1.26.2010

France and the Veil, aka My Fascination With Where the State Ends and the Individual Begins.

Today, the French government came thismuch closer to banning the wearing of the Islamic veil in state-run facilities, such as hospitals, schools, government offices and on public transport. It also recommends that anyone showing visible signs of "radical religious practice" should be refused residence cards and citizenship. (BBC, 1.26.20).

What I find so interesting is that according to France's Ministry of the Interior. only 1,900 women in France wear the types of veil in question. In 2008, the population of France was 62,048,473 (World Bank, World Development Indicators). That .00306% must pose a wicked challenge to the French principles of equality and secularism: "The wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our republic. This is unacceptable. We must condemn this excess," the [Ministry's] report said.  At the same time, there is something to be said for a country that will defend its principles so absolutely.



Tell the faithful women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their scarf to cover their bosom
Koran, 24:31 (English translation)
There are so many points of view on this highly contentious issue. The French state claims that the face covering is a physical manifestation of a culture of female subjugation, yet many veil-wearing Islamic women say that they choose to wear the veil as part of their orthodox lifestyle.

Below are some articles from a variety of resources. I have tried to include pieces from all sides of the debate.


It was nearly a caricature because the person said: 'my wife will never be able to go out without the full veil; I don't believe in gender equality; women have inferior status; I will not respect the principles of the secular society,'" he told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.  --France denies citizenship to man with veiled wife AP (2.4.10)

    3 comments:

    1. here is a new poll and article for you.

      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e0c0e732-254d-11df-9cdb-00144feab49a.html

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    2. here are a few more. it is sad that we have to even waste energy on these issues, that politicians that seek parity and freedom from violence for woman, jews, people of color, and homosexuals are considered right wing and extreme. since when was the idea of freedom of speech and rights for women considered wrong [fascist]?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQ1tlHqomGs
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EuWUr7NDXk

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    3. Thanks, JB! The more I have thought about this issue, the stronger I feel in my support of the separation between church and state. I feel very strongly about that here in the states, and support France in defense of laïcité and secularism in the government sphere.

      ReplyDelete