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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

STOP FUNDAMENTALIST HAIRDIYING Now there's a lot to be said about the French government's decision of banning all religious symbols from schools, most of it negative. But I think even those who think it's a great idea and that we ought to consider it for emulation might be a little disheartened by this:

He also warned that hairstyles or the wearing of certain colors could be a source of manipulation. "Signs could be invented using simple hairiness or a color," he said. "Creativity is infinite in this regard."

It seems governments' creativity to find new nuisances with which to pester the citizenry is also quite infinite. So some colours are going to be banned as well? As for those "religious" bandanas:

Neither man gave a definition of what constitutes a religious bandana, how teachers would decide what was an "ostensible" sign of religion, or how the new law would be implemented.
Asked to define a bandana, an official assigned to deal with news media inquiries in the ministry, said, "There is no definition. It will be left to the discretion of the heads of schools."

More arbitrary power to teachers and school heads! Groan.

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