Does Pope Benedict sound different when he speaks a foreign language? I’m not referring to his German accent — anyone following his visit to Britain these days can attest to the fact that he has one in English. But does he say the same thing when he speaks in his native German — or in Italian or French, two languages he also speaks fluently (and better than English). Does he present his ideas with the same words? Does the message come across in the same way? How does it “feel” to the listener?
If you’re a teacher in Germany and are unsure whether to allow your Muslim pupils to pray at school, to skip swimming lessons or wear the veil, you may want to consult a new handbook aimed at dealing with the sometimes tricky task of reconciling Muslim practices with German schooling.
A French fast food chain announced on Tuesday it would almost triple its line of halal hamburger restaurants because sales had doubled in a trial that sparked a heated debate about the integration of Muslims.
Two Saudi clerics have declared Muslim women are exempt from wearing full veils in France, which is planning to ban them, but added they should avoid visiting it as tourists.
Muslim women could be fined for wearing full face veils in public in France under a bill approved overwhelmingly on Tuesday by the lower house of parliament. Offenders would be fined 150 euros ($189) or required to take part in a citizenship class. The bill, which critics say stigmatizes immigrants, bans people “from wearing, in a public place, garments designed to cover the face.”
France’s plan to ban full face veils, which comes up for a vote in the National Assembly on Tuesday, enjoys 82% popular support in the country, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. Its neighbours also approve — 71% of those polled in Germany, 62% in Britain and 59% in Spain agreed that there should be laws prohibiting the Muslim veils known as niqabs and burqas in public.
Prime Minister François Fillon has urged France’s Muslims to reject full face veils as a sectarian caricature of Islam, a week before parliament debates a law banning burqas and niqabs in public.
(Photo: Protesters at the Arc de Triomphe, 18 June 2010/Benoit Tessier)
A “sausage and wine” party went ahead in Paris despite a police ban but was staged near the Arc de Triomphe instead of in a neighbourhood with many Muslim residents as originally planned. Friday’s event had been criticised as highly provocative because it was planned for the day of weekly Muslim prayers and the World Cup soccer match between England and Algeria, a former French colony that is majority Muslim.
France attempted the arguably impossible on Wednesday by presenting a bill to ban Muslim face veils and asking Muslims not to feel it was singling them out in the process.