I hear that a 60 years old attorney from France ripped the veil out of a 26 year old Muslim woman.

I find interesting, in this case, the fact that the Muslim woman is actually a native French who chose to become Muslim. We have, after all, a conflict between two French ladies. One of them Muslim convert, the other, presumably nonreligious. Like the most of the French.

It so happens that France is a subject of interest to me. For some reasons. One of them is that my main foreign language during the school was French, and not English. I studied French for 12 years (why?....), I only studied English 2 years and 2 trimesters - just to make a comparison.

I was in love with France as a teenager and student. You know, the kind who spends a lot of time in the French Institute in Bucharest (lovely place, btw, with an enchanting sonovideotheque) and listens obstinately to the Radio France Internationale. But my admiration for France came to an end when I first visited the country in 2002. I spent almost a month in Bourgogne, and the French seemed to be so very Socialist (which is not necessarily bad) and somehow dependent upon the idea of a state. This was so much not my idea of France.

I visited the country again three years later and the first impression began to fade away. In the end, it faded partially. But then, there were the 2006 riots and - at the same time - I had to study the Franco-German relations, so my idea of France worsened again. It was at this point that I began liking Germany more than France.

There are certain things that struck me when I studied the religious situation in France. And you know, guys, my field is Sociology. What struck me was the number of French converts to Buddhism and, especially, Islam. Somehow, I understand if someone chooses to become Buddhist in France. The message of Buddhism is in my view rather congruent with the message of post-modernity.

But why would someone (and there are millions of someones in this situation), born French in a so very laique place like France, would want to turn to such a religious heritage like the Islam? These are two very opposite things, if we take a look at what France and Islam represent from a cultural point of view.

To cut a long story short, my answer to this situation is that some of the French citizens have a deficit of spirituality, and that, somehow, this deficit is indirectly caused by the law of laicite. In the end, in my view, there is a problem, a flaw, in the way French see la laicite. The law was issued in 1905, but its flaws became apparent after 1989, when the world turned its back to ideologies and went back to its cultural and religious roots. And where do these flaws lie? Simply, in the fact that the law in question does not state clearly the distinction between two different things: layman-ship and anti-religiousness. The first is neutral and socially desirable; the second, on the contrary.

I cannot finish this post without saying "hello" to my friends from Paris. If you read this, my friends, I hope we'll see each others, again, as soon as possible, in Paris.

With love,

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