Contention: Frances decision to restrict the wearing of religious symbolsis unjustifiedIn December last year, French President Jacques Chirac proposed a law toban all conspicuous signs of religious belief form state schools and publicbuildings. This ban would include the wearing of Muslim headscarves,Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses. The government-sponsoredcommission had recommended that new laws were needed to protect secularismin France.
Although the bans are to include Jewish and Christian religioussymbols, much attention has been given to the proposed banning of theMuslim hijab and burqa. Today I will explain why France’s decision torestrict the wearing of religious symbols is unjustified. From the beginning of time society has consisted of people who woredifferent garments and accessories as an expression of their individualityand religious beliefs. In today’s world this freedom of expression isbeing frowned upon and considered to be dangerous in the tolerant world wesupposedly live in. France’s recent decision to ban conspicuous religioussymbols is exactly the kind of action that discriminates against allreligious groups who wear badges of identity.Order now
By banning these religious items, the French are discriminating against allreligious groups, not just Muslims. France is well known for its manydifferent cultures and religious within its communities. In fact thegreater part of the population is of a devout faith, from Catholics to Jewsand even a large number of Sikhs. So how can this country with only aminority of atheists be prejudice against those who wish to express theirbeliefs? To allow such a ridiculous proposition such as this where thosewho are affected greatly outnumber those that aren’t, is absurd. Thegovernment is discriminating against the majority of their population.
Both the hijab and burqa, contrary to the public’s beliefs are worn throughpersonal choice. The hijab is a traditional Islamic gown and headscarfthat covers a woman’s body from the neck down to the toe, leaving her faceand hands visible. The burqa is a similar gown, but it also covers theface and hands. There is no denying that a small minority of Muslim womenis actually forced to wear either of these gowns outside of the MiddleEast. But many Muslim women say that they choose to wear the hijab orburqa because they feel it protects their modesty and encourages men toengage with them on an intellectual, rather than a sexual level. Though Islamic practices may seem alien to non-Muslims, a degree oftolerant within society is needed.
Islamic beliefs are based upon enteringinto a condition of peace and security with their god Allah throughallegiance and surrender to him. In doing so woman are to “draw their head-veils over their necks and bosoms, and to reveal their adornments expect totheir own husbands” (Koran, An Nur 24: 30-31). How can one be expected tonot show their faith towards their own religion, when it is written in thelaw that governs their beliefs?Societies interpretation of the veil is based upon the little knowledgethey have of Islam. Though it may be seen to symbolize the oppression ofMuslim woman and girls, this is incorrect. For a woman of Islam it is atestament to her faith that she should not show her beauty or adornments. As a chaste, modest, pure woman, she does not want her sexuality to enterinto interactions with men in the smallest degree.
A woman who coversherself is concealing her sexuality but allowing her femininity to bebrought out. A veiled Muslim woman is simply sending the message thatsociety difference is tolerated and a person’s religious beliefs should notdisadvantage her in any way. If we allow this proposal to pass through, we’ll be introducing a way ofliving that can be associated with that of the radical Taliban. Placingrestrictions and rules on what one can or cannot wear, as the Frenchgovernment did, is a deprivation of a persons right of freedom ofexpression.
What kind of a society will we be living in where we cannotfreely express our views and faiths publicly?