France posts secular charter in all state schools

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The French Education Minister Vincent Peillon has unveiled the controversial secularism charter which is to be displayed in a prominent position in every school to remind pupils and teachers of the country's secular, Republican principles.


The Minister says the charter is designed to promote "absolute respect for freedom of conscience".

The charter's 15 principles have been much discussed and have already been condemned as "an attack on Islam".

On Sunday, Mr Peillon told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that: "The first article of our constitution states that the Republic is indivisible, democratic, social and secular. The school must teach these values, explain their meanings and their history. Because if we do not teach them, we should not be surprised if they are misunderstood or even ignored," he said.

Written By: National Secular Society
continue to source article at secularism.org.uk

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  1. This would be so great if we had this in the US where religious nuts hold high positions of political power! Secularism isn’t atheism anyway. It’s just social neutrality free of any established religious doctrine. Even if it’s a response to fears of Islamic multiculturalism or something is irrelevant. The ends are sound and there are no harsh means. It’s offensive if you’re a religious zealot who wants to insert religion into public life. Surely there can parts of the planet devoid of this since so much of the world’s people live in religious societies?

  2. How typically and generally religious to confuse secularism with an attack on religion.

    I sneezed earlier this evening. Could this random act be perceived as an attack on islam? Not too big of an exaggeration!

  3. Secularism is not atheism. It is a truce between religions. It was created in response to the endless religious wars in Europe over the centuries. Religions do not understand how it protects them from other religions and from atheists. All they see is the way it blocks them from forcing their religion (the one true religion which is the only religion that deserves status) on others.

  4. The French Education Minister Vincent Peillon has unveiled the controversial secularism charter which is to be displayed in a prominent position in every school to remind pupils and teachers of the country’s secular, Republican principles.
    The Minister says the charter is designed to promote “absolute respect for freedom of conscience”.

    Mon dieu, que c’est fantastique! l’interdiction de la burqa sera abrogée. Miraculeux!

    Un moment. Quelle est cette?

    It is forbidden in schools to wear symbols or clothes that show affiliation to religion.

    C’est quoi ce bordel?

    Connards.

  5. I don’t think a “secular charter” would have been much use to Charles Martel in 732, and I don’t think it will be much use in today’s France. To quote Oswald Spengler: “A power can be overthrown only by another power”

    • In reply to #9 by obzen:

      It is forbidden in schools to wear symbols or clothes that show affiliation to religion.

      Not a fan. Why the hell should you care?

      Why should we care about being allowed to display our religious affiliation or lack of same?

      I dunno. Why should we care about any freedom of thought or expression?

      • In reply to #11 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #9 by obzen:

        It is forbidden in schools to wear symbols or clothes that show affiliation to religion.

        Not a fan. Why the hell should you care?

        Why should we care about being allowed to display our religious affiliation or lack of same?

        I dunno. Why should we care about any freedom of…

        What I can only say to that, as a Frenchman, is that we’re getting better. We used to chop heads off. The fight against religion was a tough one and the prohibition of religious symbols in public school targeted first of all Catholic symbols. But you know, we even changed the calendar for a few years because we didn’t like this business of resting on the seventh day. We invented weeks of 10 days and employers loved them. (Décades, which by the way means deca dia, ten days)

        So yeah, we are a bit “old school”, like that, and we don’t wear religious symbols in the classroom. But on the other hand, nobody teaches creationism in public schools here.

        • In reply to #60 by Ornicar:

          In reply to #11 by Katy Cordeth:

          What I can only say to that, as a Frenchman, is that we’re getting better. We used to chop heads off. The fight against religion was a tough one and the prohibition of religious symbols in public school targeted first of all Catholic symbols. But you know, we even changed the calendar for a few years because we didn’t like this business of resting on the seventh day. We invented weeks of 10 days and employers loved them. (Décades, which by the way means deca dia, ten days)
          ..
          So yeah, we are a bit “old school”, like that, and we don’t wear religious symbols in the classroom. But on the other hand, nobody teaches creationism in public schools here.

          Touché!, I think is y’all’s term of art.

    • Because a headscarf, to those who wear it, is a sign of chastity and piety. Those who do not wear one, in the eyes of the headscarf-wearers, are therefore not pious, not chaste. I object to being seen and judged like this because I choose not to cover my hair in public. I loathe the overt statement via clothing that someone belongs to a special “club”, which is, in their eyes, different and superior.

      In reply to #9 by obzen:

      It is forbidden in schools to wear symbols or clothes that show affiliation to religion.

      Not a fan. Why the hell should you care?

      • In reply to #12 by dulcie:

        In reply to #9 by obzen:

        It is forbidden in schools to wear symbols or clothes that show affiliation to religion.

        Not a fan. Why the hell should you care?

        Because a headscarf, to those who wear it, is a sign of chastity and piety. Those who do not wear one, in the eyes of the headscarf-wearers, are therefore not pious, not chaste. I object to being seen and judged like this because I choose not to cover my hair in public. I loathe the overt statement via clothing that someone belongs to a special “club”, which is, in their eyes, different and superior.

        If you object to being regarded as impious and unchaste, dulcie, that’s your problem.

        As Eleanor Roosevelt said, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

        It’s not an excuse for you to dictate what other people are allowed to wear.

        • I think that’s bullsh**. Of course people can make others feel inferior without their consent. That’s the basis of all bullying. The bullies pick on an insignificant detail that’s different in the victim and then make fun of it. Haven’t you heard about the experiment where the teacher says that all blue-eyed children are inferior to brown-eyed kids, and then the subsequent behaviour that instigated amongst the children in her class? (It was a clever social experiment, by the way, to point out how illogical such behaviour is – the next day she reversed it, and the same happened to the brown-eyed kids). And before you say that illustrates therefore that we shouldn’t pick on differences of clothing – a headscarf is a badge. Like a swastika. It declares affiliation with a certain way of thinking. A way of thinking I happen to find abhorrent. In reply to #14 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #12 by dulcie:

          In reply to #9 by obzen:

          It is forbidden in schools to wear symbols or clothes that show affiliation to religion.

          Not a fan. Why the hell should you care?

          Because a headscarf, to those who wear it, is a sign of chastity and piety. Those who do not wear one, in the eyes…

        • In reply to #14 by Katy Cordeth:

          It is forbidden in schools to wear symbols or clothes that show affiliation to religion.

          “It’s not an excuse for you to dictate what other people are allowed to wear.”

          What nonsense. Of course schools can dictate what students are allowed to wear. Some require school uniforms, or have hemline standards, or require socks or forbid flip-flops. And I think even you would agree that (for example) students should not be allowed to attend school bare-backed and recently self-flagellated. I suspect you don’t live in the UK or Europe, where you see women walking around in full veil or burka. It is a slap in the face of a society that has struggled to give women genuine freedom. The French have defined themselves and their culture as secular, and it seems wholly reasonable in the public sphere, to require this be upheld. This does nothing to the practice of religion in the home or in the house of worship.

          • In reply to #17 by justinesaracen:

            Of course schools can dictate what students are allowed to wear. Some require school uniforms, or have hemline standards, or require socks or forbid flip-flops.

            I think this is a difficult one. I agree schools may be able to dictate that students wear a uniform or follow a certain dress code. But I don’t consider that specifically banning religious symbols is a proper example of secularism. If a school bans ALL forms of jewellery, that is treating everyone, religious or not, equally. But to ban religious jewellery specifically (while allowing the non-religious to display symbols that are important to them) is to favour one group. A particular school or business may have a good reason to ban a certain type of symbol in some cases, but it should be able to justify this. It must be able to demonstrate that the display of a certain type of symbol is potentially damaging to its reason for existence.

            I suspect you don’t live in the UK or Europe, where you see women walking around in full veil or burka. It is a slap in the face of a society that has struggled to give women genuine freedom.

            I agree that the full veil or burka can be an act or symbol of oppression. But the practicalities of banning these garments is very difficult. I live in the UK and frequently see people wearing a full covering of hood, hat, scarf, overcoat and gloves; nothing to do with religion, just a perfectly reasonable response to the climate! How do you define in law one type of full body covering against another? Maybe you could ban any type of head covering in an indoor environment, but a blanket ban (excuse the pun) on full face or head coverings in all situations does not make sense.

        • In reply to #14 by Katy Cordeth:

          I agree that, for the most part, people should be allowed to wear what they like out of the interests of personal autonomy, but I do think of two exceptions at the moment:

          1. The workplace. If it specifies a dress code, then that dress code must be adhered to as part of the agreement between employer and employee. What happens outside of work stays outside of work for reasons of fairness.

          2. Security. Wearing something with spikes in it, or wearing something face-concealing that makes anonymous crime easier, are examples of clothing choices that should be considered out of bounds in a free society because that freedom is ultimately for the good of its citizens, which can’t be met if security is compromised so.

          • In reply to #22 by Zeuglodon:

            In reply to #14 by Katy Cordeth:

            Security. Wearing something with spikes in it, or wearing something face-concealing that makes anonymous crime easier, are examples of clothing choices that should be considered out of bounds in a free society because that freedom is ultimately for the good of its citizens, which can’t be met if security is compromised so.

            Criminals will then be compelled to commit crimes in the winter! Unless of course cold weather face-concealing apparel will also be disallowed.

          • In reply to #30 by Lancshoop:

            It’s got nothing to do with reducing numbers, if by that you mean fewer religious people are around these days. It’s about the fact that most religious people can coexist with others in a secular society, in exchange for no one religion having more political power or social privilege than any other, and in exchange for non-religious people to live without discrimination either. The flipside of having a society of free speech is that we don’t censor people’s views or ways of life purely because we don’t agree with them, though we can criticize them. We can only censor that stuff if it crosses over into another domain, such as security or incitement to commit crime.

            I’m not saying it isn’t because religion has been “de-fanged” to an extent, and we can argue over whether or not the result that most people practice today is “true” religion or not. Neither am I saying that every issue surrounding it has been resolved (for instance, how in a multicultural society we can get proper “balance” on a TV show). But this is primarily a question of government policy for security reasons and reasons of fairness, not about how citizens go about their lives generally.

            In reply to #31 by Shell:

            In reply to #22 by Zeuglodon:

            In reply to #14 by Katy Cordeth:

            Security. Wearing something with spikes in it, or wearing something face-concealing that makes anonymous crime easier, are examples of clothing choices that should be considered out of bounds in a free society because that freedom is u…

            I think the question answers itself, given the reasoning in that quotation of mine.

  6. Abdallah Zekri and his like are always going to complain that they feel got at. That is their modus operandi: we feel offended that notjis going our way; “way” being, in particular, points 4 and 5 – symbols and violence.

  7. For instance, Abdallah Zekri, president of the Observatory on Islamophobia told Le Parisien he felt “targeted” by the charter. “This charter was supposedly made to combat communitarianism…But honestly, I feel targeted because now when anyone talks about ‘communitarianism,’ they’re really talking about Muslims,” he said.

    If he is planning on non-compliance – the cap fits – Wear it!

    Anyone in a Western democracy, who thinks and acts as if their religion puts them above the law should be targeted!

  8. In reply to #17 by justinesaracen:

    In reply to #14 by Katy Cordeth:

    It is forbidden in schools to wear symbols or clothes that show affiliation to religion.

    “It’s not an excuse for you to dictate what other people are allowed to wear.”

    What nonsense. Of course schools can dictate what students are allowed to wear. Some require sch…

    I’m a little weary, but if it’s not too much of an imposition, could one of the smartlings on this website – Zeugy or Red Dog perhaps – explain to Justin how telling women they can’t wear a full veil or burqa is no different from telling them they have to wear it.

    You might want to add that freedom from tyranny includes not only freedom from religion, but freedom of religion (hey, I turned that atheist meme on its head, didn’t I?)

    • I’m getting weary too, of people who can’t think logically.

      Go play some chess.

      In reply to #23 by Katy Cordeth:

      In reply to #17 by justinesaracen:

      In reply to #14 by Katy Cordeth:

      It is forbidden in schools to wear symbols or clothes that show affiliation to religion.

      “It’s not an excuse for you to dictate what other people are allowed to wear.”

      What nonsense. Of course schools can dictate what students a…

    • In reply to #23 by Katy Cordeth:

      In reply to #17 by justinesaracen:

      Because secularism is about government neutrality on religious matters, not about preventing citizens from expressing their religious affiliations in their spare time.

      How’s that?

      • In reply to #25 by Zeuglodon:

        In reply to #23 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #17 by justinesaracen:

        Because secularism is about government neutrality on religious matters, not about preventing citizens from expressing their religious affiliations in their spare time.

        How’s that?

        Religion is neither a spare time activity or a private matter.

        • In reply to #27 by Lancshoop:

          Religion is neither a spare time activity or a private matter.

          I don’t think you quite understand. Religion has been reduced to a spare time activity and a private matter, at least in most countries, give or take the legal relics from older times (e.g. areas of religious privilege, say, in tax exemptions). It’s a government policy that is antithetical to the historically prevalent one of religious favouritism, and noticeable in the mainstream UK and Scandinavian countries and, I guess, parts of the US. Whether you believe in a god or not, or go to church or not, used to be a sign that one is a human being and not an infidel. Now it’s a personal quirk or hobby in most places.

          I’m not saying there aren’t inconsistencies in practice, but that’s the principle of secularism. You can’t have government policy forcing people to be of one faith or another, or even telling people what they should think. That way totalitarianism lies.

          • In reply to #29 by Zeuglodon:

            In reply to #27 by Lancshoop:

            Religion is neither a spare time activity or a private matter.

            I don’t think you quite understand. Religion has been reduced to a spare time activity and a private matter, at least in most countries, give or take the legal relics from older times (e.g. areas of religi…

            A reduction in numbers does not constitute equating religion to a hobby or spare time activity. I can assure that those who still worship on their respective Sabbaths and probably the several times as many that don’t still consider themselves full time Christians/Muslims/Jews etc. It’s part of their identity and make up. That said I’m not arguing against the ruling against wearing any symbol that could indicate affiliation to one religious group or another, though that too has a faint whiff of totalitarianism about it.

          • In reply to #29 by Zeuglodon:
            Religion has been reduced to a spare time activity and a private matter, at least in most countries……Whether you believe in a god or not, or go to church or not, used to be a sign that one is a human being and not an infidel. Now it’s a personal quirk or hobby in most places.

            Hmm – a little off-topic I know but have you actually travelled much? In most of the places my work has focussed on over the years, including Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India, religion could hardly be described as down to personal choice or a hobby. You could accuse me of sample bias obviously, but I’d think its a safe bet to say that if you actually look up the stats you’ll find that countries/populations where religion is viewed as a ‘personal quirk or hobby’ are very much in the minority on a global basis.

            Back on topic – if secular schools that have a clear uniform policy should make allowances for girls to have the personal choice to wear burqas/hijabs whilst at school, then shouldn’t they also allow boys who are fans of batman to wear batman outfits? If not… why not??

          • In reply to #44 by Steve_M:

            Thank you, I should explain: I was speaking mostly about Western society, where secularism is strongest. I should have made that clearer, considering how different the situation is in so many other countries. My apologies.

            As for school policy, I regard it in the same way as I regard workplace policy: if there’s a dress code, it takes priority. Children shouldn’t be identified by religious affiliation, anyway. They’re too young to have made up their minds yet.

          • Back on topic – if secular schools that have a clear uniform policy should make allowances for girls to have the personal choice to wear burqas/hijabs whilst at school, then shouldn’t they also allow boys who are fans of batman to wear batman outfits? If not… why not??

            Or a Klingon outfit or a Nazi uniform.

            Another reason schools have a uniform policy is so that some children don’t feel left out when their parents can’t afford the latest fashionable knitted jumper with a colourful Mohammad pattern.

            In reply to #44 by Steve_M:

            In reply to #29 by Zeuglodon:
            Religion has been reduced to a spare time activity and a private matter, at least in most countries……Whether you believe in a god or not, or go to church or not, used to be a sign that one is a human being and not an infidel. Now it’s a personal quirk or hobby in m…

  9. Religions don’t have a monopoly on dictating dress codes but they are experts in this area and particularly as means of control and adherence to hard to fake acts of commitment. Dietary restrictions are similar tools. You never know what you are observing anyway, many xtians wear crosses but that gives us no clue as to what they actually believe in detail, I suspect the same goes for muslims. I take the same view of someone wearing these paraphernalia as somebody wearing any other badge of membership and that includes a swastika. Given this is also a zen buddhist symbol you still have no idea what the wearer’s system of belief might be, sometimes it appears in a hexagram just to add to the confusion and the rotation appears random and irrelevant. I’d be horrified if a zen Buddhist were attacked on the presumption that he/she was a Nazi.

    People who wear symbols need to be as careful of the image they project as much as the observer needs to be aware of their own biases. There must be a reasonable position. health and safety and security are obvious because they affect other people.

    The idea of the article 11 ruling sounds perfectly good to me. There can be no a priori exclusion nor protection from argument in any sane secular environment much less a learning environment.

  10. I can be offended by people’s clothing, when that closing is delivering a message. Women in burqas or headscarves of men in white pill box hats and large beards may as well be walking down the street shouting “inch’ allah” and a lot more besides. I’m not suggesting a general ban, but I would ban all religious symbols including clothing in schools.

    • In reply to #32 by GPWC:

      I can be offended by people’s clothing, when that closing is delivering a message. Women in burqas or headscarves of men in white pill box hats and large beards may as well be walking down the street shouting “inch’ allah” and a lot more besides. I’m not suggesting a general ban, but I would ban all religious symbols including clothing in schools.

      I’d stay away from this page of RichardDawkins.net if I were you.

  11. Being allowed to wear religious symbols is very like permission to wear political buttons, team buttons or “ask me about Amway” buttons.

    Obviously banning these generally would be an unacceptable impingement on freedom.

    On the other hand, they are deliberately disruptive. They are designed to start arguments/discussions unrelated to corporate business.

    I think an employer has the right to ban such emblems for reasons such as:

    1. to reduce inter-employee tension.
    2. to avoid giving the impression to customers the employer endorses some cause.
    3. to avoid intimidating customers. (Imagine going for a loan if you were gay from a Christian, or a Republican/Conservative)
    4. to avoid unnecessary conflict between customers and staff.
    5. to avoid discouraging customers from requesting services that Catholics disapprove of.
    6. to avoid clothing that interferes with productivity.

    I think the government, as an employer has the same right as any other employer.

    Some people claim wearing some trinket or clothing is absolutely mandatory. This is just a power trip. They are pushing their religion on others, making them accommodate. They came into the world without it. It is just a tradition. We should not be humouring nutty notions treating them as more valid than practical reasons.

    If we were doctors in a mental hospital treating people with religious delusions, by analogy we would be granting all nutty requests and ignoring rational ones. This helps keep people deluded.

  12. In contrast, meanwhile, back in the industrialized world’s undisputed superpower of godsbothering and Evolution denial you (especially the US taxpayers amongst you) might be delighted to learn about the US government agency described below. It has been known in the past to meddle in French internal affairs
    (What?!?, the US meddling in internal affairs of other countries? We are shocked, shocked!) by insinuating that the French government’s promotion of its understanding of the principle of secularism violates the internationally recognized individual right to freedom of religion or belief:

    “The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF’s principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and the Congress. It describes itself as “[g]rounded in and informed by the American experience”. It is rooted in the U.S. Evangelical movement[1] and its original intention was to protect Christians around the world.[2]
    It is funded entirely by the federal government on an annual basis and its staff members are government employees.”

    Will this new development in France provoke them to once again come out from underneath their rock as it did our usual religious (especially of Islam which needs it most) apologists on this page?

  13. Dulcie comment 12

    Because a headscarf, to those who wear it, is a sign of chastity and piety. Those who do not wear one, in the eyes of the headscarf-wearers, are therefore not pious, not chaste. I object to being seen and judged like this because I choose not to cover my hair in public. I loathe the overt statement via clothing that someone belongs to a special “club”, which is, in their eyes, different and superior.

    I don’t think that is very accurate. I work in a school, we have a significant minority of girls from non Muslim backgrounds who are choosing tentatively to convert and a lot of girls from more liberal Muslim backgrounds choosing for the first time to wear a hijab. And the reason they are doing it is not as a symbol of superiority or chastity but as some kind of misguided feminist reaction to the tits oot for the lads culture they’ve been pretty much raised in. Not that feminism is misguided but they are misguided in seeing the hijab as somehow a feminist icon.

    Islam is one of the most backward and repressive religions in the world when it comes to women but that is NOT the way it is being marketed around here. Around here the Muslim lads are mis-marketing it as the religion that sees women for what they do not what they look like and the hijab is the symbol of that.

    I don’t know a single hijab wearing woman that looks down on her non Muslim peers or considers them inferior in any way. In many cases it is THEIR choice to wear it for various reasons. For example I have an civil engineering ex Muslim friend who wears hers when going out to certain sites because she says it stops the sexist comments and makes her life easier.

  14. What nonsense. Of course schools can dictate what students are allowed to wear. Some require school uniforms, or have hemline standards, or require socks or forbid flip-flops. And I think even you would agree that (for example) students should not be allowed to attend school bare-backed and recently self-flagellated. I suspect you don’t live in the UK or Europe, where you see women walking around in full veil or burka. It is a slap in the face of a society that has struggled to give women genuine freedom. The French have defined themselves and their culture as secular, and it seems wholly reasonable in the public sphere, to require this be upheld. This does nothing to the practice of religion in the home or in the house of worship.

    There is a middle ground you know. There is no logical reason to ban the hijab for exammple but many very good ones to ban the niqab or burkha. Health and safety – the school needs to know who is on its premises. Exams – the school needs to know it is their student sitting an exam not an expert drafted in (a local selective grammar school for example suffered a spate of so called burkha wearers sending in older sisters and even mothers trying to sit their 11+ exams)

    At the other end girls are allowed certain leeway with skirts but are prevented from coming in if they fail to cover tomorrows washing. Small crosses allowed under blouses, whacking great hip hop bling ones not.

    It is really a matter of common sense and moderation.

  15. Katy Cordeth comment 36

    In reply to #32 by GPWC:

    I can be offended by people’s clothing, when that closing is delivering a message. Women in burqas or headscarves of men in white pill box hats and large beards may as well be walking down the street shouting “inch’ allah” and a lot more besides. I’m not suggesting a general ban, but I would ban all religious symbols including clothing in schools.

    I’d stay away from this page of RichardDawkins.net if I were you.

    Ooh I guess my religious friends will all be saying how us atheists are forced to wear those T shirts. I’ll have a hell of a game convincing them its choice.

  16. Its great to see Western democratic views upheld above all else….Europe has seen plenty of tyrants and religious bigotry in our history, that’s why Europeans think its so important not to go backwards or play stalemate with religion….As per usual Islam feels attacked ?? Muslims are free to not live in Europe if they don’t agree with democratic ideals…..Islamic traditions are not native to Europe and although Europeans are welcoming to all kinds of peoples, It will not change its values for the feelings of a group who always wants special changes for itself in another’s culture – while their countrymen threaten death and war on all free thinkers and non muslims everywhere….
    Vive La France, I wish Britain had the guts to ban religious symbols especially in schools…but they at least have banned football team colours in some schools though, as most people were attacking and killing each other through a hidden religious bigotry represented by football teams.

  17. I love #12 on the list. Basically you can’t use religion to exclude teaching of science or education.

    Anyway I don’t see it as an attack on Islam so much as a reinforcement of France’s virulently secular state. Muslims being relative latecomers are the ones who are on the receiving end of the message but 100 years ago it was the Roman Catholics. Doesn’t stop them doing anything they like in their own private life, but the state is clearly not tolerating it in public buildings, particularly in schools.

  18. Oh dear ! Abdallah Zekri feels “targeted”. What a shame. No doubt Mr Zekri is a student of French history and knows why the Constitution is so strongly secular ? To stop meddling priests interfering in the business of government, as they were so happy to do under l’ ancien regime. Different religion then, but same meanings now.

    Now Mr Zekri feels “targeted”, – just like the Twin Towers were. I feel really sorry for him……not !

  19. Ahhh the Muslims are upset again. Poor Muslim diddums . Good for France!! It’s not a nation I have much affection for but on the matter of religious privilege and priority they don’t mess about.

  20. In reply to #38 by PG:

    I don’t know a single hijab wearing woman that looks down on her non Muslim peers or considers them inferior in any way. In many cases it is THEIR choice to wear it for various reasons. For example I have an civil engineering ex Muslim friend who wears hers when going out to certain sites because she says it stops the sexist comments and makes her life easier.

    PG, even though I do agree with your viewpoint in general, I think Dulcie was correct in her assessment of the hijab situation. I’m not sure if Dulcie is Muslim or not, and I’m not and apparently you’re not either, and that’s why it’s really more important to go to the source and ask the Muslim women about this problem directly. The hijab issue is very contentious even just in the community of Muslim women and when the Western non-Muslim women start tossing opinions into the mix it really does become even more complicated.

    I’d like to point out a book that was presented here for discussion lately by Karima Bennoune. Here is the link to that book:

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/9/1/-your-fatwa-does-not-apply-here-muslim-artists-battle-fundamentalism

    I am 28% through this book and I recommend it for an excellent explanation of the Muslim women and some men who are fantastically brave in their fights against fundamentalism. Bennoune has other articles and chapters that I have referenced in other comments here in the past. Of course she is not the only Muslim woman author who has written on this issue and I would be happy to mention others that have given the subject of clothing and modesty a good scholarly investigation.

    Here is a paragraph from where I am reading in that book on Kindle at 28% (sorry I don’t have a page number)

    Sometimes women say they choose such attire. Everyone assumes that is the end of he story. Nevetheless, that does not change the meaning of covering, and such “choices” increasingly happen in contexts infused with fundamentalist teachings about purity and the shamefulness of women’s bodies. Muslim women did not wake up one morning and say, “I live in a hot climate, let me shroud myself as much as possible.” While Leila Boucli recognizes that there may be a variety of individual motivations for a woman to wear a veil, at the end of the day, the practice “is doubly discriminatory: it separates women from men and it separates ‘honest’ women from the rest.” Boucli’s concern is entirely borne out by a fatwa from the all-male European Council on Fatwa and Research. (This Muslim Brotherhood-linked foundation, based in Dublin and headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, seeks to unify Muslim jurisprudence in Europe.) the council’s fatwa calls on all Muslim women in Europe to veil: “Thus by her dress, she presents herself as a serious and honest woman who is neither a seductress nor a temptress.” In a single fatwa, the rest of us have become unveiled whores.

    In parts of the world there is an onward march to cover women’s bodies and elsewhere to uncover them – with all this often justified in the name of women making a choice. To me, this justification of “choice” misses the point about the overwhelming politics of the presentation of the female form. If one is given a menu with two options – say, covering up and being a good Muslim or not covering and being a loose woman or a bad Muslim – and one chooses to be good rather than bad, certainly that is a “choice”. But is it actually a reflection of personal preference? The real question is, How did we end up with the limited menu?

    You said:

    Around here the Muslim lads are mis-marketing it as the religion that sees women for what they do not what they look like and the hijab is the symbol of that.

    I totally agree that this is what you have observed and been told about these coverings. I’ve been told the same thing countless times. I think that many Muslims really are convinced that their religion and culture and their Prophet have a superior sense of respect for women and that every other culture treats women like sluts and whores, but consider also that to any Muslim, we women of the West ARE those slutty whores who no matter how nice they might seem, are headed straight to hell. When any Muslim, male or female explains to you in that condescending, holier than thou tone of voice about how much their religion, culture and Prophet hold women and mothers in such high esteem that they must take direct action to protect them from the dirty dogs and pigs in the street who are just waiting for a chance to defile them, then you should point out that women in Hijabs, Burkas and every other kind of covering are still experiencing sexual harassment and rape on the streets and their jobs and in their own homes. What I want to know is, why are the men being held responsible and punished? As long as they get away with sexual harassment, why would anything change?

    Your Hijab wearing friend may have an Engineering degree but that has nothing to do with the degree to which she may or may not be completely brainwashed in her religion. I know that we’ve seen stats presented that suggest a negative relationship between higher education and level of religiosity, and that may be true for some populations but I have serious doubts that it holds true for Muslims. I read a quote by a Muslim woman, I can’t remember who – maybe Ayaan Hirsi Ali but I’m not sure, that says shame on the free Muslim women who are living in the West and “choose” to wear a garment of oppression when their Muslim sisters elsewhere in the world are being beaten and killed (Algeria) for refusing to wear it. Those women are supporting oppression and murder of their own Muslim sisters every time they step out in that potato sack.

  21. In all fairness, no one is allowed complete freedom of dress in modern society, no matter how liberal. We’re not permitted to walk around naked except in the most limited circumstances. Dress codes are used to limit entry into a wide range of venues. Uniforms are expected to be worn in most state schools in many countries ( though I doubt that this rule can be strictly enforced if put to the test). Schools in our area limit the wearing of jewellery and makeup as well.

    The exception to this policy is religious dress. In order not to alienate students from the outset, various concessions are made for the wearers of specific religious garments. Schools accommodate the hijab and the turban, and blend it in with the everyday uniform. Muslim girls are permitted to wear all covering garments when competing in swimming events. These are concessions made so that students can fit in.

    Personally, I find the burqa far more confronting than seeing someone with no clothes. No other specific religious dress has quite the same effect. We’ve had to fight so hard for our place in society and it seems like a slap in the face.

    The policy in France is probably in reaction to the most confronting aspects. Instead of making regulations a little here, a little there, they’ve operated with a blanket ban all religious clothing. I can understand why they’ve done it and I’m curious to see how it works out in the long run.

    • In reply to #54 by Nitya:

      The policy in France is probably in reaction to the most confronting aspects. Instead of making regulations a little here, a little there, they’ve operated with a blanket ban all religious clothing. I can understand why they’ve done it and I’m curious to see how it works out in the long run.

      The difference is that a Catholic child’s parents can tell her to tuck her crucifix into her shirt just before she enters school premises. She’ll still be wearing it, and may even feel closer to her lord and savior.

      Telling a Muslim girl to remove her headscarf and put it in her pocket until the schoolday ends just isn’t the same thing.

      • In reply to #64 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #54 by Nitya:

        The policy in France is probably in reaction to the most confronting aspects. Instead of making regulations a little here, a little there, they’ve operated with a blanket ban all religious clothing. I can understand why they’ve done it and I’m curious to see how it works o…

        The catholic child probably wouldn’t cling on to the cross around her neck for fear of shaming her family, in the same way that a Muslim girl would. It’s a matter of degree, I think.

        This is not a problem with an easy solution. France is now paying the price for all those years as a colonial power in Muslim countries. They have a significant number of Islamic citizens and this obvious difference was always going to create problems. There couldn’t be a greater contrast than that of the chic Parisian woman and her burqa-clad counterpart.

        We have a large Islamic presence in Sydney these days, as they comprise the bulk of our latest migrant intake. When I see a woman completely decked out in metres of fabric in our hot summer months, I have a strong emotional reaction. All those feelings of women being kept in their place and treated badly, bubble up. The young women in their limited Islamic dress, don’t cause me to feel this way. As I’ve said in a previous post, I think they look exotic and attractive. If the Muslim woman in full dress is kept a prisoner in her own home, it’s a prison of her own making.

        I knew that you would get a lot of flack when this topic came up. I remember references to the “wrath of Cordeth” in a previous exchange quite a while ago. I thought it was a witty, good natured description. You are certainly keeping up to your principles, but I don’t know if you’re winning any hearts and minds.

        • In reply to #78 by Nitya:

          In reply to #64 by Katy Cordeth:

          I was just about to hit like on your comment when I came to this bit:

          If the Muslim woman in full dress is kept a prisoner in her own home, it’s a prison of her own making.

          You do know that most Muslims don’t have a say in their religious status, don’t you; that apostasy in Islam is a capital offense?

          I knew that you would get a lot of flack when this topic came up. I remember references to the “wrath of Cordeth” in a previous exchange quite a while ago. I thought it was a witty, good natured description.

          I like it too; but its originator’s opinion of me is far from good natured.

          You are certainly keeping up to your principles, but I don’t know if you’re winning any hearts and minds.

          Thank you. I do try to keep to my principles, probably because I have so few of them. As for hearts and minds, well, Rome wasn’t built in a day. They’ll come round to my way of thinking eventually. The trick is to bombard them with unimpeachable logic, throw in a few gags, don’t give ‘em an inch when they say something inaccurate, hateful or just plain dumb. Essentially, you’re breaking them down so you can rebuild them as they should be. It’s hard work, but rewarding. :)

          • In reply to #83 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #78 by Nitya:

            In reply to #64 by Katy Cordeth:

            I was just about to hit like on your comment when I came to this bit:

            If the Muslim woman in full dress is kept a prisoner in her own home, it’s a prison of her own making.

            You do know that most Muslims don’t have a say in their religiou…

            BTW I always enjoy reading your responses as they’re full of caustic humour. You have quite a turn of phrase!!

  22. In reply to #44 by Steve_M:

    In reply to #29 by Zeuglodon:
    Back on topic – if secular schools that have a clear uniform policy should make allowances for girls to have the personal choice to wear burqas/hijabs whilst at school, then shouldn’t they also allow boys who are fans of batman to wear batman outfits? If not… why not??

    Oh come on, obviously you can’t have Batman outfits; Batman is a fictional comic book superhero who doesn’t even have superpowers. Mohamed, who had at least 11 wives including a 6-year-old child, is a real historical figure who flew around on a winged horse. Also you don’t want to annoy the folks who own the cradle of Islam and the oil underneath.

  23. Excellent! I’m waiting to see what happens here in Québec, where the ruling party is trying to pass a somewhat flawed secularism charter. Another party will support it if some corrections are made. Other parties just want to do nothing and maintain the status quo. I sure hope SOMETHING gets done, because problems are growing, they’re really not imaginary, and lots of people are getting increasingly frustrated.

  24. Interesting. The Huff Post has an article today about a Sudanese woman tried for refusing to wear the hijab. So I don’t want any self-righteous fake feminist to tell me the hijab is merely a fashion item.

    Amira Osman Hamed, a Sudanese woman, will be tried on Sept. 19 for refusing to cover her hair with a hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women. If convicted, the 35-year-old could be punished by flogging, according to the Agence France-Presse.

  25. In reply to #17 by justinesaracen:

    In reply to #14 by Katy Cordeth:

    It is forbidden in schools to wear symbols or clothes that show affiliation to religion.

    “It’s not an excuse for you to dictate what other people are allowed to wear.”

    What nonsense. Of course schools can dictate what students are allowed to wear. Some require school uniforms, or have hemline standards, or require socks or forbid flip-flops. And I think even you would agree that (for example) students should not be allowed to attend school bare-backed and recently self-flagellated. I suspect you don’t live in the UK or Europe, where you see women walking around in full veil or burka. It is a slap in the face of a society that has struggled to give women genuine freedom. The French have defined themselves and their culture as secular, and it seems wholly reasonable in the public sphere, to require this be upheld. This does nothing to the practice of religion in the home or in the house of worship.

    No, what it does is keep it in the home and house of worship. All bans on Islamic dress accomplish is to make prisoners of the women who are forced to wear it. Vive la France indeed.

    The Liberté part of France’s national motto seems to have been discarded. It translates as ‘liberty”, for the benefit of any non-francophones here. Or ‘freedom’ if you prefer. That to me should encompass freedom from government legislation designed to make French nationals feel unwelcome in their own country; make those women who don’t have a choice in whether to wear Islamic clothing shut-ins for the rest of their natural lives; and to deny Muslim schoolgirls an education.

    (Don’t take my word for it though:

    7, Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.

    Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, 1789)

    I feel this may be somewhat playing into Islamists’ hands: why do these guys need to spout chapter and verse from the Qur’an on how a woman’s place is in the home and girls should not be educated when countries like France, ably supported by clear-thinking websites such as this one, are prepared to make it happen without their help?

    I do live in Europe for much of the time, and when I see women walking round in this dress, I don’t feel like I’m being slapped in the face. One has to wonder about someone who has presumably reached adulthood and does feel that others’ attire is all about insulting him- or herself.

    Look, I understand why people are intimidated or offended by full body coverings. I don’t share this fear, but I’m sympathetic to those who do. It’s anathema to a social animal like us to have someone in our midst whose body language and identity are unreadable, and it’s natural to react with hostility.

    But my sympathy extends only up to a point. As someone once said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

    If you and others like you are championing legislation which will ensure certain women and children have fewer rights than they currently do, and may be denied an education or even personal liberté, sorry, liberty because of it, and you use your own prejudices to justify this support, then as far as I’m concerned you’re no friend to my half of the species.

    I’m sorry every sighting of a burka-clad woman is tantamount to a slap in the face for your delicate sensibilities, but my friendly advice would be to suck it up, to grow up, and for you to embrace the cultural diversity that being a citizen of the world provides you.

    Vive la différence!

    • In reply to #63 by Katy Cordeth:

      If you and others like you are championing legislation which will ensure certain women and children have fewer rights than they currently do, and may be denied an education

      Education is compulsory in France, until the pupil is 16 years old.

      So no, the family can’t easily keep the girls at home. Home-schooling is not very common here, and is controlled annually or bi-annually by an “inspecteur d’académie”. The level of the child is compared to that of schoolchildren of similar age. If the inspections are unsatisfactory, eventually the child must be sent to school, regardless of the parents’ demands.

      So no, it is very difficult to deny an education to children here.

  26. This is bothering me.

    Perhaps some of you already outlined it:I apologise in advance for not having the time to read all your comments.

    As much as promoting secular values in schools can only be saluted, as much it kind of burns my a** when this is done in a neverending climate of staggering French hypocrisy.

    Let’s not forget that this good old France, so secular and laic, still has to this day a weekly mass on Sundays, broadcasted on a national TV channel as well as other catholic programs on the same national channel.
    National channels are funded with a yearly tax that any French household has to pay as long as they possess a TV set, regardless of their religion. In other words, it means whether you are a Muslim, an atheist, a Sikh or whatever is your inclination, people DO pay for such programs.

    Not only that, suffice it to watch the weather reports, every goddamn single day, people are reminded during it that whatever day it is it is whatever Saint day. Yes, each weather report, on National Television tells you that each day is associated to a Christian Saint.
    It’s also written on all the calendars circulating in the country, whether you get one from your bank, the Post Office or even your supermarket..!
    For example, today is September 12th. Today is St Apollinaire day.

    I am all for not displaying any religious symbol in schools. How about the public/national, supposedly secular place then? Deafening silence…

    Let’s also not forget, not so long ago, when Nicolas Sarkozy was president, the man had the guts to officially spew this:

    ” The roots of France are essentially Christian […] In the transmission of values and learning, the difference between good and evil, the teacher can never replace a priest or a pastor. ”
    (Discours de Latran, 12/20/2007).

    And then double down a year later:

    ” I know of no country whose heritage, whose culture, whose civilization has no religious roots […] God, who does not enslave Man but makes him free, God, who is the bulwark against excessive pride and the madness of men, God, source of hope and progress[...] ”
    (Discours Abu Dhabi, 01/15/2008)

    Granted, Mr Sarkozy is not President anymore. There is still a huge following to the right’s causes, a following that displayed such lovely [sarcasm] Christian values when the Hollande administration finally, at long last, passed same-sex marriage into law lately.

    A few years ago, a teacher appointed for the Baccalauréat exams was suspended because she refused to have the exam taking place in a classroom that had a huge crucifix in it.
    http://www.rue89.com/2009/07/03/les-oraux-du-bac-sous-un-crucifix-cest-possible
    http://www.leparisien.fr/abo-vivremieux/crucifix-a-l-oral-du-bac-une-prof-temoigne-01-07-2009-565829.php

    One has to start somewhere in order to make things right, I suppose. However, whether we like it or not, France is a deeply racist and biased, Catholic place where the Church still has a mammoth pass.
    It even shows in the census numbers. I personally know a plethora of people who are as atheist as I am, yet they would check the catholic/christian box on the paper simply because they were raised in such a household. Furthermore, because their political inclination tends to lean on the right like an adjusted morning dressing up, all the while seeming all cool and open-minded, they actually belong to the ones, in the shadows, voting against equality and posting about how France is about to be taken over by Islam.
    To this day, I have yet to see the Muslim community over here, foaming at the mouth to turn this country into some caliphate only a Glenn Beck is afraid of. Catholics, however, never cease to bark and bite at each and every occasion, whether it is about same-sex marriage or even art exhibitions or theatre plays to name a few…

    Teaching kids secular values is great. This old thing France truly needs a good spring cleaning though. This dust has to go. What is a Muslim kid, a _____ [ < insert religious belief here] kid supposed to think considering all this?
    This is all just a bit weird to me. I’m sorry for the long post.

    [rant off]

    • In reply to #67 by dom d. miller:

      This is bothering me.

      Perhaps some of you already outlined it:I apologise in advance for not having the time to read all your comments.

      As much as promoting secular values in schools can only be saluted, as much it kind of burns my a** when this is done in a neverending climate of staggering Frenc…

      I think they’re merely paying lip service to their Catholicism. Isn’t France one of the least religious countries in Europe?

      • Well, that would be the knee-jerk reaction and I can’t blame you for that. Except it’s not even true.
        Lip service is paid to everything BUT Catholicism.

        —I’m making a sidenote here, but do you REALLY think, regardless of political bending and country, that major hot shots are BELIEVING? I’m not buying it: at all. It’s still a very, very good piece on the chessboard though—.

        If you look at it, Catholics have always sided with the extreme right wing political factions —in the case of France, cleverly rebranded UMP.
        Instead of lip service to Catholicism, it is actually the other way around. You see, any appeal to catholic values calls to the elders and the obtuse minded. Playing that chord means more votes and support for a right wing that has never been so harsh (even though everybody pretends and ignores it — including internationally).

        Again, this whole secular thing is only coming out of the blue to possibly reinforce a decaying leftist electorate, right now, especially after the right’s ‘hoopla’ about same sex marriage. This is political agenda, it has nothing to do with reason, nothing to do with what’s right. That’s why it’s bugging me so much and I started writing here… out of frustration and endless lies.

        In reply to #79 by Nitya:

        In reply to #67 by dom d. miller:

        I think they’re merely paying lip service to their Catholicism. Isn’t France one of the least religious countries in Europe?

        • In reply to #80 by dom d. miller:

          Well, that would be the knee-jerk reaction and I can’t blame you for that. Except it’s not even true.
          Lip service is paid to everything BUT Catholicism.

          —I’m making a sidenote here, but do you REALLY think, regardless of political bending and country, that major hot shots are BELIEVING? I’m not buy…

          Appeals to religion are tactics used by the right all around the globe, not limited to France. ( I think I may be paraphrasing what you’ve just said .my apologies). I’m always of the opinion that they’re just faking their religious sensibilities and don’t actually believe that stuff.
          I probably think this way because I can’t imagine why anyone in possession of their faculties would actually think it’s true, unless they’ve gone to elaborate lengths of self delusion. Politicians are usually smart, so I assume they’re faking piety.

          • That is quite a correct paraphrasing indeed. Thank you.

            In reply to #81 by Nitya:

            In reply to #80 by dom d. miller:

            Appeals to religion are tactics used by the right all around the globe, not limited to France. ( I think I may be paraphrasing what you’ve just said .my apologies). I’m always of the opinion that they’re just faking their religious sensibilities and don’t actually believe that stuff. I probably think this way because I can’t imagine why anyone in possession of their faculties would actually think it’s true, unless they’ve gone to elaborate lengths of self delusion. Politicians are usually smart, so I assume they’re faking piety.

  27. Just a little chat with Katy :)

    I don’t know about the Constitution of the Fifth Republic (adopted in 1958), but I do know that here in Britain we don’t have a written constitution. We are not even citizens with rights, but subjects of her Majesty the Queen (bless her) with privileges, and can pass any legislation we please (as long as we don’t upset the EU), including banning the burka. Shame we haven’t done that already.

    I chuckled while reading an essay by Edmund Burke (the much misquoted Dubliner) where he described himself as a “True Englishman”. That phrase is becoming increasingly meaningless nowadays, for we have instead, all become members of a “rich tapestry”, surrounded by cultures within cultures that would have been unheard of only a few decades ago.

    Just before you get me all wrong. Katy, let me make it absolutely clear that I have no objection whatsoever to the Burka, nor to women (or men) walking the street covered in a tent from top to bottom. On the contrary, I think it is picturesque, even fetching in the streets of Casablanca, Mecca, and Timbuktu, but in these days when some nations (which shall remain nameless) are encouraging terrorists by supplying them with weapons and poison gas, it is a worry walking the streets of London or Bradford or almost every other city in Britain, lest the tent coming towards you turns out to be a terrorist in drag.

    It also makes a mockery of having to remove my motorbike helmet every time I approach the cashier at a petrol station to pay for the fuel, while the gal (or guy) next to me is perfectly at liberty to keep her (or his) face fully covered.

    • In reply to #68 by ZedBee:

      Just a little chat with Katy :)

      Just before you get me all wrong. Katy, let me make it absolutely clear that I have no objection whatsoever to the Burka, nor to women (or men) walking the street covered in a tent from top to bottom. On the contrary, I think it is picturesque, even fetching in the streets of Casablanca, Mecca, and Timbuktu, but in these days when some nations (which shall remain nameless) are encouraging terrorists by supplying them with weapons and poison gas, it is a worry walking the streets of London or Bradford or almost every other city in Britain, lest the tent coming towards you turns out to be a terrorist in drag.

      You know, the hilarious thing about “burqas in France” is this:
      http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2009/07/29/moins-de-400-femmes-porteraient-le-voile-integral-en-france_573216

      Furthermore, most the women belonging to that number decided themselves to actually wear it. We can question anything, it was their decision.
      If tomorrow I want to go out in drag, that’s my prerogative, even though I know going to the bar next door, I would probably get punched in the face because the fromage-bérêt dudes there would get all crazy at my sight.

      This whole secularism thing in France is nothing but a political weapon, only good enough to play with the opinion and get votes from one side or another actually.

      Religion has always been a control thing. Pawns… Just pawns.

    • In reply to #68 by ZedBee:

      Just a little chat with Katy :)

      Goody, I adore little chats. They’re much nicer than dry old ‘discussions’.

      >

      Just before you get me all wrong. Katy, let me make it absolutely clear that I have no objection whatsoever to the Burka, nor to women (or men) walking the street covered in a tent from top to bottom. On the contrary, I think it is picturesque, even fetching in the streets of Casablanca, Mecca, and Timbuktu, but in these days when some nations (which shall remain nameless) are encouraging terrorists by supplying them with weapons and poison gas, it is a worry walking the streets of London or Bradford or almost every other city in Britain, lest the tent coming towards you turns out to be a terrorist in drag.

      I think it’s fair to say that if your tolerance for the burka is conditional on its only being worn in far-off lands, then your claim to have no objection whatsoever should be taken with a grain of salt.

      Did it ever occur to you that the terrorists’ intent is to provoke exactly this reaction from non-Muslims, so that Western Muslims will come to see themselves as outsiders in their own nations and opt for a more radical form of their religion?

      Has it occurred to you that you may in fact be playing into the jihadists’ hands?

      It also makes a mockery of having to remove my motorbike helmet every time I approach the cashier at a petrol station to pay for the fuel, while the gal (or guy) next to me is perfectly at liberty to keep her (or his) face fully covered.

      My heart bleeds for you and I weep at this injustice.

      Not really. Get a car.

  28. Dom, hi

    My son sold his flat in the Rue de l’Universite and bought property in Ambernac, despite the inconvenience of having to take the Grande Vitesse every time he needs to go to Paris on business. He chose that secluded spot because it is about as far away from the voile as he can get, without taking permanent residence at St. Helena. Your countrymen shouldn’t have made such a fuss in the 1950’s about “Algerie Francaise” which has now come back to haunt them.

    I regret not having a French keyboard to type the French words properly.

    • Hi Zed,

      Well, my first reaction would be to say: “so what?”

      Something is really bothering me in what you wrote and it is this: “He chose that secluded spot because it is about as far away from the voile [you meant 'veil'] as he can get, without taking permanent residence at St. Helena.”

      I mean, what does your son (or you for that matter) expect from living in a Muslim community? Jesus pictures and eating pork at every street corner? Or none for that matter?

      I still can understand one does not abide by it, especially because of what you rightly wrote about the “Algérie Française” (one of the darkest French History pain in the ass).

      Regardless, as much as I do agree that ‘officials’ should have come clean about it and have overcome it by now, as much this very country is still stuck in the very same hypocritical mindset as the United States, only even more hypocritical actually.
      It’s a “do as I say, don’t do what do” kind of implied rule and that sucks donkey dick. Hence my above rant at #67. Precisely.

      That said, your French keyboard just types words perfectly, so don’t you worry about that.

      Instead of screaming “SECULAR” this country should whisper “Oops”. That’s my point.

      In reply to #75 by ZedBee:

      Dom, hi

      My son sold his flat in the Rue de l’Universite and bought property in Ambernac, despite the inconvenience of having to take the Grande Vitesse every time he needs to go to Paris on business. He chose that secluded spot because it is about as far away from the voile as he can get, without t…

      • In reply to #77 by dom d. miller:

        Dom, I don’t have a problem with “so what”, nor was my sentence intended to sound like a complaint, rather just stating the new realities in very few words, so I will use a short analogy (yes I know analogies are never perfect). Suppose I bought a house with a nice view at the back, foolishly expecting this to last forever, but I don’t own the view of beautiful mountains, lakes and forests, and there is nothing to stop others, legally building rows of tenement houses at the back. So what? So, I have a choice; put up with the new view or move. That is what my son did, he moved.

        • I didn’t mean to be harsh —I often come off as such though; I got a big mouth and my tongue is razor sharp… Sorry if you felt bitten, it wasn’t my intention.

          As for the rest (sorry again) but this is a bit of a silly analogy with a silly preset mind. Who in their right mind would expect a view, any view to remain frozen when life is all about perpetual change —whether we like it or not— ?

          In reply to #84 by ZedBee:

          In reply to #77 by dom d. miller:

          Dom, I don’t have a problem with “so what”, nor was my sentence intended to sound like a complaint, rather just stating the new realities in very few words, so I will use a short analogy (yes I know analogies are never perfect). Suppose I bought a house with a nice…

          • In reply to #87 by ZedBee:

            In reply to #86 by dom d. miller:

            Serves me right. You won’t get any more analogies from me :)

            No, no, no!
            Please keep going apesh*t analogy on me anytime, on the contrary!
            I am all for uttering one myself and you would rightfully crush it.
            And that’s what is really cool: rubbing against one another and learning from it.
            Don’t you love this? I know I do :)

  29. Katy, hi

    1) I do have a Jeep Cherokee as well as a Honda VFR750, thank you, but where is the fun driving a furnished apartment when you can ride the wind.

    2) I also have a grain of salt the size of Mont Cervin which I save for biblical tales, but you are welcome to borrow it.

    3) I promise you the next time I go on a motorbike holiday to Benghazi, I will wear a burnous, a tarbush, and a pair of Medina mules gladly, to comply politely with the good old saying, “Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more” which needs no translation.

    4) No it hasn’t occurred to me to leave all doors and windows open at night, to avoid provoking burglars by locking them, but it sounds like good advice, so I will think about it.

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