A French official has sparked controversy in France by suggesting that two Christian public holidays should be removed and replaced by ones marking the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur and the Muslim festival of Eid, the France 24 website reports today (September 27, 2013).
Dounia Bouzar -- an anthropoligist specializing in religion who was recently appointed to France's National Observatory on Secularism -- put forward the proposal in an interview with France's "Challenges" magazine this week.
Rather than adding new holidays to the calendar, Bouzar suggested replacing two unspecified Christian public holidays with ones marking the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur and the Muslim festival of Eid.
Bouzar's comments have attracted much criticism from French conservatives and Christians. "We must stop overturning all the cultural landmarks to which the French are attached," Abbot Grosjean -- the secretary for the Commission of Ethics and Politics of the Diocese of Versailles -- told the French daily newspaper "Le Figaro." "The calendar is the fruit of a history, of a culture -- a reflection of the Christian roots that are part of our heritage."