Emma-Kate Symons

Emma-Kate Symons

Emma-Kate Symons is a Paris-based journalist and opinion columnist who has reported from Sydney, New York, Washington, London, Bangkok, Manila, Jolo Island, Hanoi, and Karen State, Myanmar. Educated at the University of Sydney, she obtained a Master of Science in Journalism at Columbia University, where she took Professor Ari Goldman’s inaugural "Covering the Religions of Israel" class. Emma-Kate's work, on religion, culture, politics, and economics, has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Australian newspaper, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, and Atlantic Media’s Quartz. A fluent French speaker, she is writing a book on contemporary France. Her journalism has been translated in the French press, such as Le Monde’s Courrier International. Emma-Kate is also a regular radio and TV commentator (ABC, France 24, and Sky News). In late 2012, after three years in Bangkok, she became Paris-based contributing correspondent and columnist for The Australian Financial Review. She tweets at @eksymons.

Posts by Emma-Kate Symons

March 24, 2014

French Business Bans Prayer Rooms in Bid to Uphold Secularism


French businessman Jean-Luc Petithuguenin employs more than 4000 staff, comprising 52 different nationalities, in his recycling business located in Seine-Saint Denis, the immigrant and Muslim heart of Paris.

The politically active CEO of Paprec, which counts 50 factories across France, has come up with a novel way of responding to rising political and religious extremism in France: a charter of secularism (laicité) in his workplace. 

August 5, 2013

Street Prayer, Ramadan, and the Burqa: Secularism à la Française

France may have gone on holidays for the summer but public disquiet about laws banning street prayer by Muslims, and the full-face covering veil known as the niqab or burqa, has not abated. On the eve of the traditional July vacation departure, far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen received a burst of publicity as the European Union parliament voted to strip her legal immunity.

March 19, 2013

Public Prayer in France, a Vexed Question in the Cradle of Revolution

Why can some believers pray in the street in France, the home of revolution and laïcité or strong state-enforced secularism, while others are forbidden? As I wrote in my opinion column for Quartz, a new all-digital news platform published by Atlantic Media, publishers of The Atlantic Monthly, the principle of separation of church and state seems to apply differently depending on your religion.

March 5, 2013

Who Can Pray in the Streets?

As a journalist with a family background steeped in religion, I have long had an interest in prayer. But my earlier personal experiences with various schools of thought surrounding the nature, purpose, and efficacy of prayer have metamorphosed into a professional interest since I decided to become a reporter.