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December 1994, Volume 1, Number 11

Moslem Girls Suspended in France

At least 31 girls have been suspended from four French schools for wearing headscarves to public schools. Education Minister Bayrou announced at the start of the 1994-95 school year that "ostentatious" religious symbols would be banned from French schools. There are between 150,000 to 250,000 Muslim girls in French schools. At the start of the school year, about 2,000 were wearing headscarves, compared to only 600 now.

In a related story, Copenhagen officials apologized to a 16-year old Muslim girl who was barred from working at a social center because she wore an Islamic headscarf. As part of their apology, city officials offered her a job at City Hall. There is no ban on religious headgear in schools or workplaces in Denmark. Moslems account for 4 percent of the Danish population.

"French schools bar 31 Muslim girls with scarves," International Herald Tribune, November 10, 1994. "French minister defends school headscarf ban," Reuters, November 25, 1994. Brian Knowlton, "Girl Gets Danish Apology and a Job in Dispute Over Islamic Headscarf," Reuters, November 20, 1994.