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6/1/15

EU Secularity: France warns against 'militant secularity'

France's education minister has warned against "militant secularity" in a country where a long-standing ban on Islamic headscarves, Jewish kippahs and other religious symbols in schools continues to cause controversy.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said government policies were creating "unwarranted tension" and putting children off the idea of secularism.

"We have to be careful not to have a form of militant secularity in our country, which is counter-productive for children we would like to see adhere to secularity," Vallaud-Belkacem said.

"How can a child adhere to school and the notion of secularity when they see their mother rejected from a school outing, stigmatised, left on the sidelines, just because she has a scarf on her head?"

France has a long-established secular tradition that has its roots in the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution and a 1905 law enforcing a strict separation between church and state.

In 2004, the government brought in a controversial law on secularity that banned students from wearing "conspicuous" signs of religion including the hijab, and other religious garments.

Read more: France warns against 'militant secularity' - Al Jazeera English

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