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Author Topic: French ban on parts of hijab dress  (Read 1375 times)

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Offline TriesteTopic starter

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French ban on parts of hijab dress
« on: July 06, 2010, 08:45:42 PM »
Hijab being the general word for modest dress. The article cites burqas specifically, and all face-coverings in general.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/07/06/france.burqa.ban/index.html?hpt=Sbin

Yeah. Hey, France, know who else regulates what women can wear in public? Take a guess.

They claim to be doing this in the name of equality, but I find it abhorrent, personally. It's like telling a nun not to wear a habit in the interests of gender equality. I agree with Amnesty International: it's discrimination. The choice to wear a face covering, or a head covering, or anything of the sort, is not a choice that any government should be making for their citizenry. Choice of dress has as little to do with the stereotypical Islamic treatment of women (which is its own difficulty, since it's the governments and NOT the religion that usually perpetuates anti-female crimes) and everything to do with freedom of expression.

For shame.

Offline Jude

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2010, 09:04:16 PM »
France has a very real problem with racism against Muslims, this is kind of an ugly manifestation of that, but they're hardly unique.  All throughout Europe there are ongoing culture clashes between Islamic immigrants and the societies into which they're transplanting.

I'm wondering, personally, if we haven't seen this stuff in America yet because it's not coming here or because we don't have a large enough Islamic population (it's around 1% right now).  Of course, it's also possible that we actually have a greater respect for individual's rights here, but I doubt it (at least when it pertains to this).  America has strong culture-enforcement ingrained into its laws and attitudes; moreso than Europeans I always thought (who clamp down on individual rights in the name of the greater good in other ways, not for the sake of societal uniformity).

The problem really is two-fold, as with any situation, the "good Muslims" need to step to the forefront to replace the images we regularly see of the more radical, so that people get a look at both sides.  The terrorist attacks certainly aren't helping anything either, and in France they have a great deal of immigration issues, especially in Paris.

Can't say I'm too outraged, I mean I wouldn't endorse this personally (I believe in freedom of religion) but it is their country and if this is how they want to manage things, they do have a right to determine how people who choose to live there decide to conduct themselves.

Offline Vekseid

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2010, 09:26:51 PM »
Islam is a religion, not a race. A religion should not be free from ridicule just for being a religion, an idea or practice is not free of persecution simply for being religious. An idea must stand on its own merits in order to merit respect.

I find the idea of a 'right to conceal one's face in public' somewhat dubious. There are secular restrictions on that in the United States, for example, though they don't bar face covering per se, but may bar masks, ski masks, etc.

Every honor killing, every revenge rape, every ignorant death threat taints Islam's image in the West, and there's no sign of a serious effort to reign that in, and it is not the nature of the West to put up with that until they do. History suggests that over the duration of this economic crisis, the West will become rather less tolerant.

This is just a symptom, and a tiny one in comparison to the problem.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2010, 09:44:52 PM »
Islam is a religion, not a race. A religion should not be free from ridicule just for being a religion, an idea or practice is not free of persecution simply for being religious. An idea must stand on its own merits in order to merit respect.

I find the idea of a 'right to conceal one's face in public' somewhat dubious. There are secular restrictions on that in the United States, for example, though they don't bar face covering per se, but may bar masks, ski masks, etc.

Every honor killing, every revenge rape, every ignorant death threat taints Islam's image in the West, and there's no sign of a serious effort to reign that in, and it is not the nature of the West to put up with that until they do. History suggests that over the duration of this economic crisis, the West will become rather less tolerant.

This is just a symptom, and a tiny one in comparison to the problem.

It's my understanding that there is a rather large integration problem in France regarding their immigrant population, but that might be flawed. I don't have many details on the situation anymore (I read up on it during the riots a couple years ago but have since slacked off on the events there; will probably catch up when I have some time) so I'm not sure if that's still the case, but if it is, then this move seems especially petty on the part of the government.

It's not so much a 'right to conceal one's face' as it is a 'why are you (meaning them) singling this group out other than to be discriminatory pricks'. Wearing a veil doesn't have any more religious significance than wearing a hat all the time because one's head should be covered out of respect to God. Also, I'm not aware of any fine imposed for wearing ski masks in public. You're just asked to take them off if you wear one into a convenience store or what-have-you.

Honor killings, revenge rapes, and death threats are horrible. They are inexcusable and absolutely need to stop. However, punishing an international community because of the deeds of ass-hat governments and deluded fringe groups is akin to banning the use of altar boys in catholic churches the world over. In addition to that, why is the French government further targeting a group that is also targeted by aforementioned ass-hats? Men don't wear burqas, and they certainly don't have such strict hijab codes. It's further crap piled on women in search of gender-equality.

It's ridiculous.

Online Silk

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2010, 03:26:33 AM »
It depends if they are singling out muslim cloth for this ruling or if they are just removing the special exception of muslims being able to wear face concealment attire when all others are banned.

If it is a singleing out of muslims then I agree that its wrong.

However if they are just bringing muslims in line with current face concealment legislation. Then I'm all for it. No religion should be exempt from laws in any regard.

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2010, 07:53:24 AM »
I'm wondering, personally, if we haven't seen this stuff in America yet because it's not coming here or because we don't have a large enough Islamic population (it's around 1% right now).  Of course, it's also possible that we actually have a greater respect for individual's rights here, but I doubt it (at least when it pertains to this).  America has strong culture-enforcement ingrained into its laws and attitudes; more so than Europeans I always thought (who clamp down on individual rights in the name of the greater good in other ways, not for the sake of societal uniformity).

I don't think it is because we have less of an Islamic population I think it is because we have much more intolerance of abuse of rights. For example the week after 9-11 Christian church members and Jewish temples members surrounded an Islamic place of worship in Chicago to prevent an anit-Islamic group from storming the place of worship allowing the Islamic population to attend services.

We are a group of people that, for the most part, believe that someone's constitutional rights are more important then anything else even if we don't happen to agree with that person or group.

Offline Hunter

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2010, 07:58:01 AM »
Wearing a veil doesn't have any more religious significance than wearing a hat all the time because one's head should be covered out of respect to God. Also, I'm not aware of any fine imposed for wearing ski masks in public. You're just asked to take them off if you wear one into a convenience store or what-have-you.

Remember the discussion we were/are having in another location about proving identity?   What is she going to do when a police officer asks her to lift said veil in order to verify her identity?   Say no and possibly get arrested?

Now we're talking about giving them "special rights" based on religious preference.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2010, 08:16:08 AM »
@itsbeenfun: I think you are right about that, for better or worse (and sometimes there is a worse).

@Hunter: No, I'm talking about giving the same rights to them as to everyone else. I would expect an officer to do his best to ask respectfully and only when necessary, and of course I would expect someone to identify themselves if required to do so. I mean, duh.

Offline Oniya

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Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2010, 09:05:47 AM »
I seem to recall a couple of American cases/incidents where a female officer was called in specifically to confirm identification on a Muslim woman so that she would not violate hijab.  It's not really any different from calling in a female officer to do a pat-down search.

Offline cassia

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2010, 11:07:45 AM »
Remember the discussion we were/are having in another location about proving identity?   What is she going to do when a police officer asks her to lift said veil in order to verify her identity?   Say no and possibly get arrested?

Now we're talking about giving them "special rights" based on religious preference.

Airports used to handle it by allowing someone with a veil the option of removing it in a private screening room in the presence of only female security guards. I doubt it would be a very common occurrence for someone who wears a veil for religious reasons to be pulled over by the police, but giving her the choice of proving her identity to a female officer (which may require waiting for one to arrive) is an option. Another would include adding an optional fingerprint to the driver's license, if it isn't already there, to allow someone to verify identity with a fingerprint instead of facial match. Fingerprints are more reliable anyway; license and ID pictures tend to be small and poor enough quality that if you can find someone who looks kind of like you and is near the same height, you can use their ID and fool most people with it.

Offline Hemingway

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2010, 11:27:14 AM »
My own country hasn't gone so far as to ban it yet, but I know there are plenty of people who'd like to see that happen. You see certain patterns emerging. Like these things always coming from, at least in my country, the far political right. Along with accusations that Islam is trying to take over our country, and so on. It seems to me like if Islam is trying to take this country over, they're doing it using our values of freedom, and so to try to hamper that effort would, paradoxically, be contrary to our own principles.

Offline Hunter

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2010, 11:32:35 AM »
I seem to recall a couple of American cases/incidents where a female officer was called in specifically to confirm identification on a Muslim woman so that she would not violate hijab.  It's not really any different from calling in a female officer to do a pat-down search.
I also seem to recall at least one case where a Muslim woman refused at all (and went to jail as a result).

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2010, 12:26:46 PM »
Islam is a religion, not a race. A religion should not be free from ridicule just for being a religion, an idea or practice is not free of persecution simply for being religious. An idea must stand on its own merits in order to merit respect.

I find the idea of a 'right to conceal one's face in public' somewhat dubious. There are secular restrictions on that in the United States, for example, though they don't bar face covering per se, but may bar masks, ski masks, etc.

Every honor killing, every revenge rape, every ignorant death threat taints Islam's image in the West, and there's no sign of a serious effort to reign that in, and it is not the nature of the West to put up with that until they do. History suggests that over the duration of this economic crisis, the West will become rather less tolerant.

This is just a symptom, and a tiny one in comparison to the problem.

I agree 100% that religions do not deserve special protections and should come under the full scrutiny of the government as pertains possible human rights violations. But I find a governments right to dictate what clothing a person can wear rather dubious. Especially when they do it out of an ostensible move towards personal dignity and equality. Of course, any government or private institution has the right to say "We think that people with concealed faces constitute a security risk". But this law stresses "any public place" and I think that overreaches.

Now, what this law would do right is the following:
Quote
Forcing a woman to wear a niqab or a burqa would be punishable by a year in prison or a 15,000-euro ($19,000) fine, the government said, calling it "a new form of enslavement that the republic cannot accept on its soil."
Here they are clearly recognizing the principle that no one should forcibly dictate what you wear. It is degrading and a violation of your ability to express yourself. However, in saying that you cannot wear something even voluntarily is degrading in exactly the same way, and I find it equally disgusting.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2010, 12:43:49 PM »
Its French Law not in the US, so I'm not sure if the rights your talking about matter. There seems to be a conflict when there is a matter of public safety (ability to conceal your identity in public), the rights of the person to freely express their religion and the right of a society to ban a practice that can be contrued as subjective to women.

I find this issue a simple matter if you live in a nation then you must assimilate to that nations and its principles. Since France I assume demands they learn French, have a generally free society but does clearly protect the rights of women this can include banning the garb in question. Modesty is in the Hassidim and Orthodox Jewish faiths and they don't dress like that but do cover themselves such as their bodies and hair if supporting that idea. So is this dress mandated in the Koran or just a way to make women slaves to a religious idea that is not sensible.

So my position is assimilate to meet the standards of France under their laws.

Offline consortium11

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2010, 12:49:04 PM »
France also has a fairly radical secular streak running through it. The pre-emption to this was their ban on conspicuous religious items in schools... which while reported as mainly being a headscarf restriction also applied to turbans, skullcaps and large crosses... to the extent that in one example a school had to reject a set of chocolates that they had received each Christmas as they were in "Christian" shapes.

The ECHR got involved to an extent as well in Lautsi v. Italy, where Italy was held to e in reach of the European Convention by allowing public schools to display crucifixes. Obviously, the situations aren't analogous but it does show that there's a strong secular movement in places which could lead to more laws and rulings like this.

Lautsi is being appealed ut if it stands there's a good chance that things long seen as traditions (such as nativity plays) across much of Europe being restricted (as well as, due to earlier ECHR cases, posters agreeing with anthropogenic global warming... which I find funny) and takes the EU as a whole a little closer to enforced secularisation in public areas.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2010, 01:37:01 PM »
I think religious custom should have some consideration BUT there is the seperation of state and church for a reason. I remember a case here in Florida (just before 9/11 as I recall) where a Muslim woman was protesting that she couldn't get a license because they (the DMV) had to have her unveil for the photo and she insisted she couldn't.

You have a right to practice your religion as you see fit BUT you also have to face the consequences of those choices.

Plus, if I'm sure that current French law is still based on the Napoleonic code of laws which isn't too worried about individual's rights

Offline Noelle

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2010, 01:11:10 AM »
It's my understanding that there is a rather large integration problem in France regarding their immigrant population, but that might be flawed. I don't have many details on the situation anymore (I read up on it during the riots a couple years ago but have since slacked off on the events there; will probably catch up when I have some time) so I'm not sure if that's still the case, but if it is, then this move seems especially petty on the part of the government.

Dunno how I missed this thread before, but you're absolutely right about this. France has a particularly large population of Maghreb/Arab immigrants, especially from francophone Africa and prominent French-speaking areas of the Middle East, and it's been a constant source of culture clash for some time now; ever see the film Persopolis? I also suggest Inch'Allah Dimanche. There has been a little controversy, if I remember right, over Sarkozy's plans for the banlieus and some of the low-income places in Paris, but I can't recall the details exactly. He's notoriously done these passive-aggressive moves, things that may not seem obviously targeted at a certain group, but are thinly-veiled disguises for his own seeming xenophobia.

Thing that's tricky with France is that they have a long history of trying to establish and maintain a unified national identity. There are currently ongoing debates about what makes the country "uniquely France" or what is "uniquely French" in order to have a springboard for the definition. L'Académie Française is a great example of how tightly they try to hold on to their traditions; like anything though, their efforts typically fail in practicality. Despite the Academy's efforts to establish French words instead of adopting English loan-words, in common parlance, most people use adopted English words -- parking, smoking, chewing, cool, et cetera.

The funny thing about this law is that it, too, has a very thin shell. They say "the banning of hijab isn't just banning burqas for Muslims -- it's banning anyone from wearing them." It's like saying "we're banning the wearing of crosses -- we're not just preventing Christians from wearing them, this law applies to everyone." ...But who wears crosses other than Christians? What kind of significant population dresses in hijab except Muslims?

I get the feeling that though this was passed through parliament, there's a good chance it'll be struck down further on -- be it when it reaches the final floor, or as soon as Sarkozy is voted out and someone less prejudiced gets in ;P I support the French in their want for immigrants to assimilate, but as with anything, immigrants aren't about to go away, especially as they establish their new lives legally in a new country. They are bound to bring elements of the places they've come from, and business owners are obviously aware that they are a viable market, as evidenced by the huge amount of hallal eating establishments on the street alone. It's a matter of striking a balance between allowing them to retain their cultural identity while becoming an integrated citizen of the new.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2010, 01:22:45 AM »
That was indeed the way I had understood the situation. I was unsure as to whether it had changed significantly. The way I see it, I can empathize: of course people are going to miss their home, especially if they were forced to leave (and I don't know how many are) so they're going to bring things with them. Like teddy bears for grown-ups, culture and rituals are a comfort in a strange land where many things are unfamiliar. Both sides have to work toward gradual integration, as opposed to expecting immigrants to automagically adopt the French national identity, whatever it may be, as soon as their entrance is approved. This goes equally for US immigration policies, by the way. Americans can be equally unforgiving.

(It's also my understanding that L'Academie is considered mostly a joke everywhere outside of Quebec - where it is taken way, way, way too seriously - but that may also have changed. :P)

Thank you for the perspective. I enjoyed reading it.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2010, 03:15:15 PM »
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100713/ap_on_re_eu/eu_france_forbidding_the_veil_9

French lower legislature has passed the Burqua Ban and about time I enjoy religious liberty but you want to live IN France and become a citizen you better damn assimilate as you should in any other nation.

The US used to have the same attitude and I miss it come here and assimilate, Americanize and make your country of origin where you came from not where you now are a citizen.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2010, 03:50:23 PM »
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100713/ap_on_re_eu/eu_france_forbidding_the_veil_9

French lower legislature has passed the Burqua Ban and about time I enjoy religious liberty but you want to live IN France and become a citizen you better damn assimilate as you should in any other nation.

The US used to have the same attitude and I miss it come here and assimilate, Americanize and make your country of origin where you came from not where you now are a citizen.

One does not spend all one's life in another country, then automatically start looking and acting like someone from another country when they change localities. I think you would probably do well to actually look up the word 'assimilate' in the dictionary. While you're at it, please also look up 'integrate', 'ignorant', and 'bigot'.

Offline Noelle

Re: French ban on parts of hijab dress
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2010, 04:04:52 PM »
...Except that in the US, we don't have nationwide bans on what is acceptable to wear in public (save for nudity/lewdness, as well as things like ski masks in banks, for obvious reasons). You enjoy religious liberty because the United States favors Christians despite the fact that we are not a Christian nation -- Shariah-run nations of the middle east require certain levels of conformity based on the presiding religion, but we have very loose definition of what is immodest dress and a very broad culture that encompasses all kinds. In the US, Christians are allowed to display crosses, members of the clergy are allowed to go out in the streets in their religious dress, Jews can wear yarmulkes, grow sidelocks -- but hijab is responded to with fear and misunderstanding, and somehow it's okay to ban that, but can you imagine the outrage if it were decided that Christians were unable to wear anything associated with their religion? How do you make it okay for one but not the other except to say that one is more normalized and familiar to the population at large?

Thing about the United States is that we have built our country on immigration -- we don't have an assimilated culture, and I might venture to say we never have. I don't know what period of "similar attitude" you're referring to, because there have been culture clashes with every new wave of immigrants to enter the country -- even European immigrants way back all the way to Hispanics today.

I agree with you that immigrants have a duty to assimilate and participate in their new country to become active, engaged, contributing citizens, but the place they came from is something that helped shape them -- it's not just going to go away. It's inevitable that they will expose their new country to non-native traditions and customs, and I think it can be a beautiful thing. You can still have things that are "uniquely American" much as there are things that are "uniquely French", but the world is not a static place -- it is dynamic, constantly shifting and evolving, and so too must our definitions. First-generation immigrants are often the least integrated, besides -- it's not until they have children who grow up in the US and then have children of their own that you really start to get accustomed, fully adjusted citizens.