The High Council for Integration (HCI) called for a controversial ban of the Islamic headscarf in higher education in a report leaked to the public. The publication of the report caused confusion in social networks. Questioned by the AFP, the secretary general of HCI, Benoît Normand, said that the report had been submitted in April to the President of the new National Observatory of Secularism, Jean-Louis Bianco and should not be released before the end of the year.
For his part, Jean-Louis Bianco expressed regret over the “misunderstanding”. “The report commits only the Chair of Secularism of the HCI who is no longer in office.” The issue of the headscarves in higher education is, according to Bianco, not part of the task plan of the National Observatory of Secularism. The 2004 national law on banning the wearing of religious symbols in secondary schools does not apply to higher education. Only the niqab remains to be banned in public spaces including universities in France, not the hijab.
Reuters – September 16, 2011
French companies are increasingly facing religious demands from their employees and need a change in the labor code to be able to reject requests they find unreasonable, according to a report from the High Council for Integration (HCI). Most cases concern Muslims seeking time off for prayers or halal food in company cafeterias, but demands have also come from other faith groups as well as workers resentful of colleagues who get special treatment, officials said while presenting the report in Paris. In recent years, France has banned religious dress such as Muslim headscarves in state schools and full facial veils in public, but it has no laws covering religious issues that may arise in private companies.
Alain Seksig, author of the report, said the proposal would go to Prime Minister Francois Fillon and any change in the labor code would need to be approved by parliament.
News Agencies – October 25, 2010
Muslim pupils and parents in France are increasingly making religious demands on the state school system that teachers should rebuff by explaining the country’s secular principles, according to an official report. The High Council for Integration (HCI) reported growing problems with pupils of immigrant backgrounds who object to courses about the Holocaust, the Crusades or evolution, demand halal meals and “reject French culture and its values.”
HCI President Patrick Gaubert claimed his agency decided to study how pupils from immigrant backgrounds adapted to the state school system because “this is at the heart of the challenges that French society must face.” The Report will be released in November 2010.