Upon a cursory glance, it may seem like there is no direct contradiction between secularism and allowing students to display their religious symbols at school. If someone wanted to bring their cross or yarmulke to school, why would the supposed “neutrality” of the state prevent them from doing so?
Yet when it comes to this issue, as expected, France begs to differ.
In 2004, French politicians realized that the children of Muslim migrants would remain firm upon their religion. For example, increasingly more and more girls were attending schools wearing the hijab. As a religion-phobic country, this was absolutely unacceptable for France. And as such, using shallow jurisdictional arguments to justify their decision, they very quickly seized the opportunity and promptly outlawed it.
Why was the thought of little girls covering their hair so completely unbearable for the French?
Is it the fact that France is infamous for its brazen advocacy of debauchery? Is it the “conservative” element of Islam that is so disturbingly unacceptable in a modernist country such as France? What is evident though is that prior to this, nobody had any complaints whatsoever when it came to Christians and Jews openly displaying their religious symbols.
Regardless, the French parliament ruled against the hijab and banned all religious symbols in public schools. They had declared that children needed to forge their own opinion and decide for themselves regarding such matters.
This law needed to address all religions to appear secular enough, but since the vast majority of religious French people are not in any habit of wearing religious symbols to begin with, it was de facto undeniably directed against Muslims. You may also have noticed that comparing a scarf with a cross is far-fetched. One is a tool of modesty, and the other is an emblem which indicates that a person belongs to Christianity.
These politicians were completely ignorant about how this ambiguity would, later on, go on to become a jurisprudential catastrophe. However, recent events may have served in demonstrating just how significant a problem this specific law has created.
The Blockade of Nanterre High School: The Fall of French Secularism?
Back in 2004 the arrogant French mind may have presumed that with the banning of hijab, all Muslim girls would eagerly cast the “shackles” off their hair. They now raise their eyebrows in astonishment when they see French sisters going out of their way to wear the hijab and how they actively seek out solutions in order to bypass the ban.
The Islamophobic lawmakers clamoured desperately to try and impede the rise of devotion in Muslim youth by increasing the level of discrimination and pressure against Muslim women.
Finally, due to the ambiguity in the 2004 laws regarding what constitutes a “religious symbol,” many schools scandalously banned long robes and abayahs. A number of board of education members in high schools had warned on the internet that their administration teams had ordered them to keep a record of students who wore the hijab outside school.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
A high school in Nanterre decided to oppose this unjust ruling and organized a violent blockade in the high school to prevent students from attending classes.
The images are very violent, and I do not encourage people to follow in their footsteps.
However, this kind of reaction was to be expected.
It has been years since a call to violence was raised in France, and this is simply the result of France’s mismanagement of its school system; France’s rapid decline into modernity; and a very anti-Islamic policy within a country where Muslims live in sensible neighborhoods.
They evoked resentment in a lot of the youth. And even if, with regard to Islamic ethics, these youngsters are far from being perfect, they remained men who naturally felt honor bound to protect their sisters.
Ultimately no amount of word games and semantics can change the fact that France’s policy is not liberating women. By design, its very purpose is to forcefully undress women.
France’s control over mass opinion and the media has finally reached its limit. They can unveil French women, but they cannot force them to wear skirts.
Let us hope that this event signals an awakening for the French Muslim community; and that they will soon cast this idiotic law in the trash, where it belongs.