Race and Racism in Modern Europe

History 311: Race and Racism in Modern Europe

Final Essay

***Please write a five-page (approximately 1500 words) essay on the following topic: Compare and contrast the recommendations from the United Kingdom's National Union of Teachers with former French President Chirac's speech. What assumptions does each make about religion, identity, and integration?

Speech by President Jacques Chirac, on respecting the principle of secularism in the Republic, 17 December 2003:

"Splitting society into communities cannot be the choice for France. It would be contrary to our history, traditions, and culture...Secularism guarantees freedom of conscience. It protects the freedom to believe or not to believe. It guarantees everyone the possibility of expressing and practicing their faith...without the threat of imposition of other convictions or believes. It allows women and men from all corners of the globe, from all cultures, to be protected in their beliefs by the Republic and its institutions...

"Like all freedoms, freedom of expression of religious beliefs can be limited only by the freedom of the other and observance of the rules of life in society. Religious freedom, which our country respects and protects, cannot be hijacked...It cannot impinge on the freedom of conviction of others...

"We must also reaffirm secularism at school because the school must be completely protected. School is first and foremost the place where the values bequeathed to us all are acquired and passed on. The instrument par excellence for entrenching the republican idea...school is a republican sanctuary which we must defend...

"I consider that the wearing of clothes or signs which conspicuously denote a religious affiliation must be prohibited at school. Discreet signs, for example a cross, a Star of David or Hand of Fatima, will of course remain allowed. However, conspicuous signs, i.e. those which stand out and immediately denote religious affiliation, must not be tolerated. These the Islamic veil...the Kippa, or a cross of a clearly excessive size have no place in state schools...State schools will remain secular...It is to make the young people involved understand what is at stake and protect them from influences and passions which, far from liberating them or allowing them to make free choices, constrain or threaten them...

"I very solemnly proclaim: the Republic will oppose everything which divides, everything which discourages participation, and everything which excludes! The rule is 'everyone together' because this places everyone on an equal footing, because it refuses to distinguish on grounds of sex, origin, color, or religion.

Except from the UK's National Union of Teachers Guidelines "The Muslim Faith and School Uniform: Wearing the Hijab and other Islamic Dress in Schools (2006):

"When drawing up a school uniform policy...[there must be] the recognition that in principle, pupils have a right to dress in accordance with the requirements of their religious beliefs. It should be recognized the for Muslims in particular, the concepts of modesty and dignity in dress carry the status of religious obligation...

"Though there may be differences in interpretation of the requirement of modesty of dress among Muslims, schools should generally avoid making assumptions about how this modesty is expressed; [schools should also] enable individual choice to be exercised within a broad dress code framework...

"When considering how to accommodate the different cultural and religious needs of pupils within a single school uniform policy, a basic starting point for the discussion might therefore be the question of whether a pupil's choice of dress hinders the process of teaching and learning. Within the context of teaching and learning, issues ranging from ensuring equal access to the curriculum, to the relationship between pupils and between pupils and teachers might be examined. Schools may wish, for example, to consider whether a pupil's request to be allowed to wear the naqab, a face cover, would inhibit facial communication as part of teaching and learning...

"The Human Rights Act of 1998 establishes a right to manifest one's religion. This includes the right to dress in accordance with the requirements of one's faith. The right can be limited only in the interests of public safety, public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. In a multicultural, multi-faith society, there is potential for dispute between interpretations of religious requirements and the aims and details of a school uniform policy...

"A school uniform policy as to be a working document, subject to regular reviews, on the basis of consultation and negotiation with pupils, parents, and the community served by the school...

"Schools should generally avoid imposing requirements of dress upon their pupils that conflict fundamentally with the religious beliefs on appropriate attire held at home. Schools should avoid placing pupils in the position of having to choose between the requirements for dress made by the school and those deemed appropriate within their homes. Where conflicts arise, they should be a matter of discussion between parents and the school.

Please be aware that the free essay that you were just reading was not written by us. This essay, and all of the others available to view on the website, were provided to us by students in exchange for services that we offer. This relationship helps our students to get an even better deal while also contributing to the biggest free essay resource in the UK!