Beneath the veil: Muslim girls and the Islamic headscarf in secular France

Jones, Nicky (2009) Beneath the veil: Muslim girls and the Islamic headscarf in secular France. Macquarie Law Journal, 9. pp. 47-69. ISSN 1445-386X


The 'affair of the headscarf' in France was a complex and controversial series of events involving Muslim schoolgirls who were expelled from their secular public schools. In practice, many were expelled simply for insisting on their right to wear the Islamic headscarf while at school. However, the administrative courts consistently ruled that wearing the headscarf was not incompatible with principles of secularism. As this article shows, the events and subsequent legal cases brought by many Muslim schoolgirls following their expulsion highlighted and indeed in some cases exacerbated disadvantages to which some of the girls were already subject.

Public debates in relation to the affair had the effect of marginalising and even excluding Muslim girls from public discourse. Nonetheless, the schoolgirls' own attitudes in relation to wearing the headscarf are noteworthy, since in many cases their attitudes were profoundly associated with the girls' own sense of identify and cultural affiliations.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Awaiting permission from publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Law
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2010 11:13
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2014 03:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: law; religion; France; secular; secularism; French secularism; freedom of religion; Muslims; headscarf; hijab; Islamic headscarf; public schools
Fields of Research : 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160803 Race and Ethnic Relations
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180119 Law and Society
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940499 Justice and the Law not elsewhere classified

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