Herrick Chapman

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The hundredth anniversary of the 1905 law in France on the separation of church and state has led to a rich harvest of new scholarly work on laïcité and religion in public life. Centenaries often inspire conferences and publishing projects, especially in France. In the case of the 1905 law the temptation became irresistible in the wake of the creation of the Conseil français du culte musulman in 2002 (see the special spring 2005 issue of FPCS on the CFCM) and years of controversy over the wearing of Muslim headscarves in public schools. The Stasi Commission’s 2004 recommendation to ban the wearing of ostentatious religious signs in public schools, and a 2005 act of Parliament that made that view law, inspired sharp debate in France and beyond, adding further impetus to scholarly discussion of religion, politics, and the government’s regulation of matters religious.

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