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The veil and religious neutrality—version française

By Jonathan Derbyshire  

Back in September, I blogged about the unveiling by the French education minister, Vincent Peillon, of a “Charter for secularism” (charte de laicité) to be displayed in all state schools in France. The charter has 15 articles, the first of which reasserts the “secular, democratic and social” character of the French republic, with the second emphasising that the secular republic enforces the separation of church and state: “The state is neutral with regard to religious and spiritual convictions”.

State “neutrality” with respect to religion comes in many forms, of course, with the French version requiring fairly strenuous efforts to remove…

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