French school expels headscarved girls

20th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

STRASBOURG, France, Oct 19 (AFP) - Two teenage Muslim schoolgirls have been expelled from their school for ignoring a controversial French law on the wearing of religious insignia in schools.

STRASBOURG, France, Oct 19 (AFP) - Two teenage Muslim schoolgirls have been expelled from their school for ignoring a controversial French law on the wearing of religious insignia in schools.

"In the past two months we have had several meetings with the families and with these students," said Michelle Feder-Cunin, headmistress at the Jean Mace school in the eastern French city of Mulhouse.

The aim of the meetings had been to explain to the girls, identified as Dounia, aged 12 and Khouloude aged 13, the need to comply with the terms of the law, which bans the headscarf and other "conspicuous" religious insignia from state schools.

The "secularity law" came into effect despite complaints from some Muslim groups that it represented a form of discrimination against Islam.

Under the law, which went into force early in September, the school authorities must first try to persuade girls to remove the headscarf and only if they persist in refusing can they be expelled.

The parents of the two students have eight days to appeal the decision.

There are at present 72 school students within the state school system in France who are currently breaking the new law, according to education ministry figures.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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