said it is “absolutely not her role” to speak of religion with kids. (Photo courtesy of Rue89)

The controversy surrounding the Islamic headscarf in France is making headlines again as the French National Assembly studies a draft law that will ban religious symbols in all facilities catering for children, including nannies and childcare assistants looking after children at home.

The draft law was approved by the French Senate with a large majority on Jan. 17 and it was sent to the National Assembly to be ratified before being signed it into law by the president.

“Unless otherwise specified in a contract with the individual employer, a childcare assistant is subject to an obligation of neutrality in religious matters in the course of childcare activity,” reads the text of the draft law introduced by Françoise Laborde, a senator from the Radical Party of the Left.

“Parents have the right to want a nanny who is neutral from a religious perspective,” the left-wing senator was quoted as saying by ANSAmed news agency.

Critics of the draft law say Laborde is targeting Muslim nannies and childcare assistants.

The senator said that she was “encouraged to act” after a private nursery, Baby Loup, fired an employee who refused to remove her Islamic headscarf.

In Oct. 27, 2011, the appeals court in Versailles upheld the decision to expel the employee as lawful.

“The recent ruling of the Court of Appeal of Versailles in favor of Baby Loup is in the right direction, and I hope that this case is translated into law,” Laborde said in December 20011.

Djamila, a childcare assistant, told Rue89 French website it is “absolutely not her role” to speak of religion with kids.

“We look after children of younger three years. Can you you tell me what can they understand at that age?”

An analyst in secularism, Jean Baubérot, wrote in a blog posted on the website Mediapart, that he was outraged by the brandishing of secularism in what he described was a law discriminatory against Muslims.

He accused the ruling Union for Popular Movement and the interior minister Claude Guéant of having torn secularism’s principle of “religious freedom” by reviving links between religion and the state while at same time cracking down on individuals’ links with religion.

Last week, Guéant, who is a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement, stirred controversy when he told a symposium organized by a right-leaning student group at the National Assembly that “contrary to what the left’s relativist ideology says, for us, all civilizations are not of equal value.”

He criticized the French Socialist Party for not having voted for a legislation that banned the Muslim face veil.

In March 2004, former French president Jacques Chirac signed into law the controversial bill on secularity and religious symbols in schools. The law banned wearing conspicuous religious symbols in French public, primary and secondary schools.

Although the law did not mention any particular religious symbol by name, it was widely believed to target the Muslim headscarf. It raised protests across many Muslim countries and prompted Islamist militants to threaten attacks against France.

(Written Mustapha Ajbaili)

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52 Comments »

  1. Leave something sacred!

  2. One day the headlines will say “French draft law aims to ban oxygen.”

  3. We dont have to fear anyone or anything if we truely have God. That goes for the individuals. :)

  4. This is reprehensible! Do they ask Roman Catholic nuns or priests to take off their habits? Hijab is a sign of their Muslim faith. No freedom of religion in France I guess.

  5. Does it means when Catholic nuns walk outside of the Church property they have to take off their head scarf too?

  6. Amad: Oxygen??! Causes rust, destroys metal, feeds destructive fire, destroys helpful bcteria. Go, France!!

  7. Indonesia is the biggest Muslim country in the world and even the Hindu priests and Buddhist monks can walk around with their religious attire anytime and anywhere they wish. I guess they have more freedom of religion than France can ever had.

  8. You can wear a scarf, just don’t call it Islamic. Make it a tricolour and call it a French Freedom Scarf.

  9. More specifically, do the Christians of France have to remove their religious jewelry? No crosses, no crucifixes, no angels allowed on display in public?

  10. Have the French lost their minds? Allen, I like your idea…a head scarf movement.

  11. In America, the constitution wont let us do that…. #TGFTC

  12. So if I lived in France, this law would put me out of a job….ok…no “religious symbols” around children, but what if it’s worn for modesty? That’s WHY it’s worn. Not as a “symbol”…..A cresent or cross necklace is a “symbol”. May God protect religious freedom in France…..This is just plain stupid….hummm, good thing Mother Mary wasn’t French……

  13. Sounds like French Gov. saying ”this is not God’s land, this is not God’s law…if you wanna live in God’s land with God’s law then you’re dialing the wrong number”…so foolish!

  14. Tgftc,..whats that stand for,,,thank god for the constitution?i dont know if youve noticed how much of the constitution has been stripped from the legal sector of our country so think again

  15. i will never understand what the hell is so important about seeing ‘hair’, especially to children who don’t have the prejudice that adults do. children don’t care if you are young, old, black, white, have hair, cover hair, or are bald.

  16. French have always been extremists while calling others what they are. They need mirror , oops if they had a mirror they would shave there hairy bitches. Note to self never support or buy anything that is made in france and I will google it and joint groups who will boycott these retards.

  17. All religious items should just be kept private. I do support everyone’s right to believe whatever they want but I don’t have to see it all the time.

  18. Myles Otto-Von Hotzler: Yet.

  19. I don’t see how a head scarf is a problem. Now if they were wearing burqas I’d have a different opinion. Burqas are plain weird and if I was a kid, a woman in a burqa would scare the crap out of me.

  20. I don’t see what’s the problem about a headscarf! For modesty and/or as a sign of Muslim faith. Nothing wrong with either reason! No, there is no freedom of religion in France!

  21. why

  22. That is absolutely ridiculous! Would they have this much of a problem with “religious symbols” if it was a nanny wearing a Christian cross? Do they plan to ban those too?

  23. Burqas are a cultural Islamic dress, much like the thawb, fez and shalwar kameez. However a hijab only overs the head while revealing the face.

  24. yes stephanie this is ridiculous & unfair

  25. what abiut a poperson from india who has the red mark on his/hers forehead

  26. if i were muslim I would keep my hijab & be true to my religion

  27. @Ahmed Iam French and muslim ….There is good and bad everywhere you can’t insult a whole country ….this group was made to fight islamophobia ….and change the mentality and prejudices against muslim who are at times labeled as “terrorist “and many other bad things because of the action of a few …when we all know that the majority of muslims are peaceful and just trying to live a normal life just like anybody of any faith…so for you to to talk bad about France and french citizens as a whole doesn’t make you any better than islamophobes.If you want people to stop making stereotypes about muslims you need to stop doing this with others.

  28. so – wearing discrete clothing can be illegal? Will all women be required to show a certain amount of skin? If the coverage is of a certain color is that acceptable?

  29. Hijabs aren’t a part of the islamic faith. They’re a cultural practice steeped in centuries of abuse and ill will towards women, that still continues to this day in some places. Now I’m not saying France is correct in its methods or reasonings, but I can somewhat understand where they are coming from. To them, as to many muslims (at least the ones I’m friends with), the women and men both view the hijab and burqa as supplementary add-ons to the muslim faith by tribal elders of many centuries ago that was a cultural practice in the past and remains one now. Unlike the crucifix, angels, turbans for sikh men,or the robes of a monk, or habits of nuns, (usually) these have no history of being used as a means of oppression. If this law seeks merely to subvert or mistreat the actual muslim faith, I disagree with it in its entirety. But the way I think the French are thinking, it would be similar to banning circumcision for nonjews, as it does more harm to a child then good. But what do I know.

  30. that’s totally OTT

  31. This isn’t about interpretations, what’s happened in history or any of that… This is about the freedom of religion. This is about giving people more freedom than just the “few inches inside your head”, as George Orwell put it. Let people contemplate their existence, purpose of life and practice it!

  32. Ugh. France is turning steadily into a police state.

  33. Damn the French need to take a chill pill. I am glad I live in the States, even though we have some problems. It is probably 100 times better than there. Go USA

  34. If parents don’t like having a Muslim around their children, they should just construct a massive bubble in their living room and stick the kid in there. Cause there’s no other way to avoid them, that’s called real life.

  35. Cristian why in God’s great name are you saying hijab is not part of the Isllam??? There is an entire verse of the Quran just only on hijab.

  36. The law applies to all religious symbols. Not just Islamic ones.

  37. Let them wear the hijab, you fascists! Grrrrr! >.<

  38. Myles, not so. If a religious garment causes the person to be unidentifiable, as in a face covering, it certainly can be banned. In public, anyway.

  39. Hamdi, from my readings of the quran, and specifically surra 24: 30-31, I would garner the word hijab is never used. Specifically, it speaks of covering your bosom as an expression of modesty.

  40. Double edged sword there. That means non Muslim workers could not wear (say) a crucifix or a Star of David…

  41. I would like to see them subit that document to God when their skin tell on them about their duty deeds!

  42. Lol you see, your hatred will be the cause of your ruin. When you fight to limit the rights of others, your rights will be.hindered as well. Just a matter of time.

  43. So much for freedom of choice.

  44. don’t much like this. if I have a crucifix, or a statue of the Blessed Mother in my home where I also care for children, can my license be revoked?

  45. Cristián Mendoza – The Quran clearly states for women to draw the cloth on their head around to cover their chest and neck. Look at the pictures of Mary the mother of Jesus Peace & Blessings upon him. She always covered her head but it was sometimes open a bit. The Bible says women’s hair is a glory to God and if she cuts it, she must cover it – 2nd Corinthians.

  46. Good, next they can start regulating footwear. Because apparently they have no bigger problems in France.

  47. Very soon the nuns of the world will be banned from wearing head cover….what is the world coming to??? Bigotry is defeating common sense and freedom of religion. Sad.

  48. I just hope this means people are entitled to fire childcare employees that have crosses around their necks, or cross shaped jewelry of any kind. The moment I see such a case not hold up, I’m marking this as racist.

  49. This is absolutely ignorance and evil. Never will the light be extinguished, the good will prevail over the evil.

  50. Nobody cares anymore if you call them a racist, Siyajkak, unless they are a very soppy liberal indeed.

  51. Anon

    Swearing at them in Arabic ismuch more fulfilling. The words carry different meanings and plus its fun.

    These people are bakar (cows) and hameer (donkeys). Why do they have to rope children into this racist circle? If you wanna think we’re nawar (heathens/crazy people) for wearing a piece of fabric on our heads thats fine but its not like its gonna jump off our heads and eat the kid. Hayawanat(animals) probably wouldnt do the same if they saw a nun. Khara aleikom ya awlad iliklab. (not translating that)

  52. well i wonder what the french r so worried about? are they worried their 3 yr old will come home & ask ” mommy why does nanny cover head to toe and you dont?” and what should good parents do ? say “son they are Muslims who follow a religion called Islam, their religion requires them to wear this so they do it, they are different but different does not mean bad, just different.” tadah. that was not hard now was it? that my dear parent will make your child grow up to be a tolerant citizen, a good human being.

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