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Replace Christian religious holidays

Two days could be swapped for Jewish and Muslim festivals says new member of secular observation body

TWO Christian religious festivals should be swapped and replaced with Jewish and Muslim celebrations, says a new member of the Observatoire de la laïcité.

The idea was put forward by a new member of the Observatoire, which analyses how France balances religion and secularism in the country.

Dounia Bouzar, recently nominated onto the Observatoire by the prime minister’s office, suggested replacing two Christian festivals with the Jewish Yom Kippur and Muslim Eid festivals during an interview with Challenges magazine.

While Ms Bouzar has subsequently added “it was just a thought, not a proposal”, the president of the Observatoire, Jean-Louis Bianco, said the idea warranted further thought.

“It something we could possibly study, but it’s not high on our agenda,” he said in an article in Le Figaro.

Ms Bouzar, author of several books on religion and the workplace said: “Radical speeches increase the opportunities for Muslims to believe there is a plot against Islam, they do everything to separate Muslims from everyone else.

“Myself, I say that putting in place a Muslim and Jewish festival is a symbol, a way of pulling the rug from under them. My obsession is that we should continue to eat, swim and take holidays together.”

The secretary for the commission of ethics and politics of the diocese of Versailles, Abbot Grosjean, said: “We must stop overturning all the cultural landmarks to which the French are attached.

“The calendar is a fruit of history, of a culture, a reflection of the Christian roots that are part of our heritage.”

The head of the l'Observatoire contre l'islamophobie Abdallah Zekri also said he was against the idea.

“It’s perfectly normal to think of other communities, but you would need to add two more holidays, not replace them. Otherwise people will say ‘they want to undress Saint Peter to dress up Mohammed.”

Photo:John Knowles

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