Islamic veil ban in French schools saw Muslim girls get better grades

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A ban on Islamic veils in French schools saw Muslim girls get better grades, besides increasing the likelihood that they would marry someone outside their religion, a study from the country has found, Daily Mail reported.

A law introduced in 2004 fully outlawed veils from French schools, but they were first asked to ban ‘ostentatious religious signs’ in a 1994 government circular – or advisement.

The ban was met with heavy opposition from religious leaders, who warned that the law would persecute Muslims and lead to fundamentalism, with some arguing it went against France’s constitution.

However, a study in France that compared Muslin women born between 1971 and 1974 (and thus completing school before the 1994 circular) to those born between 1987 and 1990 has found the law may have had some positive impacts.

The findings demonstrated that the 1971-74 group were around 13 per cent likely to graduate from high school than their non-Muslim peers.

For the 1987-90 group of Muslim girls – who would have attended school with some form of veil ban in place – the gap shrunk to just 7 per cent.

Co-author of the study, professor Eric Maurin, told The Daily Telegraph: “For students who wore the veil, the ban may have had a negative effect on those who were most attached to it, as it may have led them to drop out of school.

“But the ban may also have had a positive effect on students who were forced to wear the veil and on students suffering from stigmatisation and discrimination in school because of it.”

The findings of Maurin — who works at the Paris School of Economics — and his team were presented at France’s 75th annual policy meeting in early April.

Speaking to the newspaper, he added that the study demonstrated a “significant increase in educational attainment” amongst the group of Muslim women “who attended middle school and reached puberty” after the 1994 ban, Daily Mail reported.

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