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Demos against scarf ban

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    Demo held against scarf ban ... LONDON, Sept 4: More than 400 people attended a demonstration outside the French embassy in London on Saturday against the ban
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2004
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      Demo held against scarf ban
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      LONDON, Sept 4: More than 400 people attended a demonstration
      outside the French embassy in London on Saturday against the ban in
      French state schools of the hijab (headscarf).

      The protests, on what those opposed to the ban had billed
      as "International Hijab Solidarity Day", were peaceful and police
      reported no incidence of violence.

      The rally came two days after the start of the academic year in
      France, which has banned the wearing of the hijab or any other overt
      religious symbols in state schools.

      "The hijab is a big thing to us," said Rajnaara Akhtar, vice-
      coordinator of the Assembly for the Protection of the Hijab.-AFP

      http://www.dawn.com/cgi-bin/dina.pl?file=top18.htm&date=20040905

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      A SHOW OF UNITY IN FRANCE
      New York Times, 9/1/04
      http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/01/opinion/01wed3.html

      Major French Islamic groups and the political opposition have
      rallied behind the government's defiance of Iraqi kidnappers who
      seized two French journalists last month and demanded that France
      revoke its ban on the wearing of Islamic head scarves in state
      schools. The display of unity was encouraging. The head-scarf ban
      may be ill conceived and discriminatory, but French education policy
      should not be set by terrorists. Islamic leaders in France are
      forcefully making that point, too.

      The journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot,
      disappeared on Aug. 20 on the road from Baghdad to Najaf. On
      Saturday, the Islamic Army in Iraq, a previously unknown militant
      group, said it had kidnapped them and demanded that France revoke
      the head-scarf ban. A group with a similar name is believed to have
      killed an Italian journalist, Enzo Baldoni, last week.

      Kidnappers have gone after citizens of several countries in post-
      Saddam Iraq, but until now their demands have almost always been
      linked to the withdrawal of troops, as was the case with Mr.
      Baldoni.

      In response to the demand, the French government said the head-scarf
      ban would be strictly applied when classes resume on Thursday, after
      the summer vacation. And Fouad Alami, secretary general of the Union
      of French Islamic Organizations, recommended that students observe
      the ban, which the group opposes.

      This response undercuts the Iraqi militants' attempt to divide
      French society and the continent's reactionary fears about its
      immigrant populations. We hope it awakens French society to just how
      baseless the widespread anti-Muslim prejudices really are.

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