This coming January, right-wing politicians will suggest the adoption of a new law prohibiting women to wear the burqa in France. But, why does the burqa stir up debates?
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Under the assumption that France is a seculiar state, it is prohibited for anyone to display any religious symbol at school since 2004.
Since then, just like christians are forbidden to display a cross at school, muslim girls can’t wear a headscarf when going to school.
Now, politicians want to prohibit the burka in all public places.
The burka is a piece of clothing worn by some muslim women that covers the whole face with only the eyes remaining visible, or not.
It’s different from the chador and it’s not the shayla. To see the difference between all these click here.
The French politicians’ arguments against the burqa
Jean-Francois Copé is the deputy who is arguing that the law should urgently come into existence. Here are his arguments beyond what might be its religious signification:
- The burqa symbolizes the submissivness of women which goes against the principles of French republican and democratic values.
- For security reasons, everyone’s face should remain visible at all times when in public.
But what if muslim women themselves say they feel closer to god wearing the Burqa? Would the French government be infringing religious freedom?
How do the muslim react?
Islam is the second most prominent religion in France. So, how do french muslim react?
Surprisingly, as of now no great defenders of the burqa have come forward.
The american journal, Time, argues it might be because women in burka remain rare to come across in France. Those who do wear it in France are considered to be more radical in there believes, even by muslims.
So why is the “debate” occupying so much place in the french media these days? Well mainly because politicians are pushing it.
After all, there is material for controversy.Women in Burqa, although rare, do exist in France.
Dounia Bouzar, specialist in Muslim affairs, says “that Salafist influence and activity is spreading, and if it takes political action to prevent their cult from leading Muslims astray of Islam, so be it.”
Foreign countries react
However, some other countries, like the UK, blame France for having such a debate.
Dr Reefat Drabu, a representant of the Muslim Council of Britain, said “the French President appears to be initiating a policy which is set to create fear and misunderstanding and may lead to Islamophobic reaction not just in France but in the rest of Europe too.”
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Where is Europe going?
Switzerland was debating over minarets earlier in 2009. Now, France is wondering how to react to the burqa and questions keep arising:
- Is condemning the burqa alone an important step in safeguarding french culture?
- Is it all really so important to be put forth as an issue the way it is?
- Are we really saving women from being subservient by taking off their veils?
- Are west Europeans trying to hide away their muslim populations?
- Are these debates not just stirring up tensions with the muslim world more than ever needed at this time in history?
If there are any answers, please comment.