Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ears and forehead


I got round last week to watching a programme about the French headscarf ban, which was shown some time ago on BBC´s This World series, earlier this year, certainly before May. One of the people who took the side of the girls was Pierre Tévanian, introduced by the programme as a humble philosophy teacher, but who curiously I had already come across before on the web - for example  here - and who has now appeared in print. Some extracts from his book (in French, bien sûr)  can be found here and here

Those on the other side (favouring the ban) spoke of girls coming under pressure from their families to wear the headscarf, though the only evidence offered for this was second-hand. In fact, in many instances the girls were encouraged by their parents to put the continuance of their education ahead of insisting on wearing the headscarf.

If the girls expressed themselves articulately, this was taken as evidence that they had come under the influence of the fundamentalists (intégristes).

The school that was featured in the programme offered a compromise where the bandana could be worn (almost all other French schools did not even allow this), but it had to be pushed up to reveal the ears and all of the forehead and be in a light colour.

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