Excerpt:

France has turned increasingly hostile in recent years to outward displays of religion, particularly those associated with Islam. The burqa was banned nationally, and French politicians controversially tried to keep the "burkini" off many town beaches this summer.

The hard line might make it seem as if religious symbols are on their way out. Still, despite a growing hostility, the visibility of religion may actually be on the rise in France.

Laïcité, or French secularism, has always been interpreted by some as a tool to suppress the public expression of individual faith. Even a century ago, when it first became law, some leaders used laïcité as an argument to ban Roman Catholic robes from the streets of the French Republic.


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