The author mentions an in depth knowledge of French history is important to understanding current events and I could not agree more with this assessment. I think that is probably one of my favorite things about French society, it is a constant history lesson.
In one sense I can understand where the law banning hijabs. France has centuries old history of religious division and violence. In this context of past violence and today’s laïc state it is logical that they wish to move forward by removing all signs that could divide the society or show the smaller groups within as different. The French also have such intense divisions of the public and private, with religious beliefs throughly private. Muslims are seen a breaking this unspoken law of French society when they clearly identify their religion for all to see. The law of March 15, 2004 was written in neutral religious language, but was obviously written for the hijabs not only because it was the hot subject, but because other religious groups very rarely wear physical identifiers. While I understand the argument of this law being discriminatory because cross necklaces are more or less allowed, this argument falls flat, because no one (at least in Paris) wears a cross necklace.
Just short little thought on the second article questioning what is Europe and who are European. I could not think how timely this article is when with Britain triggering article 50 in the last few days. The subject matter is different, but it just goes to show that even a land that shares much of the same history as the rest of Europe does not seem to want to part of that wider identity.