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France makes first headscarf expulsions

Oct. 21, 2004 at 7:24 AM

PARIS, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- France expelled five students based on its controversial ban on religious adornments, The Times of London reported Thursday.

The five were all in eastern France, and all involved Muslim girls wearing head scarves.

In Mulhouse, two 12-year-old Algerian girls were asked to leave their junior high school for refusing to remove their head scarves. Two other girls in two Mulhouse schools were similarly expelled, and the fifth was at a school in Caen.

On the outskirts of Paris, three teenage Sikh boys have appealed to a local court to order their school to allow them to return to classrooms from which they have been excluded for refusing to remove their turbans.

Education Minister Francois Fillon said the introduction of the law in early September had been a success because only 72 pupils in France were refusing to obey it. He said teachers had succeeded in changing the minds of most of 620 girls who turned up at their schools with head scarves at the start of the school year.

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