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RELIGION

Signs of religion ‘more visible’ in French workplaces

There is a growing presence of religion in work places around France, and with it comes a growing amount of religion-based conflicts, a new study has found.

Signs of religion 'more visible' in French workplaces
Photo: AFP
'more visible'The study, published on Thursday by the Observatory for Religion in the Workplace and the Randstad Institute, found that 65 percent of workers say they have seen signs of religion inthe workplace over the past year. 
 
This is a significant jump from the 50 percent who said the same thing in the same survey last year.
 
The study took all religions into account. 
 
Among these reports of religion at the workplace, 21 percent of managers said they had come across people wearing religious symbols, 18 percent said they'd had people asking for time off work for religious purposes, and 8 percent said they had come across people praying during a break. 
 
“The majority of the time, these instances do not hinder the work,” Lionel Honoré, director of the observatory, told Le Figaro newspaper
 
However, conflicts caused by displays of religion are increasing too.
 
Of those questioned, nine percent said that religion had caused some kind of conflict in the workplace, compared with six percent in 2014.
 
The most commonly occurring conflict was men refusing to work under a woman, something that was reported in four percent of cases. 
 
One percent of cases involved people refusing to work with anyone who didn't practice the same religion. 
 
While new labour laws in France spell out that work places need to respect people's fundamental rights and freedoms, such as gender equality, it seems that many managers are still uncertain what their legal rights are when such cases crop up. 
 
With this in mind, the French government has announced plans to release a specific guide on religion in the workplace.
 
The guide will explain employee and employer rights when it comes to religious confrontation at work, with 39 specific cases put under the microscope as examples – including topics such as “can a worker be punished for refusing to work under a woman”. 
 
It will be published next month. 
 
France's controversial approach to religious clothing has made world headlines most recently this summer after a slew of coastal towns, most on the Riviera, banned the “burkini”. The bans have since been overturned by France's highest court, but not before a huge debate kicked off, reminiscent of the country's 2010 ban on the burqa. 

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POLITICS

French minster orders closure of Cannes mosque over anti-Semitic remarks

France's interior minister said on Wednesday he had ordered the closure of a mosque on the French Riviera because of anti-Semitic remarks made there.

The French riviera town of Cannes
The French riviera town of Cannes. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Gerald Darmanin said the mosque in the seaside city of Cannes was also guilty of supporting CCIF and BarakaCity, two associations that the government dissolved at the end of last year for spreading “Islamist” propaganda.

Darmanin told broadcaster CNews that he had consulted with the mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, before shutting down the mosque.

The move comes two weeks after authorities closed a mosque in the north of the country because of what they said was the radical nature of its imam’s preaching.

The mosque in Beauvais, a town of 50,000 people some 100 kilometres north of Paris, was shut for six months because the sermons there incited hatred and violence and “defend jihad”, authorities said.

Last October, a mosque in Allonnes, 200 kilometres west of Paris, was closed also for six months for sermons defending armed jihad and “terrorism”, according to regional authorities.

The French government announced last year that it would step up checks of places of worship and associations suspected of spreading radical Islamic propaganda.

The crackdown came after the October 2020 murder of teacher Samuel Paty, who was targeted following an online campaign against him for having shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during a civics class.

In the interview on Wednesday, the interior minister said that 70 mosques in France were considered to be “radicalised”.

According to the ministry, there are a total of 2,623 mosques and Muslim prayer halls in the country.

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