What Do We Do with a Difference? France and the Debate over by Dan Eshet

By Dan Eshet

This source booklet stories the function of faith in public existence via reading the French Republican version of assimilation. This source contains a considerate essay that gives serious history to France s nationwide debate over the veil as a announcement of spiritual perform. It deals a wealthy textual content made out of significant readings to motivate lecture room dialogue. This ebook makes use of a countrywide debate so one can improve an academic framework for integration, tolerance, and cultural attractiveness.

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Do you believe that the French nation can absorb ten million Muslims, who tomorrow will be twenty million and the day after forty? If we were to adopt integration, if all the Arabs and Berbers of Algeria were considered French, what would prevent them from coming to settle in the big cities where the standard of living is so much higher? 54 Some of the prejudices against Arabs expressed in de Gaulle’s speech can be traced to Jules Ferry’s time, when France sought to “civilize” the “backward,” or uneducated, natives it encountered across the world.

40 The Jews accepted this model; by and large, they assimilated into French culture and adopted its national identity. They kept their religion private. This formula served France as it integrated religious and ethnic minorities for the next two centuries. The state granted them full rights as individual citizens but refused to involve itself with their group aspirations. well. During the nineteenth century, policymakers in France were faced with the challenges of nation building. For centuries, the area where France is today was divided into several regions that had their own languages and customs.

The Conseil d’État, 1989 f we try to trace the debate about the veil—better known in France as the “veil affair” (l’affaire du foulard)—back to its origins, we find ourselves in the town of Creil in the fall of 1989. At the beginning of the school year, three Muslim girls—the sisters Leila (14 years old) and Fatima (13) Achaboun, of Moroccan parents, and Samira Saidani (15), of Tunisian parents—put on their headscarves and went to Creil’s Gabriel-Havez Middle School. The parents of their classmates had come to France from former colonies in the Maghreb: Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, where Islam had long been the dominant religion.

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