Saturday, July 12, 2008

Salafism vs. Statism

Nicolas Sarkozy said: "The schoolteacher will never be able to replace the pastor or priest, because he will always lack the radical readiness to sacrifice his life and the charisma of a commitment driven by hope." Religion, the president has argued, is the real bedrock of civilization and a source of morality more profound than any secular ethos, including the laïcité of the Republic.

Yet it seems that, according to the Conseil d'État, there are limits to the degree to which "the charisma of a commitment driven by hope" can be tolerated by the Republic. A woman of Moroccan nationality, otherwise entitled to French citizenship by virtue of her marriage to a man of French nationality, has had her application for citizenship denied on the grounds that "she has ... adopted a radical practice of her religion, incompatible with the values of the French community, and, in particular, with the principle of equality between the sexes." I make a point of citing the words of the Council's opinion, because the press has misleadingly indicated that she was denied citizenship because she wears the burqa. Her dress is in this instance merely the outward symbol of her choice of religious practice, salafism, and of a relation to her husband allegedly inherent in such a choice. It is the alleged incompatibility of republican values with certain aspects of private religious belief and private marital relations that motivated the Council's decision, which has been approved by any number of commentators, from Le Monde to Valérie Pécresse to the excellent legal blogger Maître Eolas, from whom I draw the particulars of the judgment.

Once again I am obliged to measure the distance that separates the sensibility of an American "liberal" from that of a French "republican." I confess that I find this decision profoundly disturbing. The choices and commitments this woman has made are not mine, but there is no evidence that they are anything but voluntary. If she is "submissive" to her husband, she has chosen to be so of her own free will. Carla Bruni was just granted French nationality despite her admission, in an interview with Libération, that she no longer felt free to express herself on a variety of political issues because of her relationship to her husband. The question of whether her choice was compatible with republican values did not arise in granting her citizenship. Women in France did not enjoy the right to vote until 1948, and historically it is a matter of record that their exclusion was justified as a defense of republican values (women were said to be subservient to their antirepublican confessors) rather than denounced as incompatible with them. Even the ban on visible religious insignia in public places was limited to the regulation of public behavior. This most recent decision brings the state into the private sanctum of relations between husbands and wives and presumes to judge whether deference in a private relationship poses a threat to the state.

I find all this deeply troubling and profoundly illiberal. The fact that it attacks a profoundly illiberal religious practice, salafism, is in my view irrelevant. If the ambient cultural forces of modernity, secularism, and republicanism are insufficient to dissolve the bonds of tradition that hold this couple in thrall, so be it. There is a struggle to be waged here, but it is a struggle over private conscience, which cannot be dictated by the state, and a state that forgets this is in danger of forgetting that while states may be guarantors of liberty, they may also be its annihilators.

31 comments:

kirkmc said...

I agree with you. I'm shocked that someone was denied anything in France because of their religious practices, and I'm even more shocked that all the "droits de l'homme" intellectuals haven't spoken out about this. On the news this afternoon, this whole thing was presented in one minute, the only comment being from a French woman in an association (Ni putes, ni soumise) who applauded the decision.

So France has now become a country where your ideology decides whether you're allowed to be part of the country? That's a big change. Note that she is not going to be expelled; she can continue living here. But this decision is totalitarianism in its worst form.

This said, France has never been about "integration" but rather "assimilation". They don't want you to come here and be yourself, they want you to be one of them. This is why even after nearly 25 years in this country, and wanting to most likely live out my life here, I don't want to be French.

Kirk

Unknown said...

I understand why this can be disturbing for an American.

And even if I don't say that this judgment shouldn't be discussed and that it is totally fair (it isn't: why her and not others), these kinds of things are the ones that make me proud to be French (and there aren't many these days, believe me).
I could summarize it as "Because we are one of the few countries in the world that don't bend over in front of religions."

Some say religions are part of personal freedom, we say they're the antithesis of freedom and should be tolerated with suspicion at best. (in an ideal world they'd be abolished altogether, but we all know we don't live in an ideal world).

kirkmc said...

David,

Nothing personal, but what an arrogant statement! I happen to be an atheist, but in no way would I ever condone treating people differently because of their beliefs. I'd love to see religion disappear, but it's not going to happen in my lifetime. And in the meantime, I expect to give believers the same treatment as non-believers: the freedom to choose.

BTW, France doesn't "bend over" to religion? You have religious holidays, no school on Wednesday because the church wants it that way for catechism, and you have an official Ministre des cultes...

Kirk

Unknown said...

I don't know if this is arrogant, I just see it as a French statement.. ;-)

Seriously though, as I implied in my first line, this is the difference between French and American.
You see religion as freedom, I see religion as the absence of freedom (as well as the source of most evils when I'm in a bad mood).
This is just two different ways of seeing the world I guess...

And as far as religious holidays are concerned, the only thing that's religious about them is their name and the fact that yes, they were indeed religious at some point.
I won't teach you anything when I tell you that France is not a country that evolves very quickly, and these things are just remains of a time when catholicism still had a word to say in the public sphere...
These things just haven't been changed since because who'd want to have holidays removed or more school days?

One thing I've noticed that many Americans fail to understand about France (I'm not saying you do) is that as religion was once very important it has left its imprint everywhere. But it doesn't mean anything these days... A little bit like the fact that 80% of French people consider themselves as Catholic, but it just can't be compared with "real" Catholics. Here, for most people, it's just a tradition. You baptize your kids, you get married in church, just because this is the way things are done over here, not for a reason based on faith and beliefs...

Unknown said...

David,
With all due respect, I think that you may misunderstand the position I'm expressing as seriously as you think "many Americans fail to understand ... France." I do not "see religion as freedom." Rather, I see toleration for different points of view as essential to maintaining a liberal and pluralist society. I would no more advocate enforcing religious belief than I would advocate banning it, although I am personally areligious and in some respects share your anticlerical biases. Despite what you may have heard, America is not a theocracy. In France, however, overzealous laïques seem so spooked by religion (at least when it is taken seriously and is not in the withered condition of French Catholicism as you describe it) that they strike me as too ready to try to stamp it out with state power. That is dangerous, in my opinion.

gregory brown said...

I think its less a matter of different sensibilities about religion between "American liberals" (of which I would consider myself one) vs. "French republicans" (of which I would consider myself a close student) but about how the state makes a determination about what characterizes "defaut d'assimilation". By which I mean, entirely private actions -- religious beliefs, associations, or practices, (indeed, any belief, association, or practice) has no real recognition in the eyes of the law, under American constitutional law and American liberal belief.

I, like Art, therefore become confused about why there is such recognition in French republican law or culture. Indeed, one of the things that we "American liberals" have become so frustrated with in our own country is the increasing tendency to impose cultural sanction, let alone legal sanction, based on the same criteria -- because it is an established matter of American jurisprudence and liberal doctrine that there is no clearly agreed upon definition of sufficient "assimilation."

For that reason, I don't see this as a question of "religious freedom" at all, since there is no attempt here by the state to impose restrictions on any religious belief or practice, but there is an attempt to make a juridical distinction about what constitutes sufficient "assimilation" based on private associations, beliefs and practices.

Unknown said...

Arthur, I definitely don't aim at you with my "Americans fail to understand, etc."

Concerning the relationship between America and religion, it's more about what I've experienced than what I've heard.
I assume things are better in New England, but in the South, religion is quite powerful (to the point that if I was not suspicious enough to some people because I was French, I definitely was because I was a-religious), and do not forget that your President seems to have God as one of his advisers (well, ours does too now).

I think we're really touching a "irreconcilable" cultural difference here (I've had this conversation zillions of times while in the US): tolerating/respecting religion as a part of personal freedom (my shortcut "religion as freedom" was a bit extreme, sorry) vs religion as an enemy of personal freedom.

And the one thing that bothers me in this judgment is that the underlying problem is not "stamping it out with state power" but the fact that this kind of judgment would have never been pronounced against a fundamentalist Christian or a fundamentalist Jew.

Because even if I'm as anti-clerical as it gets, I think that the same rules should apply to everybody and it's rarely the case with Islam these days in France. It seems that it always goes to one extreme to another when dealing with it (either special rights in some cases, or special discrimination in some others).

(I wish I had more time to develop my views on the topic, because I'm aware that they might appear a little simplistic seen through these comments... sorry...)

kirkmc said...

David,

The problem with your point of view is that accepting it is tantamount to accepting state-edicted rules of any kind of belief, be it religious or otherwise. If the state says no red hats, I won't be tolerated for wearing a red hat. If it says that French people only drink wine, I'd be chastized for drinking the occasional beer. Your attitude opens the door to all kinds of censorship à la Mao or Stalin (yes, that's an exaggeration, but what starts out small can build up slowly to reach extreme levels).

What you call the irreconcilible cultural difference is akin to the US vs French point of view on free speech: in the USA, it's a constitutional right, and is more or less absolute. In France, it's not a right, and is arbitrarily limited. These attitudes have always irked me in France, because once you allow "exceptions" to such rules, they are at the whim of the times.

Kirk

Unknown said...

Kirk,

I believe that any group of people (and definitely) a State should be ruled and governed according to rules and laws based solely on reason.
This is what I think that religion holds a special place and is not comparable to let's say "wearing a red hat". This is why I don't think that thinking that the State is right "repressing" religion opens the door to other kinds of repressions.

Of course those are my "philosophical" beliefs. I'm fully aware that ruling a group of people has to rely on other factors.


And while I tend to agree with you on free-speech in France (it's way too restricted), I also have major issues with the way it's dealt with in the US.
Mostly on three points:
-the overall "sacred" aspect of the US Constitution. The fact that the Bill of Rights is seen as another Bible and cannot be modified is a major problem with me. For me, not text is infallible (same thing goes with the Supreme Court)).
-the fact that religion is closely associated with speech in it (once again, I see religion as antonymous to freespeech, not a part of it).
-strangely the fact that I never saw more censorship in a democracy than when I lived in the US, not state censorship of course, but more pernicious forms of censorship (dictated by sponsors and such in the medias for example).


On a side-note, talking about the Constitution made me think of it.
I'd be interested to hear the opinions and thoughts about the recent decision of the Supreme Court about the Second Amendment.
When I read it the first time years ago, I read it the way the Court is reading it now: militia and the right to bear arms as two separate things. But rereading it recently for the occasion (and with a much better knowledge of English than the one I had back then), I read it as the people can bear arms within the boundaries of forming militias.
(but I guess it's totally off-topic in this blog, French Politics being pretty far here)

Unknown said...

I think Greg Brown hits the nail on the head with his comments on assimilation. To give the state the power to judge who is sufficiently "assimilated" to "deserve" citizenship is to award an unlimited power to exclude. How much freedom must a woman claim to be judged sufficiently emancipated from her husband? What are the "rational beliefs" supposedly shared by the "French national community?" Tomorrow will prospective citizens be required to reject the 35-hour week and prefer pieds et paquets to couscous? The Conseil d'Etat is rapidly sliding down a slippery slope.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd point out that, as a French atheist, I find the decision disturbing, revolting, and I absolutely disagree with david.

I think religion should be something personal. And while I do think in some instances, the republican law should dictate if you're allowed to do some religious thing or not (mainly, if it harms others), it's not one of these instances.

If I decide tomorrow to choose the religion that is that woman's, I don't expect to lose my citizenship. And I don't expect her to be denied hers because of what she decides to do with her private life. She could wear a colar and be on a leash for all I care, as long as it's on her own free will, there is nothing wrong with that. And it shouldn't be forbidden just because she happens to be a woman.

The right to do something also means the right not to do it. Women have the right to be independent, which means they have the right not to be. It shouldn't be an obligation.

And all that is only if she IS submissing herself by wearing it. Which, frankly, is arguable.

kirkmc said...

Avistew makes a good point:

"If I decide tomorrow to choose the religion that is that woman's, I don't expect to lose my citizenship."

If this woman's belief is incompatible with being French, then the government has a responsibility to withdraw French citizenship from everyone who practices it. One must apply rigid logic in these situations, and not penalizing current citizens suggests that logic is not applied.

Kirk

kirkmc said...

FYI, the story has been posted to Richard Dawkins' web site - a haven for atheists - and the comments are interesting. I can imagine there will be many more in the coming days:

http://richarddawkins.net/article,2855,n,n

Kirk

Anonymous said...

I'm agnostic and deeply anticlerical, but I also believe in total freedom of speech. As long as religion is a private matter, it shouldn't be a factor on the citizenship application. And I don't think it is a factor being used by the French administration (after all many Muslims became French).

My take on this story (based on the incomplete information I have), is that she wasn't denied citizenship because of her religion, but because her religious beliefs led to a situation that prevented her to acquire the French citizenship. Before I explain further my thought, I will first quote the Guardian article (thank you Kirkmc for the link)

The report said: "She has no idea about the secular state or the right to vote. (...)"

Like many countries, France requires citizenship applicants to demonstrate that they are familiar with citizens' fundamental rights & responsibilities. Based on the report, it seems that this person is not even aware that she has the right to vote.
I'm not surprised if she received an F on her exam (or a "zéro pointé" if you prefer).

Boz said...

You made the comparison with an American liberal, though ironically this decision would likely find more support from some segments of the US right, which have become virulently nativist and anti-Muslim. This is quite a disturbing case, and I find it amazing that religious practice even comes when applying for citizenship. If there is any sort of abuse in the household, because of religious practice or something else, that is the job of law-enforcement to investigate!

Responding to David's sidenote: you will find that the vast majority of Americans agree with the Court's decision (including both presidential candidates) and have already been operating under this assumption. Only a fringe element thinks any and all forms of gun control are oppressive, and likewise only a fringe element supports full scale bans on handguns, etc. That is not to necessarily discount either view, but they are minority opinions.

Unknown said...

Could I just point out in this discussion that we are not talking about a person's religious beliefs, but about what it needs for a person to be integrated into a national community? Regarding this issue, the American law, does, as the french law, edict a certain amount of principles: the applicant has to give proof of his good morality (whatever that means), and has to show his attachment to the the Constitution's principles (I might add that until recently, it is unlikely that anyone who expressed openly marxist or communist beliefs was granted american citizenship, but you might correct me on this regard).

This is exactly where the difference between french and american principles (and beyond, culture) steps in: the fundamental principle of the american Constitution is freedom. The french republican principles rest on freedom, equality, and fraternity. The equality principle is the one the Conseil d'Etat was concerned with.

To sum it up, the whole issue is not about religion, or freedom, but about the principles that found a national community. That these principles differ from country to country is logical, and rather fortunate (otherwise life would be quite boring and Art would have to close his blog).

If I might add, Art is right pointing out that republican principles have been historically used against the acquisition of citizenship by women. It is actually also the case in this affair. These principles are also used against a muslim women in a context, as an other commentator has pointed out, where Islam is commonly viewed as a threat to the principles of the Republic.

Last remark, I would be more cautious opposing "modernity" and "freedom" to "tradition". French salafism is nothing traditionnal, but is a very modern response to contemporary world, and contemporary France.

Unknown said...

Christine,
Applicants for US citizenship must pass a simple test of knowledge of the US political system and Constitution. One of the questions is, "What is the most important right of a US citizen?" The answer is supposed to be the right to vote. But the applicant is not required to promise to make use of that right. I understand that in the French case, one point held against the woman was that she intended she did not plan to use her right to vote. As for the denial of citizenship to Communists, the grounds of exclusion, with which one may agree or disagree, are "membership of an organization advocating the violent overthrow of the Constitution of the United States," not private belief. Yet you have a point in drawing a parallel between the persecution of political radicals in the United States and the persecution of religious radicals in France. I do not think "persecution" is too strong a word for the denial of citizenship to which a person would be entitled except for her private beliefs.

kirkmc said...

It should be noted that there is currently no "test" for citizenship in France (and there never has been). Unlike such countries as the US and UK, French citizenship is given an an ad hoc basis. As in this case, it's a social worker's comments that led to citizenship being refused.

The French have been talking about creating such a test, and will probably implement it soon, though it may take some time for everyone to agree on what it should contain.

You can see the US test here:

http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/blinstst_new.htm

Interestingly, if you asked French people equivalent questions about France, most of them would fail. I know; I've tried. I've asked French friends (and my wife) questions from time to time, out of curiosity, about certain elements of government, the political system, and history, and there is a resounding failure. However, I think most Americans would not know the answers to many of these questions...

Kirk

Unknown said...

Art
Regarding the conditions regarding acquisition of American citizenship, I was refering to the statement issued by the American government:

Good Moral Character
Generally, an applicant must show that he or she has been a person of good moral character for the statutory period (typically five years, but three years for an applicant married to a U.S. citizen or one year for an applicant serving in the U.S. Armed Forces) prior to filing for naturalization. An applicant is permanently barred from naturalization if he or she has ever been convicted of murder or aggravated felony. A person also cannot be found to be a person of good moral character if during the past five years he or she has been convicted of a number of other crimes.

Attachment to the Constitution
An applicant must show that he or she is attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States.

http://www.america.gov/st/diversity-english/2008/February/20080307150936ebyessedo0.6811945.html

As I said, the question is not the freedom of belief (this women is free to believe whatever she wants), but the conditions required by an applicant to acquire the citizenship of a country. The text above indicates that American authorities have the right to refuse citizenship to inviduals they consider to be either immoral, or not sufficiently attached to the principles of the Constitution.

I add that I am neither for or against this decision, I don't really know what to think of it. But I think the issue is more complex than a denial of freedom.

Kirk
If I recall correctly, the test required for british citizenship was "tested" on british nationals. The vast majority failed.

Unknown said...

Christine,
Yes, felony convictions are taken as evidence of bad moral character in the US. But prospective citizens are free to think that women should be subservient to their husbands, even if the "values of the American community" as defined by a majority are otherwise. The Conseil d'Etat has explicitly said that equality between the sexes is in 2008 constitutive of French republican values and that a woman who refuses to accept this value is not suitable to become a citizen even if she meets all the other requirements legitimately laid down by the state. I submit that this is a denial of freedom of conscience, a "tyranny of the majority" to which many in France are willing to assent because it flatters their image of themselves as a nation based on liberty, equality, and fraternity. I am sufficiently Tocquevillean to deplore this.

Anonymous said...

Kirk, to claim that this decision is "totalitarianism in its worst form" is, forgive me, foolish. Remember that it is against the backdrop of a horribly real totalitarianism that the postwar European constitutions, and their values, were crafted. Their architectures of rights include positive state obligations -- and these obligations are at play in the recent decision.

We also tend to forget that individual rights are not stand-alone absolutes, but rather, sit on a horizontal plane and must be balanced against other rights AND obligations (both of which are critical to citizenship). That's why constitutions are systems, bounded sets of elements that covary. They are not simply shopping lists of liberties.

Art, your statement that, "if she is 'submissive' to her husband, she has chosen to be so of her own free will," is extremely problematic (as is the other commentator's claim that he would have no problem with a woman walking around in a dog collar if it were her free choice). How can either of you be so sure that these are freely chosen practices? And here your opinions and that of the Council curiously dovetail; for the assumption in the Council's reasoning seems to be that this woman had a clear and free choice, and the fact that she placed the values inherent in her "radical practice of religion" above those of the Republic was the main obstacle to granting her citizenship. Could she have, given her circumstances, done otherwise? If we assume that these choices are actually not free, how does that change the obligation that state has to protect and promote equality?

Unknown said...

Art
C'est un dialogue de sourds! Je n'émets pas de jugement sur le fait qu'une des conditions pour acquérir la nationalité américaine est la moralité (et la traîtrise est dans ce cas un exemple non exclusif de non-moralité, vous remarquerez que le texte laisse ouvert les possibilités d'être déclaré comme immoral).

Je dis juste que, TOUT COMME l'acquisition de la nationalité américaine, l'acquisition de la nationalité française se fonde sur le critère de l'attachement un certain nombre de principes, et dans le cas français, aux principes de la République. Que le principe d'égalité (et en particulier le principe d'égalité des sexes sur lequel se fonde le Conseil d'Etat) puisse être invoqué n'est pas, en tant que tel, aberrant. Vous étudiez, j'imagine, depuis suffisamment longtemps les moeurs et coutumes françaises pour savoir que le moteur du débat politique en France est l'articulation entre principe de liberté et principe d'égalité, et, puisque ces deux principes sont loin d'être toujours compatibles, le débat entre gauche et droite est de savoir quel principe prime sur l'autre et à quel moment (d'où, notamment, la dénonciation du libéralisme par la gauche, et de l'égalitarisme par la droite). De ce que je sais des Etats-Unis, c'est le seul principe de liberté qui constitue le fondement des valeurs américaines, et le débat ne se pose donc pas dans les mêmes termes. Vous avez parfaitement le droit d'approuver ou de désapprouver la décision. Mais si vous vous interprétez cette décision à l'aune du seul principe de liberté (qui est le vôtre, souffrez qu'il n'en soit pas de même partout), vous ignorez, il me semble, la réalité fondamentale qu'est dans la société française la valeur d'égalité. Je le redis, je ne sais pas trop quoi penser de cette décision (je trouve qu'il y a autant de "pour" que de "contre"), mais la lecture que vous en faites me semble, pour le coup, simpliste.

Unknown said...

Christine,
Vous vous trompez, je crois, en voulant ramener les valeurs américaines à la seule principe de liberté. La conciliation de l'égalité et de la liberté est au coeur de notre vie politique ainsi que de celle de la France. Pour Tocqueville, en effet, l'une ne saurait se réaliser pleinement sans l'autre, et sur ce point je suis totalement d'accord avec lui ... et avec vous. Mais je crois que la liberté exige que certains domaines, y compris celui de la conscience, soient réservés, et qu'on n'a pas le droit, au nom de la collectivité, de demander à une femme qu'elle déclare publiquement son égalité à son mari si elle ne souhaite pas le faire.

Dialogue de sourds? Peut-être, mais j'ai l'impression que vous m'entendiez très bien et qu'au fond vous vous émouvez parce que la décision vous trouble plus que vous ne voulez bien admettre. Pardonnez-moi si je m'égare.

Unknown said...

Vous vous égarez quelque peu, je n'ai juste pas d'opinion ferme sur la question. Ma première impulsion a été critique envers la décision du Conseil d'Etat, mais à la réflexion je pense qu'il a des arguments parfaitement entendables. Que vous ne souhaitiez pas les entendre est votre droit.

Et vous m'accorderez que même si j'ai fait un raccourci, le principe de liberté prime sur tout autre aux Etats-Unis, ce qui explique notamment nos divergences de vues. Je n'ai pas besoin de lire Tocqueville, juste de remarquer que je n'ai jamais entendu le mot "égalité" dans la bouche d'un dirigeant américain, et que le terme ne figure nulle part dans la Constitution américaine.

kirkmc said...

Equality of the sexes? Feh. Women make, on average, 70% of what men make for the same job. Get lower pensions. Get less respect overall.

Glass houses, stones and all that... You can't start with a single case to repair an injustice that is ingrained in a society. It's a good excuse, but it doesn't wash.

Kirk

Unknown said...

Christine,
From the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among those lights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

From the 14th Amendment to the Constitution:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Anonymous said...

Sashimi,

You said "(as is the other commentator's claim that he would have no problem with a woman walking around in a dog collar if it were her free choice)".
To which I think I should answer and point out to you that I'm a woman. And I do think in our society, a woman wearing a collar and a leash would definitely be doing it on her own will, considering how she would have to fight to be able to do so and to keep her husband/partner free.

I don't think I would personally want to do that, but she should have the freedom to.

I also know a lot of women who do not vote (and a lot of men in that same case, actually), and I'm 100% sure that I would personally fail any test about the French constitution, history or geography.

Also... If she was forced to be submissive, is refusing her more rights the way to go? Wouldn't it be wiser to give her the citizenship and deal with her abusive husband? Obviously, that's not what happened.

Unknown said...

Avistew, Sashimi,
I think we should be very careful about deciding for others what they do voluntarily and what they do involuntarily. My grandmother, an adherent of Orthodox Judaism and a naturalized American citizen, always wore a head scarf when she left the house and sat in an upstairs section of the synagogue reserved for women. My grandfather would not have permitted her to work if she had wanted to. Some might consider her to have been an "oppressed woman." She didn't see herself that way.

In the next generation, her daughters worked, obtained educations, and went out with their heads uncovered.

In the generation after that, daughters claimed the ultimate freedom: they married non-Jews.

Assimilation is something we may hope will occur when cultures mix, but it cannot be hastened by decree, in my view. That is what the Conseil d'Etat is attempting, as I see it, and my prediction is that it will be counter-productive: it will stiffen resistance and delay assimilation rather than hasten it.

Anonymous said...

Tout d'abord, je remercie tous ceux qui ont opiné justqu'à présènt. C'est une discussion de très haute qualité.

First, let me say that I know very little about the case at hand, so if I make illogical or nonseqitor statements please understand. From what I have seen to date this is a case of a Moroccan lady who has requested French citizenship. This request has subsequently been denied by the French authorities in question. There may very well be appeals already in the works.

My understanding of this is that this woman was denied citizenship, not residency. She is free to live, work, and believe in France as she sees fit. She just can't exercise those rights only accorded to citizens themselves. In light of her current lifestyle, I have to admit that I'm a little perplexed as to why this person would even care enough to bother asking for French citizenship. I can see no visible gain for her by obtaining such a status given the lifestyle that's been portrayed here and elsewhere.

I feel that the denial by the governmental body doesn't seem justifiable based on the evidence I've seen. I seriousy doubt that there is not one French citizen with similar viepoints as hers. From what I've seen, she poses no risk to violate any French law, and seems perfectly capable of assimilating herself in her ommunity. I haven't seen any complaints from other citizens against her.

This appears to be an unfortunate ruling that may need to be reviewed, reevaluated and eventually overturned. It reminds me of Chirac's law against head scarves, unjust and illogical.

Bar des Artisans said...

Has any man with analogous beliefs and lifestyle to that of the woman's husband been denied citizenship? Does the French government regularly inquire of male Salafist applicants for citizenship whether they recognize equality between the sexes and will allow their wives to vote?

Anonymous said...

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