French Ban On Student Islamic Garb Takes Effect

A controversial French law banning Islamic scarves in the nation’s public schools took effect peacefully in early September, according to press reports.

The law, which prohibits the wearing of Muslim head coverings as well as Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses in the nation’s public schools, drew international condemnations when it was passed earlier this year, especially in the Muslim world.

Not long before the ban was to take effect, two French journalists were kidnapped in Iraq by a group called the Islamic Army of Iraq that demanded repeal of the ban.

The New York Times reported on Sept. 3 that the ban appeared to be taking effect successfully. The newspaper said that representatives of the nation’s Muslim communities had urged students to comply with the law and that Muslims in general were united behind the French government’s refusal to overturn the restriction in response to the hostage crisis.