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French Teachers Protest Turk

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    HEADSCARF DISPUTE SHUTS FRENCH SCHOOL FOR DAY Reuters, 3/9/04 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/latestnewsstory.cfm?
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 11 5:52 PM
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      HEADSCARF DISPUTE SHUTS FRENCH SCHOOL FOR DAY
      Reuters, 3/9/04
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/latestnewsstory.cfm?
      storyID=3553859&thesection=news&thesubsection=world

      STRASBOURG - Teachers shut a state school in eastern France on
      Tuesday in protest against a schoolgirl who insisted on wearing a
      Muslim headscarf to class.

      Teachers in the school in Thann, near the borders with Germany and
      Switzerland, complained the 11-year-old girl of Turkish origin had
      been allowed to attend school wearing only a small bandanna on her
      head and then broke that agreement.

      The girl arrived at the school in February after being expelled from
      another school for refusing to remove her full headscarf there.

      The dispute highlighted the problems France will face when it applies
      its newly-passed ban on religious symbols in state schools next
      September.

      Critics say the law is vague and pupils will probably test its limits
      with new variations of headgear.

      "Everything that has taken us years to build up is now threatened --
      our school rules, the calm we had until now, the equality of all
      pupils under the regulations," the teachers said in a statement.

      Philippe Hemez, a local school board official, criticised the
      teachers, saying: "Today it's not the pupil who's creating the
      problem, nor her parents or her friends, but the teachers."

      The new ban, just passed by parliament, which will also cover Jewish
      skullcaps and large Christian crosses, leaves some latitude to the
      school by outlawing "conspicuous signs of religious affiliation..."

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