France, Islam and ‘Laïcité’

“Laïcité,” or secularism, the principle that separates religion from the state in France, has long provoked heated dispute in the country. It has intensified recently, when a teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded after showing his class caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

We look at the roots of secularism and ask whether it works in modern, multicultural France.

Guest: Constant Méheut, a reporter for The New York Times in France.

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Background reading: 

  • For generations, public schools assimilated immigrant children into French society by instilling the nation’s ideals. The beheading of a teacher raised doubts about whether that model still worked.

For more information on today’s episode, visit 

nytimes.com/thedaily.

 Transcripts of each episode will be made available by the next workday.

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