Second Expulsion For Veiled SchoolGirl in France


Muslim girl who refuses to remove her headscarf was expelled on Tuesday from French state schools for the second time in six months, education authorities said.

Hilal, a 12-year-old of Turkish origin, was shut out of a school in the eastern town of Thann in November for refusing to uncover her hair. Another school there took her in on condition that she wear a bandana instead of the full headscarf.

But Hilal went back to the full headscarf after only a few days of wearing the bandana, sparking off a day-long strike by teachers in March demanding that she conform to the rule banning overt signs of religious affiliation.

"The agreement was never clearly put into practice, despite the contacts the principal had with her and her parents," said Philippe Hemez, a local school board official.

France has passed a ban on pupils wearing religious garb in school, judging it a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state, and plans to implement it in September.

The new law leaves some flexibility for compromise solutions such as bandanas, as Muslim leaders have proposed, but the full head-and-shoulders scarf that Hilal wears would not be allowed.

 


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