Sikhs Must Trade Turbans for Hair Nets in Public Schools

May 17, 2004

Source: Beliefnet.com

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/146/story_14604_1.html

On May 17, 2004 Beliefnet.com posted an Associated Press article that reported, "Sikh school boys must exchange their turbans for a hair net when a new law banning religious apparel in France's public schools takes effect in September, Education Minister Francois Fillon said Monday, shocking representatives of the Sikh community. Muslim girls can only wear bandannas in schools that allow them, according to the minister. Fillon spoke after education officials adopted - with some misgivings - a set of guidelines to help school officials apply the law, which was enacted in March after a marathon parliament debate. The law forbids conspicuous religious symbols and attire in the classroom such as the Jewish skull cap and large Christian crosses, but it is chiefly aimed at the Muslim head scarf. Under the guidelines, Muslim girls can only wear bandannas in schools that allow them, Fillon said at a news conference. Asked about the turbans worn by Sikhs, he said later that an 'arrangement' had been made with Sikhs to replace the traditional head gear with hair nets. 'We've come up with an arrangement,' Fillon said. 'They accept wearing a hair net. It's less aggressive, less showy,' he told The Associated Press."