Members of Congress Speak Out Against French Ban

February 4, 2004

Source: The Sikh Coalition

On February 4, 2004 The Sikh Coalition reported that Congressmen Mike Honda (D-CA) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) sent a memo to members of Congress and urged them to sign onto a letter to the French Government. This letter expresses concern over the French ban of articles of faith in schools. The letter reads, in part: "On February 10, 2004, the French Parliament will vote on legislation to restrict religious dress and articles of faith in that nation's public schools. The proposed law threatens the religious rights of French children by forcing them to choose between school and religious practices that are central to their core values. We are particularly concerned that this legislation appears to represent a backlash against one minority: France's five million Muslims. However, restricting religious garb and symbols would impact individuals of all faiths. Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs, for example, would all be forced to consider alternative forms of education to remain consistent with the dictates of their faith. Please join us in sending a message to the French government and Parliament that it should protect religious freedom in its schools."