Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010 - 9 comments

France’s Fight of Radical Islam

I saw something the other day that stopped me short. There was a headline on the BBC that France is considering outlawing the headscarf for Islamic women there. (They barred the wearing of headscarves for children in public schools in 2004.)

As usual, the person who wrote the headline didn’t bother reading the story, which talks about banning the much more conservative face veil in public spaces, like the metro (subway) or government buildings.

This affects considerably less people (approximately 1,900 versus millions). If it had been the headscarf in general, I would have expected rioting in the streets. Though the Muslim community accepted the ban on headscarves in the public schools much more quietly than I expected.

I don’t think that this even could be considered in the United States (U.S.) without there being instant demonstrations and lawsuits filed in court, and I thank God for that. But I have to remember that this is France and not the U.S. Their laws and philosophy for government are different there. However, I do feel very sorry for the women who are caught in the middle.

The reason that the French government wants to ban the full face veil is that it promotes “radical religious practice,” and it is oppressive to women. They do not feel that women should be forced into that visually subservient position. That would not be my first choice either, but I see a problem.

The policy will punish the victim. Women, possibly being oppressed in their families and homes, potentially will be refused access to the government that is supposed to protect them. I applaud the goal of the French government, but I hope that they find another way to achieve it.

Note: Since reading this original story, France has refused citizenship to a man on the basis that he "compelled" his French wife to wear the full veil. Very interesting indeed.


Please, see my next entry, which will feature an unmarried working Muslim woman living in England. She chooses to wear the headscarf in her daily life as a sign of her faith.


I think if we don't live the life, we have no business telling them what they can or can't do within the confines of their faith. If the women were campaigning for no veils, I would be all for it, but some of them realy do prefer the anonimity that face scarf provides.

Quilly: Yes, that's one of the reasons that I wanted to do my feature of the young woman in the UK next. (I actually had this really LONG blog post that included all of this, but I decided that it would be better to break it up. lol) I'm all for the women who want to wear the full veil. I am just concerned for the ones who are compelled to. Just like I'm concerned for women in the U.S. who are in dangerous domestic situations (and men too, for that matter -- not as common, but it does happen).

Great post, Cherie! I saw this, too, and my first reaction was outrage. How dare the government intrude on religious freedom! But then there is the "oppression of women" factor that, of course, the government should intrude upon.

This is a really gray area, I think, with no clear solution. You're talking about a significant culture clash with very different mores. If women prefer the veil in deference to their faith, then, of course, they should be allowed to wear it. However, if they are being forced to wear it by family or culture, then that's another matter. How much religious freedom should be granted when that freedom infringes upon the rights of individuals? Warren Jeffs' little kingdom comes to mind. The government should absolutely interfere when the rights of women and children are being ignored and abuse is taking place.

Ah, it's a complicated world we live in.

Thanks for the food for thought. :)

A government, no matter what country it is in should keep their nose out of religion. I firmly believe that it should be a woman's, and a man's for that matter, right to choose to wear what they want, when they want and where they want. I don't particularly agree with Islamic traditions that make women wear these. I guess I'm just too use to the American way of life

Lisa: My first reaction was, "They'll never get away with that!" If you read the story, you'll say that there are many quarters that are concerned about terrorist responses if they enact the report's suggestions. Very complicated situation indeed.

Thom: Yeah, that's why I'm glad that we live here. Unfortunately, not everyone believes as we do. In France's case, they're trying to outlaw the free practice of religion, and others want to force people into the practice of their religion. I am very thankful for our founding fathers. :)

This is an interesting subject. The USA has outlawed religious bigamy for Mormans. Isn't that the same thing?

Characters from Sean the Vampire

Nessa: You could be right about that one. "They" might need to reconsider that while the nation is redefining what marriage means. And goodness knows that the Mormons have been persecuted in this country throughout their history.

Aside from the attack on religious freedom, this seems to address a (possible) symptom of oppression, not the issue itself.

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