France has long been dedicated to fully embracing secularism in the public space, eschewing overtly outward displays of religion. For the past four years this has drawn the ire of many of France's estimated 6.5 million Muslims. They argue that the banning of veils is an infringement of religious freedom and an act of persecution.
Whatever the popular views of the decision, it's a telling look at the reality of the culture crisis facing France and Europe as a whole. Some in France hope for a "fully-French" Islam of the future—one based on integration and a moderate form of the religion. While many French Muslim leaders continue to promote the image of a moderate French Islam, perceptions within France can be quite different. A 2011 poll revealed that 68 percent of French citizens consider Muslims to be poorly integrated into French society, while millions more view Muslim communities as a threat to the nation (Nabila Ramdani, "European Poll: An Islamic Threat?" Al-Jazeera, Jan. 6, 2011).
This issue is much wider and much more encompassing than just a ban on certain types of traditional Islamic headwear. It's part of an ongoing culture war in the Western world.
Will Islam and the West ever peacefully coexist? While Islam's role in biblical prophecy isn't entirely clear, what is clear is that a coming power led by what is called in the Bible "the king of the South" will emerge from what is currently known as the Islamic world. This king of the South is prophesied to be at war with another world power led by the king of the North.
The prophet Daniel foretold that "at the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through" (Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×). This coming conflict is an important prophetic marker, as Daniel was clear in stating that it will occur "at the time of the end."
When reading news about seemingly distant and unimportant details like the French ban on Islamic headwear, keep in mind that even small events and trends can be moving us forward in Bible prophecy. Stay alert and watch! (Sources: The Economist, Al-Jazeera.)