Thursday, August 27, 2009
Banning the Burqa: Yes or No
News reports are running rampant with many blasting France’s stance to ban the burqa – or fully covered female Muslim apparel. Some say it goes against religious freedom, because we all know very well that those exact countries that enforce this dress code have a great deal of “religious freedom” or really, freedom in general. What I will also recognize is just like with female circumcision in tribal areas mainly in southern Africa is that the burqa or even niqab (cloak showing just the eyes) might also be viewed as a rite of passage into womanhood. It is seen as a positive thing, despite what many of us Westerners may believe. Each female looks forward to menstruation as it is a sign that we are reaching womanhood – and then we realize the cramps, mood swings, pain, etc. are just BS and we grow a hatred for it, but I digress. That being said I will also point out that France is the only country that has strong roots currently still present in each of its former colonies. Something should be said about that. Haiti, Quebec, New Orleans, African countries, etc. all speak a form of French and still have a French presence in many of their festivals and local government (Louisiana and parishes for instance instead of counties). Why? As my friend Maureen put it, “France takes an extremely aggressive stance toward protecting ‘Frenchness.’” I also agree with another friend that said, “…[the burqa/niqab] is a form of subjugation and therefore, against the basic rights of any member of a civilized society.” I'm somewhat torn on the issue of France banning the burqa. I guess what it really comes down to, are these women who are wearing the garb French born or from some MidEast/North African country? And no, I’m not discussing women that have shifted their citizenship to that of France. I’m torn on the rights of natural born citizens. However, that being said, for those that aren’t, I think that if they are unable to adapt to the societal standards around them in a country that isn’t their own, then they should either be forced to get rid of their “ninja apparel” or move back to their home countries. Someone said to me that’s like signing a death warrant. Well, in that case, unveil ladies! And I’m not discussing being unable to wear simply the head scarf and more conservative clothing (hageb). If I had to move to Saudi Arabia, I would be forced to wear the gear. Reason #7928374573839 that I do not have any plans, hopes, aspirations or dreams of moving to that place as I do not believe in it, but would have to respect their country. So what’s the difference with the veiled women in France? So yes, I think France has the right to impose this as it goes against their culture. Then in the US, a woman’s case was dismissed in Detroit because she refused to unveil herself. She sued the judge. In the US, body language is most often what wins and/or loses your court case. Yet in her own country, she probably never would have seen the lights in a courtroom for such a frivolous case simply because she was female. Why is it that the US, UK and EU countries must adhere to Islamic law? Knock knock, here’s a secret – these countries not Islamic Republics. If you don’t like the way the West does things, then go back to your own countries – we all know the success rate there. As a fellow expat living in Egypt, Elaine put it eloquently, “I observe local laws here and would never think of going into a court in a rara skirt and boob tube so what are they thinking?” Disclaimer: This is not a slight against Islam. If you want to debate this issue, for or against, please do so in a mature,respectful manner. I will delete any comments that I feel are derogatory toward any religion: Christianity or Islam.