Tuesday, January 26, 2010

French want Muslim women to stop veiling their faces

From the Washington Post

PARIS - A parliamentary panel that wants Muslim women to stop veiling their faces recommended Tuesday that France ban such garb in public facilities, including hospitals and mass transit, and refuse residence cards and citizenship to anyone with visible signs of a "radical religious practice."

The nearly 200-page report contains a panoply of measures intended to dissuade women from wearing all-enveloping veils in France. However, there is no call to outlaw such garments - worn by a tiny minority of Muslims - in private areas and in the street.

The veil is widely viewed in France as a gateway to extremism, an insult to gender equality and an offense to France's secular foundation. A 2004 French law bans Muslim headscarves from primary and secondary school classrooms.

As hearings proceeded, "it appeared to members of the panel that the wearing of the full-body veil threw out a challenge to our Republic. It is unacceptable," the report said.

I can tell you what is unacceptable...this is fricking merde!


  1. Western society tends to see the veil as a sign of repression and lack of power and choice. Like with the abortion debate, women should have the option to choose.

    Cultural Anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod has worked extensively with with muslim women and writes about the demonisation of muslim women and how the Bush administration used images of veiled women to drum up support for war. An article by Abu-Lughod on this and on why women aren't throwing off their Burqas now they are 'liberated' can be found here: http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2006-09-01-abulughod-en.html

    Abu-Lughod - 'we shouldn't reduce the diverse situations and attitudes of millions of Muslim women to a single item of clothing.'

    'Choices for all of us are fashioned by discourses, social locations, geopolitical configurations, and unequal power into historically and locally specific ranges. Those for whom religious values are important certainly don't see them as constraining – they see them as ideals for which to strive.'

    Surely banning the burqa and veil will lead to more extremism not less?

  2. Thank you for the link - I will have a read. It is interesting that Western society immediately sees the veil as a sign of oppression. I recall reading about this many years ago at uni, with feminists outraged at the veil and the burqa. The Muslim women responding to that debate were rightly upset at all the assumptions made about their dress, with many Muslim feminists choosing the veil as symbol of liberation to not be judged by appearance.

    I agree - women should have the choice to wear whatever they want, and people shouldn't assume that just because a Muslim women is wearing a burqa or veil it is because she is repressed. I've read plenty of media articles with feminists supporting the ban, which I find alarming. Am I wrong, isn't feminism about choice, and really shouldn't Muslim women be driving this debate?