majority of the French public supports the measure, but it has enraged Muslims
across the country, some who say the scarf
is a religious obligation and others who deny that girls are forced to wear them.
wants to hear what Muslim women are actually saying - I think they wear the headscarf
by choice," Sylvie Taleb, the director of the first Muslim private school
in mainland France told the BBC.
Critics also fear that this ban will cause
Muslim girls to transfer to Muslim schools or drop out of school altogether. They
believe it will actually push students closer to radical Islam, the very aim the
law is designed to avoid.
"Politicians who pushed for this law have
laid time bombs that will explode when we least expect it," Laurent Levy,
whose two teenage daughters were expelled for wearing headscarves to school and
now are home schooled, told the Toronto Star.
"When they went to a
public school, they had friends of all ethnic origins and all religions - that's
what national unity is all about,"
says Levy. "Today, they exclusively meet with friends who come to visit at
home, and the large majority of those are practicing Muslims.
words, they're being forced into a ghetto."
Even some high-ranking
French ministers, such as Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin and Interior
Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, have said that the law might inflame passions among
Muslims in France and around the world.
The ban was mentioned last month
in an audiotape from Ayman Zawahiri, a top leader in the al-Qaida terrorist network.
He called it "another example of the Crusader's malice, which Westerners
have against Muslims."
Annie Schleicher, Online NewsHour