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Cardinal opposes veils in schools

PARIS (CNS): A French cardinal said he opposed a proposed law that would allow Muslim girls to wear veils in state schools.

Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger of Paris said the proposed law would violate France’s secular nature.

“Touching this balance would call into question something that belongs to the image of France,” Cardinal Lustiger said late last month during a meeting of a government commission that was reassessing France’s policy of secularism.

“Instead of meddling with this historical pedestal, we should have the intelligence and realism to identify today’s problems and build upon it,” the Jewish-born cardinal said.

He said Muslim immigration had become “much more massive” than expected and needed to be addressed “for the sake of future generations”.

The government commission was appointed by Premier Jean-Pierre Raffarin to “reflect on the application of the secularism principle”, after complaints that the exclusion of religion from public affairs had become outmoded and discriminatory.

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