French Muslims Protest Ban of Religious Symbols

January 18, 2004

Source: The New York Times

On January 18, 2004 The New York Times reported, " The battle over the proposed law to ban religious symbols from French public schools spilled into streets on Saturday as Muslim demonstrators in capitals around the world voiced their opposition to what they say is a denial of religious freedom. The demonstrations were largest in Paris and other cities in France, where thousands of protesters marched against an anticipated law that would ban the wearing of Muslim head scarves, Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses in the schools. In an apparently well-coordinated show of solidarity with Muslims in France, protesters — from London to Baghdad — joined in. But the demonstrations were far smaller than their Muslim organizers had predicted. The center-right French government has taken a hard line against those opposing the proposed legislation, saying that France must uphold the republican values that harken back to the 1789 revolution and preserve the country's secular identity."