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French laïcité

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: The French government announced that the practice of wearing abaya would be banned in state-run schools as it violated the principle of Laïcité.

  • Laïcité, the French principle of secularism, involves the complete separation of religious values from the public sphere, emphasizing the promotion of secular values like liberty, equality, and fraternity.
  • Its aim is to encourage tolerance and assimilation, with religion reserved for the private sphere. The state plays a crucial role in enforcing Laïcité principles.

  

History of Laïcité:

  • Laïcité emerged following the French Revolution in 1789 but became more concrete with the Law of 1905 during the Third Republic, establishing state-run secular schools.
  • Laïcité was not a major issue for much of the 20th century when France was relatively homogenous. However, demographic changes in the 1950s and 1960s due to decolonization led to tensions as immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries arrived.