France to forbid religious dress in schools?

French Education Ministry reportedly to forbid students from wearing religious articles - such as kippot and long skirts - to school.

Haim Lev,

Paris
Paris
Reuters

According to parts of an order issued by the French Education Ministry's director general published Wednesday, students will not be allowed to attend schools with clothing that includes religious symbols including kippot and long skirts.

According to a report in Le Figaro, the directive is a guide to students on issues dealing with the interface between religious practices and the secular atmosphere of French schools.

The guide enumerates the prohibition of wearing a kippah and a long skirt, but also a veil, a handkerchief, a hat and a wig. It was also clarified that Muslim students would not be able to miss sports lessons during the month of Ramadan.

Among the pages of the guide is a reference to a person who refuses to shake hands with his colleague for religious reasons. "No one can involve his religion in order to undermine equality between men and women," it was written.

With regard to the enforcement of these “secular laws,” it was reported that "the penalties imposed on students in the event of noncompliance with the instructions are clearly presented in the manual, which is more practical than the previous one, and presents about 20 concrete situations of application of the principle of secularism."

Yaakov Hagoel, deputy director of the World Zionist Organization and head of the anti-Semitism department, said: "Throughout the years, Jewish symbols and traditional customs have constituted the center of Jewish life. Wherever there was a desire to eradicate these characteristics, we later encountered anti-Semitic acts that were legitimized by these moves.”

"Recently, Europe is fertile ground for the growth of anti-Semitism, and the French director general’s order contains seeds for this. I strongly condemn this atmosphere and hope that France, and especially its education system, will be able to understand the gravity of the matter. We will continue to work to eradicate the growth of this anti-Semitism," added Hagoel.




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