Faced with religious claims, the town of Gonesse proposes a charter

A rise in religious claims by communities is causing embarrassment for a number of mayors in France, and concern on how to balance the principals of secularism with respecting the religious adherence of members of their communities. The mayor of Gonesse, Jean-Pierre Blazy, attempted to reconcile these claims by proposing a charter emphasizing the importance of secularism for social cohesion, to be approved by major religions present in the township. Recently, the town has faced pressures concerning the visibility of religion on public schools – including requests for halal or Islamically permissible food in the cafeteria, and a ban on girls wearing scarves in schools.