In an effort to deal with the aggressiveness and violence of some members of its Islamic minority, France famously banned head scarves and other religious displays in schools. That was only the first step. Now a government panel has recommended that the nation adopt a charter that bans religious displays in public institutions such as hospitals.
This can only end badly. I'll try not to abuse a frequently-used trope, but France is retreating in front of violent Islamic fundamentalism. Eventually France will have to demand that the nation's Muslims accept pluralistic values and respect for other religions - or France as we know it will cease to exist - if it has not ceased to exist already. This is likely to end in violence.
Of course, I'm not going out on a limb there; it's already come to violence. The AP notes that a French Muslim has been convicted of assaulting a male doctor for addressing his wife's hemorrhaging during childbirth:
A report issued Monday by a government-appointed panel recommended that France adopt a charter to keep religious traditions and beliefs out of its hospitals and other institutions.
Far softer than a 2004 law that banned Muslim head scarves and other "ostentatious" religious signs from public classrooms, the proposed charter is, like the head scarf law, an effort to ensure the secular nature of France.
Tensions over religious beliefs in French hospitals, prisons and elsewhere have mounted in recent years, particularly as Muslim fundamentalists find a voice. With an estimated 5 million Muslims, Islam is the second religion in France...
Male doctors, particularly in maternity wards, say they are increasingly subject to insults, even blows, most often by men opposed to nudity or physical contact with their wives and daughters.
The conviction last week of Fouhad Ben Moussa highlighted the issue. He pulled Jean-François Oury, head of the maternity ward of Robert Debré Hospital in Paris, from a hospital room in September and slapped him after the doctor examined his wife, who had hemorrhaged after giving birth, according to court testimony.
"In my religion, a man doesn't touch a woman," Ben Moussa screamed, according to the testimony. In court, Ben Moussa, expressing regret, said his real motivation had been modesty, not religion. He was sentenced to a six-month jail term that can be partly served at home...
The experts recommending a charter for public institutions measured their words, affirming the rights of patients, but stressing the need for a "balanced approach."
The report said there was no need to legislate on the issue, but stressed that respect for the functioning of the hospital was vital. It suggested a charter laying out the constitutionally guaranteed principle of secularism be adopted and that pertinent sections be posted at the relevant institutions.
When will Europe realize that it cannot continue to appease a growing violent minority?
Update: Variations on a theme?
Update II: Good news. France's birthrate is up; it's primarily among anglos; and it's due to generous social policies. Does anyone know if it's accurate?