The French board of education published strict new regulations regarding religious rules in public schools :
1.Forbidding any religious head covering whether Jewish Yarmulke or Moslem head scarf.
2.Pupils can not miss school because of religious holidays.
3.Pupils can not refrain from shaking hands with a woman and will be punished for that.
4.Religious holidays will be limited to one day off.
5.Pupils may not pray in dormitories if it disturbs others.
But what about Christmas -Noel will that be cancelled too?
It seems to me that this view of other religions as a threat only serves to increase intolerance in what many Europeans fail to admit is a multicultural society.
It seems to me that Europe ignores the fact that it is not a neutral space but in fact a Christian space .
As long as the public school holidays follow the Christian calendar this intolerance to the religions of minorities is unacceptable and in fact fascist as it sends pupils a clear message ; only the religion of the majority matters.
Having lived in Switzerland where the little town where I had lived had held a huge annual nativity scene with story telling time with an angel three times a day telling the story of the North of Jesus and yet not Wii meters from there stood a supermarket where a Moslem woman who had sought work as a cashier was told she may not wear a headscarf because of a wish “to keep public places religious neutral”!!!
Yes ,i live in the middle East now where there is a huge territorial dispute and if truth be told a religious one as well but I feel pride in my chaotic boost country where Moskem women wear headscarves to work in the bank branch ,supermarket or wherever they like .
No one will tell a Moslem or Jew or Christian not to wear religious symbols but I’m the other hand there are extremists who don’t tolerate the other religion but as one teacher who works in the Arab Jewish school had told me ;the pupils may say racist slogans but they are friends with each other ,they even date each other so the slogans are just repeting what they might hear at home but in school Arabs and Jews are friends .
I recall my son having a Moslem friend (a kurd)in the Swiss school i took them one time swimming and the not wanted to buy a snack that contained pork and I told him it is better to choose something else .Bith Judausm ans Islam ban eating Pork(Kosher/Halel)
Switzerland is one of the few countries that have outlawed religious Moslem and Jewish slaughter claiming it is cruel to animals and yet the Swiss allow large pharmaceutical companies to torture animals ,dogs who are man’s best friends are used to test drugs when there is a debate in the scientific community as tk how effective the drugs testing on animals are and we know for certain that animals used for drug and cosmetic testing feel just like human beings !
i feel that though Judaism and Islam certainly have a lot more on common than Christianity ,it is important however to see the recent rules by the French board of education for what it is a clear discrimination between the minority religions and the majority .
As long as there is no absolute and clear separation of church and state and the European countries and most of the western world go according to the Gregorian calendar one can not make rules not allowing other people what the majority has;a sense of being grounded in their faith and culture .
One of the reasons I left Switzerland and moved back to an uneasy chaotic situation in Israel with military conflicts on the border is that there are attempts to live together with mutual respect though it is a constant struggle against the current government where unfortunately extremists rule the board of education but there is also a balancing force that seeks co existence and true tolerance and this is where I seek to work and help support in ways are light years away from Europe ever achieving .