IT is sad to see European states use the argument of secularism to create laws that specifically target their Muslim citizens. France has over the years become one of the leading EU countries to target Muslims on many fronts. There was the ban on schoolgirls wearing the scarf even though Christian girls have been wearing the cross around their necks and no one felt French culture or their version of secularism was being challenged. Then we had the French politician Giscard dEstaing, who was heading the drafting of the future EU constitution declaring in 2002 that Turkeys entry into the EU would be the end of Europe and only Europes adversaries were propagating this cause. Nor was France far behind in the whole blasphemous cartoon issue. Now France, which has the largest Muslim minority citizens in Europe has become the second European country to ban the full veil or burqa through legislation passed by the lower house of Parliament - ironically just before Bastille Day This legislation still has to be approved by the Constitutional Council and the Senate. Interestingly, to ensure that this legislation is Muslim-specific, the law does not apply if the face is covered for carnivals or artistic events Secularism, which should treat all religions as equal and separate from the state, is fast becoming a means of singling out Muslims for persecution. Ironically, Europe has never really been secular in that it has retained its Christian ethos so we that public holidays are Christian religious days. But Europe forgets that it is not a Christian civilisation anymore but a heterogeneous mix of many religions and cultures. People from outside the Christian world have fought and died so that Europe could be free. Now Europe wants to discard this segment of their citizens but that is not possible and all that will happen - in fact it is already happening - is that the Muslims of Europe will become more marginalised and more susceptible to extremists creeds. If this trend continues Europe will be the loser because these are its citizens and if they continue to be marginalised it is from them that the future threat of extremist violence will come. Out of the 5 million or so French Muslims only about 2000 women wear the veil - but such is the level of intolerance that even this small number expressing their Islamic identity cannot be accepted by the mainstream Will fines and imprisonment compel Muslims to dilute their religious identity or will France move back to the period of the crusades or the sectarian wars in France when the Catholics attacked the protestant Huguenots? Has Europe been reduced to giving out that the Muslim faith is incompatible with European citizenship?