Letter of February 1 st 2004 from Jacques Gaillot
The Islamic veil





Special Edition





send email


The Islamic veil

foulard islamique A bill forbidding the Islamic veil in primary and secondary schools is still controversial in France and elsewhere. The conflict is far from being solved. French citizens from Arabic or African origins are disturbed by this banning that seems to be directed against them. 

Islam is progressively becoming part of public life in France. The second by numbers of the religious groups in France, Islam has to deal with "laïcité", democracy and modernity. It needs time to overcome misunderstandings and to solve conflicts. The Catholic Church took a long time to recognize democracy and to accept "laïcité"!

immigration The French citizens from immigration are too often part of the lower class of the society. They have not been integrated. They are in the front line for insecurity and precariousness.  
They experience discrimination in lodging and finding jobs. Among them a very few are admitted in the best Universities. In some suburban areas they feel abandoned and humiliated.
It is understandable that the veil is not the primary concern, but more is their future and then their integration into the French society.

In this difficult context, Islamic religion plays an important role in favoring integration, and recognition of the dignity of each men and woman, in giving them a feeling of existence, in establishing some solidarity towards the persons in need. It is a religion that gives a reason for living.  Koran

The new law on the veil will not solve the problem of integration and of living together. It has a risk to make religion an individual affair and contribute to drive in desperation a population already marginalized.