When France's laws on secularism don't apply to all


The French constitution sets out that "France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic”, and the country’s strict laws upholding the secular nature of the state and its institutions, including a ban on the wearing of religious dress and symbols in state educational establishments or by public employees, have been at the centre of tensions with members of the Muslim community. But a recent incident involving members of the council of the south-west city of Toulouse demonstrate that for some politicians, the rules of secularity are bendable according to one’s religion. Emmanuel Riondé reports from Toulouse.  

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Under the French constitution, all are equal before the fundamental principle of secularism inscribed within it, the founding stone of which is the 1905 law separating religions and state. But an incident this month involving members of the municipal council of the city of Toulouse, in south-west France, suggested that some are less equal than others.