Banning the veil in schools has allowed Muslim girls to get better grades and more to marry outside their religion, according to a French study.
French public schools were told to ban “ostentatious religious signs” – including Islamic veils – in 1994, but it wasn’t banned by law until 2004. The ban came despite warnings from leaders clerics that the law persecutes Muslims and encourages fundamentalism.
However, researchers in France have found that removing the veil in schools can have positive effects, including a significant improvement in the academic performance of Muslim girls, as well as an increase in intermarriage.
Professor Eric Maurin of the Paris School of Economics and co-author of the study, said: “For students who wore the veil, the ban may have had a negative effect on those who were in it the most. tied up because he may have driven them to drop out of school.
“But the ban may also have had a positive effect on students who were forced to wear headscarves and on students who suffer stigma and discrimination at school because of it.”
Muslim women born between 1971 and 1974, who would have finished school before the 1994 decision, were about 13% less likely to graduate from high school than their non-Muslim counterparts.
That gap narrowed to just seven percent among women born between 1987 and 1990 who went to school with some form of veil ban in place.
Professor Maurin, whose findings were presented at the 75th meeting of the Economic Policy Panel earlier this month, added: “When comparing women from the Muslim group to those from the non-Muslim group, the data reveals a very significant increase in the level of education in the Muslim group. group for cohorts who attended college and reached puberty after prohibition.
“This increase clearly coincides with the implementation of the circular: the more years women in the Muslim group spent in college after the circular, the higher their level of education.”
The proposal to ban the wearing of the veil by Marine Le Pen
The veil has become a hot topic in the French presidential campaign after National Rally candidate Marine Le Pen controversially announced that she intended to impose a blanket ban on the headscarf in public – not just in schools. and in the civil service – if elected on April 24.
“It’s an Islamist uniform that I would ban in public places,” she said last week, adding that women who violated the ban would face fines equivalent to a “traffic offense “. It was, she insisted, “the uniform of an ideology, not a religion”.
Emmanuel Macron, 44, his rival and incumbent, said such a move would violate French secularism (laïcité) protecting religious freedoms for all.
“There is no country in the world where the headscarf is banned in public. Do you want to be the first? he asked.
“Under the constitution, if it bans the veil, it will have to ban the yarmulke, the cross and other religious symbols,” he added.
Amid growing criticism, Ms Le Pen has since backtracked on the proposal saying it was not a priority and would be subject to parliamentary debate anyway.