RealNews

France struggles to integrate its Muslim minority

Aicha Souldi’s Moroccan mother lived in France for 20 years without ever putting on a Muslim head scarf. But French-born Souldi not only wears one, she also sells them – in the Islamic clothing store she runs in the center of Paris. Business is brisk. “This is a personal decision, a matter of faith. In no way do I feel inferior because I’m wearing the veil. It is a piece of material, and it shouldn’t bother anyone,” she said. As many as two-thirds of French citizens don’t see it that way, however. That’s how many tell pollsters they favor a proposed law to ban the wearing of Muslim scarves and other religious symbols by public school children and government employees. The head-scarf ban, recently endorsed by President Jacques Chirac, has drawn international criticism as an infringement on religious expression, and many French Muslims see it as the latest in a series of hostile acts directed at them since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Full Story

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