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  • Autumn 2009: A fact-finding mission on the practice of wearing the burqa

As in other European countries, the wearing of the burqa in public places by some women is beginning to generate debate in France.
On the initiative of André Gérin, Member of Parliament and Mayor of Vénissieux (a suburb of Lyon), a parliamentary commission of 32 MPs was appointed in July 2009 to establish the current situation with regard to the wearing of the burqa in France. Currently it is arranging hearings and should conclude its work in December 2009, indicating whether it considers it necessary to legislate on this matter.
Two recent memoranda from the Home Office attempted to estimate the number of women in France wearing the full veil. One estimated the number to be 367 (Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence), the other, 2000 (Sub-Directorate of General Intelligence).

For more information: see the work of the Mission d’information on the website of the National Assembly.

  • 12 June 2009: New Muslim associations emerge to confront the CFCM

12th June 2009 saw the launch of the National Lay Federation of Citizens of Muslim persuasion, in short, Mosaïc. Born from an association created in Nice in 2007, it brings together around forty associations and aims to achieve “cultural, secular and apolitical” representation within public bodies for “citizens of Arab-Muslim persuasion”.
Moreover, on 10th June, a conference of French imams was launched - an initiative taken by the imam of Drancy, Hasan Chalghoumi, to highlight “inter-religious dialogue and promote an open Islam and the monitoring of imams”.
These initiatives aim to create a new way for the Muslim community to be represented. They are bearing fruit, while the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), established by the State in 2002, is barely functioning, primarily as a result of internal disputes.

For further information, see the website of the Mosaïc association.

  • 16 April 2009: Agreement with the Holy See on the recognition of diplomas of Catholic schools (continued)

Publication in the Official Journal of decree No. 2009-427 of 16 th April 2009 promulgating the agreement between the French Republic and the Holy See on the recognition of degrees and diplomas in higher education.
This agreement, in the manner set forth in its Supplementary Protocol, has as its objective:
- Mutual recognition of periods of study, degrees and diplomas of higher education awarded by competent authorities of either Party, for the purpose of pursuing studies to the same level or to a higher level, in institutions of the other Party that deliver a higher level of education;
- Readability of degrees and diplomas of higher education awarded under the authority of one Party by a competent authority of the other Party.

See also below : Current Debates - 2008

  • 10 April 2009: HALDE legal opinion on religious expression in the workplace

On Friday, 10th April 2009, the HALDE (High Authority for the Struggle against Discrimination and for Equality) made public a legal opinion deliberated by its Council as well as the accompanying discussion, which covers all applicable provisions relating to religious expression in the workplace, whether derived from the Constitution, European law, labour or case law.

Read the legal opinion of the HALDE.

  • 10 April 2009: Questions on the religious practices of the candidate at an oral examination for the police

In a decision dated 10th April 2009, the Council of State annulled the results of an internal competitive examination for the national police, as the result of a distinction made by the jury relating to the applicant’s origins and his religious opinions.
The Council of State considered that the applicant provided precise elements that the administration did not seriously contest, according to which, members of the jury had raised questions about his origins and the religious practices of both himself and his wife. It held that such issues were unrelated to the criteria allowing a jury to assess the suitability of a candidate and constituted a distinction, i.e. discrimination, between state officials, which is prohibited by Article 6 of the law of 13th July, 1983 on the rights and obligations of civil servants.

Read the decision : Council of State, 10th April 2009, No. 311888.

D 15 December 2009   

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