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News: France Bans Burqa July 14, 2010

Posted by lisameesakasi in News.
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A new day in Modern History, the day that an international Superpower, France, bans the Islamic cultural veil, the Burqa.

“With broad cross-party support for banning the burqa, lawmakers at the French National Assembly voted in favor of the bill by an overwhelming 336 votes for and just one against the measure. “

I don’t know what my opinion on this is at the moment. On one side it’s a ‘humanitarian issue.’ And on the other hand it’s a ‘cultural issue.’ It’s so difficult to gage this. I believe that as humans, we should all be afforded the basic human right to choose, and I understand that this ban gives Islamic women the right to not wear the veil. However, it does not allow them to wear it. If the bill is passed through the French Upper House (in September) then anyone wearing a burqa in public will be facing a fine “of around $200.  Men caught forcing their wives to wear the full veil would face a much larger $40,000 fine and up to a year in jail.” (from here)

This also brings up another issue. How much farther will this continue? Will this mean in the future that women will not be allowed to wear the hijab at all? Or perhaps this trend will sweep across the Western world and countries all over the world will be passing this same bill in their own country. How far will we go if this becomes law?

Back in the mid-20th century, we started making ‘test tube babies’ (personally, I hate that term). In the early 21st century we’re doing stem-cell research. How far will we go? Because as humans, we never really know when to stop.

I believe France is trying to resolve conflict by taking away some of the main causes of disagreements, religion, culture, and personal identity. Over the past several years, France has been working to equalise the nation, starting in the schools, starting with the children of the future. “The Education Minister Luc Ferry underlined the flexibility of the law [ban of the hijab in France], claiming that even bandanas and beards could be subject to a ban if they could be clearly interpreted as religious in nature. Theoretically, the ban would also include Sikh turbans (a community several thousand strong that the commissions were unaware even existed), though whether such a ban would be applied is still in discussion. In the end, the legislation is clearly implicitly against the hijab. The French press referred to it as the “law against the veil” and the other explicitly targeted dress (kippas and large crucifixes) are almost non-existent in public schools.” (April, 2004) (from here) The legislation was passed in March 14, 2004.

“The atmosphere following 9/11 helped to prepare the ground for the ban.” (from here) I truly thought France was a democracy, but a democracy is supposed to allow for basic human rights, like the right to express religion. France’s ban on the hijab and most likely the burqa is an effort to combat Islamic beliefs. This is the 21st century, not the Dark Ages. 

(Interested? Recommended reading.)

I didn’t want to write another post, but apparently Australia is considering to ban the burqa as well. That really makes me, for a lack of poetic words, sick. Here is my comment on an Australian news website that probably won’t get published, as all comments are screened and all seem to be anti-burqa, and anti-Islamic.

What does it mean to be Australian? And to be UN-Australian? We preach equality despite religion, race,  culture, sexual orientation, social status… but are we really equal? The simple answer is ‘No.’ How can we consider our ‘Great Country’ to be equal when the people who come here and become Australians are told that they cannot practice they’re religion or culture, they cannot express themselves like they did in their previous country, and if they find it adamant that they do… they shouldn’t do it so obviously.

We’re a country of equality. Banning the burqa is a breach of that equality we are oh, so proud of. I was born and raised in Australia and there will be others who will come from overseas, have children and raise them here who will be just as Australian. In 50 years, hell, even 10 years, will we be hiding behind our facade of equality whilst we oppress others who do not conform to our views? Is that what it means to be Australian?

(Further reading.)

~KASI
(And here I was thinking I could only ridicule the French)

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Comments»

1. phildange - July 14, 2010

You know, there are only, or mainly, American people who make a fuss about that . You must understand people in France, unlike in the States, don’t give a great importance to religionds . In fact in a common French mind, religions are often suspicious . And it’s opposed to social French background to exhibit one’s religion. Even Catholic public activities are considered with irony, or hostility, by half of the population .
This comes from the first French Revolution. As the Church has always acted as an essential ally of the rich and the powerful, French Revolutinaries had to fight it strongly . In France all religions are tolerated, but in a private sphere. It would be a scandal if a religion could interfer with any State or Local administration . For many a Frenchman, watching the new US president using the bible is an image of a delayed population, not freed of sort of primitive superstition .
French mind has been educated in separation between religion and State. I think for a French free mind, seeing a women humiliated in the name of what is considered as a primitive belief is annoying . And in public space it’s seen like an agressive militantism. By the way, in the rest of Europe except maybe the UK since people there are more submitted to American way, people don’t care about this French law , because they are not so concerned by religions, or they wonder if it would be better for their country too .

lisameesakasi - July 15, 2010

You have got a good point there. And I do understand where the French are coming from, believe it or not. But it just comes down to a matter of opinion, what makes our opinion superior to theirs? What makes an equalised/athiest state better than a state solidified in religion? It can be argued all day, Western beliefs versus Eastern beliefs, and all that jazz. But it all comes down to one thing, choice. Women should be given the choice to wear or not to wear the burqa or the hijab. Most people see these as signs of restriction and oppression, and you know what, maybe they are, but in the end it should just be a choice.

2. Scott - August 25, 2010

You are aware that Muslims invaded France aren’t you? That Charles Martel beat them back at the battle of Poitiers in 732?

lisameesakasi - September 2, 2010

Wow, I forgot that we moved into a new, modern era a while ago too.


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