Monday, December 16, 2013

France urged to end ban on Muslim headscarves in schools amid fears over growing racism

France was urged Friday to conduct a radical overhaul of its policy towards immigrants, including ending the ban on Muslim headscarves in schools and naming streets and squares after prominent people of foreign origin.

A report — commissioned by the Socialist government in response to fears over growing racism and ethnic divisions in France — recommended emphasizing the “Arab-Oriental” dimension of French identity, barring the media from mentioning a person’s ethnicity and promoting the teaching of Arabic and African languages in schools.

The proposals included holding philosophical debates in primary schools to examine questions such as ethnicity, gender and religion and having less focus in school history books on “white, male, heterosexual” figures.

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