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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: DrSajid
Full Name: Dr Sajid Khakwani
User since: 22/May/2010
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In the Name of Allah The Almighty

France

(14 July: National Day)

Dr Sajid Khakwani

drsajidkhakwani@gmail.com

 

  French Republiccountry of northwestern Europe. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the Alps and the Pyrenees. France lies near the western end of the great Eurasian landmass, its continental territory is bordered on the northeast by Belgium and Luxembourg, on the east by Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, on the south by the Mediterranean Sea, Spain, and Andorra, on the west by the Bay of Biscay, and on the northwest by the English Channel. To the north, France faces southeastern England across the narrow Strait of Dover. Monaco is an independent enclave on the south coast, while the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean is treated as an integral part of the country. France has long provided a geographic, economic, and linguistic bridge joining northern and southern Europe. It emerged as a leading member in the European Union (EU) and its predecessors. From 1966 to 1995 France did not participate in the integrated military structure of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), retaining full control over its own air, ground, and naval forces, though since 1995 France has been represented on the NATO Military Committee. As one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—together with the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and ChinaFrance has the right to veto decisions put to the council. The capital and by far the most important city of France is Paris.

The Celtic tribes, known to the Romans as Gauls, spread from central Europe in the period 500 BC–AD 500 to provide France with a major component of its population, especially in the centre and west. At the fall of the Roman Empire, there was a powerful penetration of Germanic (Teutonic) peoples, especially in northern and eastern France. In addition to these many migrations, France was, over the centuries, the field of numerous battles and of prolonged occupations before becoming, in the 19th and especially in the 20th century, the prime recipient of foreign immigration into Europe, adding still other mixtures to the ethnic melting pot.

The French are, paradoxically, strongly conscious of belonging to a single nation, but they hardly constitute a unified ethnic group by any scientific gauge. Before the official discovery of the Americas at the end of the 15th century, France, located on the western extremity of the Old World, was regarded for centuries by Europeans as being near the edge of the known world. Generations of different migrants traveling by way of the Mediterranean from the Middle East and Africa and through Europe from Central Asia and the Nordic lands settled permanently in France, forming a variegated grouping, almost like a series of geologic strata, since they were unable to migrate any farther.  French is the national language, spoken and taught everywhere. Recent immigration has introduced various non-European languages, notably Arabic.

          About three-fourths of the French people belong to the Roman Catholic church. Only a minority, however, regularly participate in religious worship; practice is greatest among the middle classes. France has one of Europe's largest Muslim populations: more than 4,000,000 Muslims, a sizable percentage of them living in and around Marseille in southeastern France, as well as in Paris and Lyon. There are more than 700,000 adherents of Judaism, concentrated in greater Paris, Marseille, and Alsace and the large eastern towns. In addition to the religious groups, there also are several societies of freethinkers, of which the most famous is the French Masonry. Large numbers, however, especially among the working classes and young population, profess no religious belief. In 2004 the government banned head scarves (used by Muslims) and other religious symbols in state schools.

  France is one of the major economic powers of the world, ranking along with such countries as the United States, Japan, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Its financial position reflects an extended period of unprecedented growth that lasted for much of the postwar period until the mid-1970s.  By the end of the 1980s, however, strong expansion was again evident. This trend continued, although at a more modest rate, through the end of the century. France's extensive land area—of which more than half is arable or pastoral land and another quarter is wooded—presents broad opportunities for agriculture and forestry.  France is the EU's leading agricultural nation, accounting for more than one-fifth of the total value of output, and alone is responsible for more than one-third of the EU's production of oilseeds, cereals, and wine. France also is a major world exporter of agricultural commodities, and approximately one-eighth of the total value of the country's visible exports is related to agriculture and associated food and drink products.

Wheat and corn  are the main grains, with other cereals, such as barley and oats, becoming progressively less important. Fruits, and vegetables cover only a limited area but represent more than one-fourth of the total value of agricultural output. France is probably more famous for its wines than any other country in the world. Fruit production (mainly of apples, pears, and peaches) is largely concentrated in the Mediterranean region. Forest covers 58,000 square miles of France (15,000,000 hectares), which is more than a quarter of its territory. The planted forest of maritime pine covering about 3,680 square miles (953,000 hectares) in the Lands of southwestern France is said to be the most extensive in western Europe. Increasingly, forests are less a source of wood and more a recreational amenity, especially those on the fringe of large urban agglomerations, such as Fontainebleau and others of the Île-de-France region. With more than 57,000 square miles (148,000 square km) of woodland, France possesses one of the largest afforested areas in western Europe, offering direct employment to more than 80,000 people.

 Cattle raising occurs in most areas of the western France. Animal-related production accounts for more than one-third of the total value of agricultural output. The fauna of France is relatively typical of western European countries. Among the larger mammals are red deer, roe deer, and wild boar, which are still hunted; the fallow deer is rather rare. In the high Alps are the rare chamoix and the reintroduced ibex. Hares, rabbits, and various types of rodents are found both in the forests and in the fields. Carnivores include the fox, the genet, and the rare wildcat. Among endangered species are the badger, the otter, the beaver, the tortoise, the marmot of the Alps, and the brown bear and the lynx of the Pyrenees.

Despite the extent of France's coastlines and its numerous ports, the French fishing industry remains relatively small. Compared with its agricultural resources, the country is far less well-endowed with energy resources. Coal reserves are estimated at about 140 million tons, but French coal suffered from being difficult and expensive to mine and from its mediocre quality. France, a leading trading nation, has grown into one of the world's foremost exporting countries, with the value of exports representing more than one-fifth of GDP. France is also a major importer, especially of machinery, chemicals and chemical products, tropical agricultural products, and traditional industrial goods such as clothes and textiles. Most foreign trade is based on the exchange of goods. In the case of agricultural commodities, France has become an increasingly important net exporter of raw agricultural products (such as grains) as well as agro-industrial products, such as foods and beverages, including wines, tinned fruits and vegetables, and dairy products.

 The constitution of 1958 adopted a mixed  form of government, combining elements of both parliamentary and presidential systems. As a result, the parliament is a bicameral legislature composed of elected members of the National Assembly  and the Senate. The president is elected separately by direct universal suffrage and operates as head of state. The constitution gives the president the power to appoint the prime minister, who oversees the execution of legislation. The president also appoints the Council of Ministers, or cabinet, which together with the prime minister is referred to as the government. The French system is characterized by the strong role of the president of the republic. The office of the president is unique in that it has the authority to bypass the parliament by submitting referenda directly to the people and even to dissolve the parliament altogether. The people may be asked to ratify, by a constituent referendum. The constitution made provision for legislative referenda, by which the president of the republic has the authority to submit a proposed bill to the people relating to the general organization of the state. The president presides over the Council of Ministers and other high councils, signs the more important decrees, appoints high civil servants and judges, negotiates and ratifies treaties, and is commander in chief of the armed forces. The constitution of 1958 called for a presidential term of seven years, but, in a referendum in 2000, the term was shortened to five years, beginning with the 2002 elections.

The role of the prime minister, however, has gradually gained in stature. Constitutionally, the office is responsible for the determination of governmental policy and exercises control over the civil service and the armed forces. The National Assembly is composed of 577 deputies who are directly elected for a term of five years in single-member constituencies on the basis of a majority two-ballot system, which requires that a runoff take place if no candidate has obtained the absolute majority on the first ballot. The system was abandoned for proportional representation for the 1986 general election, but it was reintroduced for the 1988 election and has remained in place ever since. In 2005 the Senate was composed of 331 senators indirectly elected for six years by a college electoral consisting mainly of municipal councilors in each department, one of the administrative units into which France is divided. The Senate body was set to expand in 2007, to 341 members, and then again in 2010, to 346 members.

 The Constitutional Council is appointed for nine years and is composed of nine members, three each appointed by the president, the National Assembly, and the Senate. It supervises the conduct of parliamentary and presidential elections, and it examines the constitutionality of organic laws (those fundamentally affecting the government) and rules of parliamentary procedure. The council is also consulted on international agreements, on disputes between the government and the parliament, and, above all, on the constitutionality of legislation. This power has increased over the years, and the council has been given a position comparable to that of the U.S. Supreme Court.

 Islam is one of the various different religions in France. Although Muslims have been present in France, both metropolitan France and its overseas departments and territories, for many centuries, mass immigration to France of Muslims in the 20th and 21st centuries have created more recently one of the largest Islamic communities in Europe.

 After the conquest of Spain Muslim forces also pushed into France but were turned back at the Battle of Tours in 732. In the 9th century Muslim forces conquered several bases in southern France. During the winter of 1543-1544 Toulon, the naval base of southeastern  France,  was used as an Ottoman naval base under admiral Barbarossa.

 Muslim immigration, mostly male, was high following World War II, because the French workforce was inadequate for reconstruction efforts. The immigrants came primarily from Algeria and other North African colonies; however, Islam has an older history in France, since the Great Mosque of Paris was built in 1922.

 In recent years the government has tried to organize a representation of the French Muslims. In 2002 the then Interior Minister initiated the creation of a "French Council of the Muslim Faith" (CFCM), though wide criticism claimed this would only encourage communitarianism. Though the CFCM is informally recognized by the national government, it is a private nonprofit association with no special legal status.1,535 mosques exist in France about 30 are currently being built. This number is low in comparison to the "possible Muslim" population.

 The wearing of hijab in France has been a very controversial issue since 1989. The debate essentially concerns whether Muslim girls who choose to wear hijab may do so in state schools. Many Muslims believe that the Qu'ran instructs women to keep their heads covered. The issue of Muslim hijabs has sparked controversy after several girls refused to uncover their heads in class, as early as 1989. In October 1989, three Muslim schoolgirls wearing the Islamic headscarf were expelled from the collège Gabriel-Havez in Creil (north of Paris). In November, the First Conseil d'Etat ruling affirmed that the wearing of the Islamic headscarf, as a symbol of religious expression, in public schools was not incompatible with the French school system,it was an other face of secullerism against Islam. In December, a first ministerial circular (circulaire Jospin) was published, stating teachers had to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to ban the wearing of Islamic headscarf.

 In January 1990, three schoolgirls were expelled from the collège Pasteur in Noyon, north of Paris. The parents of one expelled schoolgirl filed a defamation action against the principal of the collège Gabriel-Havez in Creil. In September 1994, a third ministerial circular (circulaire Bayrou) was published, making a distinction between "discreet" symbols to be tolerated in public schools, and "ostentatious" symbols, including the Islamic headscarf, to be banned from public schools. In October, some students demonstrated at the lycée St. Exupery in Mantes-la-Jolie (northwest of Paris) to support the freedom to wear Islamic headscarves in school. In November, approximately 24 veiled schoolgirls were expelled from the lycée St. Exupery in Mantes-la-Jolie and the lycée Faidherbe in the city of Lille. Since 1994, around 100 girls have been excluded from French state schools for wearing such veils. In half the cases, courts have subsequently overturned the decision.

 In December 2003 President Chirac decided that the law should prohibit the wearing of visible religious signs in schools. The law was approved by parliament in March 2004. Items prohibited by this law include Muslim hijabs, Jewish yarmulkes or large Christian crosses. It is still be permissible to wear discreet symbols of faith such as small crosses, Stars of David or Fatima's hands.

The arguments have resurfaced when, on June 22, 2009 at the Congrès de Versailles, President Nicolas Sarkozy declared that the Islamic burqa is not welcome in France, claiming that the full-length, body-covering gown was a symbol of subservience that suppresses women's identities and turns them into "prisoners behind a screen." A parliamentary commission of 32 deputies and led by André Gerin (PCF), was also formed to study the possibility of banning the public wearing of the Burqa or Niqab.

Muslim women of France are great that they left the schools and offices but did not leave the headscarf. Ummah proud of them because they adopted the way of the holly Sahabiat(Muslim women in the age of last prophit) speacielly in a non-Muslim country. Seculerism claims to be the real restorer of women rights but here the picture is entirely  different and the Muslim women is deprived of her basic rights under a secular government. How strange it is that nudity and nickedism is allowed and headscarf is banned.

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