Once a quiet village in the Touraine, Joue-les-Tours now forms a large suburb of the City of Tours. It was in the news a couple of years ago when the mayor, Philippe Le Breton, added the word “Laïcité” (meaning, “Secular”) beneath the French National Motto, Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité on the town hall’s façade. This was at a time when the burka ban was big news right across the country.
The Muslim community of Joué-lès-Tours responded with indignation at what they saw as an attack on themselves. They felt they were being “caricatured” . However, the socialist mayor justified his action by saying that this was an appropriate time “to emphasise the secular nature of the French State”.
In my opinion he was most definitely playing the anti-Islamic race card during an election period. When he was asked if he was stigmatising Muslims, he replied:
“I do not seek controversy or stigma. We have fundamentalists who want to destabilise the Republic and the West. It is a minority of Islamic extremists, but it exists. We must resist against this minority because its God is at war against the West. …. I was confronted with a municipal employee wearing a headscarf. She refused to remove it to work. She resigned. “
So, there we have it, the war on the west is really an issue of a woman’s right to wear a headscarf!
French secularism or laïcité is a concept denoting the absence of religious involvement in government affairs as well as absence of government involvement in religious affairs.The term came into being in 1871 during the dispute over the removal of religious teachers and instruction from elementary schools across France. The current thinking behind derives from the French Law of 1905 on the Separation of the Churches and the State. Critics of laïcité consider it hostile to religion ~ what do you think, dear reader?.