French girls expelled
Three more Muslim girls have been
expelled from schools in France for defying the new ban on headscarves.
They join two girls expelled on
Tuesday - one of whom told a French newspaper it had destroyed her life.
The expulsions came as the education
ministry gave schools the go-ahead to begin proceedings against 72
students who have refused to obey the law.
The law bans conspicuous religious
symbols in schools and is meant to protect the principle of secularism.
But many Muslims protest it is a
fundamental breach of human rights and is intended as a specific attack
on their religion.
On Wednesday, two girls named only as
Manele, 17, and Tuba, 16, were excluded from schools in Mulhouse,
Another unnamed girl was expelled
from a school in Flers, Normandy.
On Tuesday, 12-year-old Dounia and
13-year-old Khouloud left their secondary school, also in Mulhouse, for
the last time.
"They have just
destroyed my life," Khouloud told Le Monde newspaper.
She said she had been a good student
and hoped to become a doctor.
"My classmates liked
me just the way I was. They didn't ask me to show my hair before
electing me class delegate last year."
Both girls will now study by
The school they were attending says
it tried to mediate with the girls' families, but could reach no
But Education Minister Francois
Fillon says the vast majority of disputes - which he says numbered 600
at the start of the school term - have been resolved.
France always knew that implementing
this law would not be easy, says the BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris.
Many people view the law's stated aim
- of ensuring that French schools remain secular - with scepticism.
20 October, 2004
Source: BBC News