Tuesday, 12 April 2011

My thoughts on the French ruling on veils

What I feel is wrong with France's decision to ban on Muslim women wearing viels is that it is a blow against individual and religious freedom.

As a person who relys on lip reading in noisey enviroment and as someone who is not Islamic, I may find the wearing of the veil inconvenient and the motives behind it hard to reconcile but I can respect the right of someone to wear one, especially if it is not preventing them for carrying out a particular function (for example, not obstructing the field of vision when driving).

Now I'm not French either, and therefore the arguement could be raised that it's none of my business. Fair point, but it does raise important questions for people outside of France.
The law further adds fuel to the fire of extremeists across the world.
Islmaic extremeists will quote France's law as an example of the "West's" intollerance of the Islamic faith.
Far Right Extremeists will quote France's law as an example of how their country should be run.
It further polarises the extremes of this argument and makes the middle ground harder to find.

The last government to actively, negatively, target a particular religious group in it's law making was the German government of the 1930's.

Make no mistake this is a step on a very dangerous road.

As someone who likes to have the freedom to decide what to believe and what I wear that denotes my beliefs without the fear of official pressure to dress in way that is deemed correct.

If you think that what the French Government has done is a good thing then consider this:

I wear a pentagram, a charm of a dragon and several beaded wristbands. These are often combined with T-shirts that are of a nature that the more conservative members of society may deem unsuitable.
These things display both my beliefs and my freedom to express myself.
All these things could be deemed as preventing me from integrating into society if the people making that decision wanted to a society of button down, suit wearing conformists who attend a christian church on a weekly basis.

And if you're secular rather than spiritaul think of it like this:
How would you feel if you were told that wearing replica football shirts was to be banned because it emphasises the divisions in society?
How would you feel if you were told that wearing your hair down in public was no longer appropriate because it contravened a state ruling on decency?

You might think that my examples are far fetched. I disagree.

Rather than alienating Islamic women that choose to wear the viel can the state not alternatively raise it's concerns and maybe pass a law saying that, where there is good cause, a Muslim woman wearing a viel must reveal her face to a government official to confirm her identity?

If there is really an issue with the viel causing rifts in society then surely it is better to broker a compromise and educate both sides of the argument to help them understand the issues that each have.

I can't help but think that no good will come of this.

And if you don't think it's your problem then read this and think it over.