Are francophones intolerant?
by PhilippeChassé on September 13, 2013 - 10:33pm
According to an article published the Sixth of August, 2013 in the Globe and Mail, France is debating on extending the ban around the Muslim headscarf to its universities. In fact, complete veiling of the face is already forbidden in public places in France since 2010. The ban is also applicable to Muslim headscarf in the public schools of the country since 2004 in order not to influence young children. One of the main goal of François Hollande's socialist government is to affirm the secularism of the state: France frames a lot its legislation on the separation of the state and the religion. The proposal to improve the law to universities is made by the High Council of Integration in response to several Islamic students’ demands over special menus and spaces. This association will send its proposal to the Observatory on the Laïcité: a commission of inquiry implemented by Hollande in order to improve the current law 1905 on separation of state and church. The debate will then take place. However, the Islamic community of France is already scared of the result. Many Islamic groups strongly disagree to this new proposal. The fact of the matter, most of them were also against the bans of 2004 and 2010. They feel attacked and not respected by the French population even if they do represent about 8% of the total population (5 million out of 65 million). French would be more in favour of this add to the law. Actually, according to a survey made by Ifop published in Le Figaro on Ninth of August, 2013, 4 out of 5 French would be against the wear of the Muslim headscarf in universities. In 2004, Nicolas Sarkozy’s government decided not to extend the ban to universities due to the fact that those students are adults and “supposed” to be able to make their own choices. For now, the debate is still going on.
Are French intolerant? I’d ask myself: Are francophones intolerant? In my opinion, this article of the Globe and Mail is really interesting for one main reason: it shows similarities between Quebecers and their ancestors. While reading, I felt like doing it on the Charter of Quebec’s Values proposed by the Parti Québécois. People around me seem to share the same goal than the French: the secularism of the state at any price, often by attacking minorities. Honestly, I don’t think this charter represents us: that’s not Quebec. It can’t be. At least, that’s not me. As you may have noticed, I completely disagree with this charter that I fondly name: The Charter of Shame. I am totally against those measures in France also. In my point of view, freedom of religion is one of the main bases for a healthy society. Multiculturalism as advocated by former Canada’s Prime Minister Pierre Elliott-Trudeau is, in my sense, the best base for our society. Why? EXCHANGE OF IDEAS. It is, in my way, the best way to evolve as a society: taking ideas of each other to go forward. We can’t do that if we are all alike! That is what makes Canada one of the best place to live in the world. Secularism is as important, but it doesn’t mean people can’t dress like they want to in public. I think France and Quebec are doing a bad move: since when a society wants to have less freedom for a situation where problems are (in my sense) minimal? As we say in French, France and Quebec “se tirent dans le pied”at immigration. In conclusion, I think that those issues could be solved easily by stopping intolerance to difference and by advocating multiculturalism.