It seems that the French never tire of debating the role of religion in public life. Or perhaps the concept of laïcité, a uniquely French model of secularism, just keeps tangling them up in political knots.
The most recent dispute over the wearing of the Islamic veil by French university students has once again laid bare the problems and paradoxes of a nation struggling to apply a revered historical principle to a rapidly changing social environment. It also reveals how the discourse and practice of laïcité have become caught in a time warp.
Rosemary Salomone writes in University World News, 1 September 2013