French girl snubs scarf ban with school in Belgium
8 September 2004
BRUSSELS – A 12-year-old French girl who was expelled from school for wearing a headscarf is to be educated in Belgium, it emerged on Wednesday.
Hilal was excluded from her school in the east of France because she refused to take off her Islamic headscarf, which has now be banned in schools by the French authorities.
She will now attend a Belgian boarding school that allows more religious freedom, said her lawyer, Mrs Boukara.
The new law, which enforces France’s principle of separating religion from the state, does not allow any overt religious symbols in educational establishments.
Hilal’s parents chose Belgium in an effort to avoid further inevitable conflicts with French schools.
Local French establishments would not even permit the wearing of a bandana as a compromise.
Hilal was first expelled from school last November.
She went to a new school where she was allowed to compromise by wearing a bandana that covered her hair and ears but not her forehead.
But in May she was expelled from this school also for failing to respect the compromise.
[Copyright Expatica Belgium 2004]
Subject: French and Belgian news