Secularism test for French citizenship

Immigrants applying for French citizenship will have first to take a “secularism test” before being naturalized.

The exam is recommended by a new Guide for Rights and Duties of French Citizenship, which has been drawn up by the Ministry of Integration. “It outlines the values that shaped up our country,” the Minister of Integration Nelly Olin told Le Monde Tuesday, April 12.

The guide, unveiled by Olin Monday, says applicants should provide clear answers to questions like “can the French reveal religious symbols at workplace?, “Do you consider men and women equal?” and “what are the colors of the French flag?” Mastering the French language is also a citizenship must.

Booklets on the French culture and the three basic values of liberty, equality and freedom are available for applicants before answering the questions. They provide thorough information about the history of secularism in France and controversial issues that made headlines recently.

The new document puts into effect amendments made by former interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy to the law of citizenship and residency issued November 26, 2003. It is the result of efforts made by the integration and interior ministries, and the supreme council for integration.

The guide underlines that religious symbols are banned at public institutions, particularly at schools and hospitals.

Islam Online, 12 April 2005