As has been brought up previously in class discussion, this April France will implement their ban on full-face veils. The ban includes most public space, space outside the home, with the exception of religious places of worship or traveling in a car. Aside from a fine of about £130, they will be required to take a “citizenship class to remind them of the republican values of secular France and gender equality”.
In an article from the Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/03/niqab-ban-france-muslim-veil, it brings to the forefront France’s problem of an ‘identity crisis’. Along with the full-face veil ban, Sarkozy ‘has ordered a nationwide debate on Islam’s place in secular France’ going so far as to ‘brief journalists he wants no halal food options in school canteens, no prayers outside and no minarets…giving a speech lauding the Christian heritage of France’.
With recent polls showing Marine Le Pen gaining popularity, it seems Sarkozy is trying to find new popularity in solving France’s perceived ‘identity crisis’.
Either way, it provides an interesting analysis of a country seeking to otherize a sector of its citizens. It will be interesting to see the impact, if any, France’s ‘citizenship class’ will have on other countries like Switzerland and the Netherlands.