Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


On March 15, 2004, French president Jacques Chirac enacted a law prohibiting public school students from wearing clothing and insignia that manifests a religious affiliation. The clear aim of the law was to prohibit female Muslim students from wearing headscarves to public schools. Critics of the ban state that wearing the headscarf is a Muslim woman's religious duty, akin to a law she must follow. This article explores the Western system of laws and the conflict between that system and religious belief systems which impose differing sets of laws. The author examines the impossible choice imposed on school-aged children as a result of this clash and concludes that the ban is counterproductive.