Basically, it is now illegal for any woman to wear the fully covered veil in France and if they do, they risk getting fined and being asked to attend re-education classes. People who force women to wear the full-faced burqa risk being fined a higher amount and a year in gaol. The reason behind the law coming into force was that the full-faced burqa is a symbol of servitude and not one prescribed by the religion or the Koran. However, there are groups that believe this is targetting the Muslim minority in the country and is anti-Islamist.
Where do I stand on this?
To be honest, I don’t know.
I am a feminist. I do not believe in women having to serve men and there are certain cultures that treat women as secondary citizens and it annoys me no end. To that extent, I agree with one part of the law: if anyone forces a woman to wear a full-faced buqa, they should be fined and/or gaoled. But, if that were the case, I think it should extend to anyone that forces a woman to wear anything and not let her make up her own mind. That’s only fair. Because I’m pretty sure there are women who are forced to wear only skirts (and not pants) or saris or salwar kameezes.
Now, I have also read that the Koran does not in fact say Muslim women have to wear the burqa. All it says apparently is that Muslim men and women must dress modestly. Not having read the Koran myself, I cannot comment on the authenticity of this.
At the end of the day though, my personal feeling is that a woman should be allowed to wear what she wants and what she is comfortable in. No one needs to tell her what to wear or what not to wear. Not religion. Not her husband or boyfriend. Not her parents. Not the government. Making a law banning the burqa is the same as having a law that says women can’t wear a bikini at the beach (and I’m sure this exists in at least one of the fundamentalist countries!!) Either way, it impinges on the woman’s rights.
I know people are going to tell me that Muslim women choose to wear the burqa because they are brainwashed or that they are pressured. I won’t know. All I can say is that I have seen some young girls battle with wanting to wear the headscarf and trying to figure out their identities…and in one or two cases, the mother doesn’t even wear a headscarf.
What do you think?
Do you support France’s action and do you think other countries should follow suit?
Do share your thoughts…I’d really like to know!
Until next time,