The Hijab Controversy in France
The Hijab Controversy is a topic that has been of great concern to many Muslims. It is an issue of whether women who choose to wear the Islamic head covering have the right to practice their faith freely. This is a debate that goes beyond simply the issue of women's rights. Rather, it's about the way that a Muslim-majority nation like France is dealing with its own Muslim populations.
Attitudinal forces driving acceptance of the niqab in public spaces
There have been numerous studies on hijab. Some have looked at its positive and negative aspects. Others have examined its role as an ostentatious display of religiosity. But little is known about its effects on women.
Among the many studies that have been conducted, only a few have investigated the impact of the hijab on a woman's life. While the study did find that women with darker complexions are perceived as less beautiful, it did not reveal any specifics about why this was the case.
Studies have also found that there are links between religious extremism and domestic violence. Although the link has not been conclusively proven, it is likely that some women who wear the hijab may be more susceptible to abuse than others.
A recent study looked at the effects of hijab dissociation on Muslim youth in a predominantly white society. The main informant, a 24 year old Lebanese (ex-Muslim) immigrant living in Quebec, Canada, was an active campaigner against hijab. After undergoing a psychological trauma, she believed that she gained control of her life by dissociating from the hijab.
Various studies have also examined the effect of wearing the hijab on a woman's self-esteem. They have found that people who wear the hijab tend to have lower self-esteem than others. One explanation is that the decision to wear the hijab is deeply rooted in their religiosity.
Lashkar-e-Taiba would have paid no attention to France
The Lashkar-i-Taiba got in on the act with a leaflet devoted to the France Hijab debate. This one was not a cynical ploy to drum up business. Rather it was a genuinely enlightening exposition on the state of Islamic law in the French capitol. Interestingly enough, it was co-founded by a member of President Emmanuel Macron's Republic on the Move party, Stanislas Guerini.
One of the most egregious pieces of legislation wrought by a long string of bad eggs is the ban on the wearing of the hijab by girls under 18. The law is expected to garner widespread public scrutiny and criticism. Aside from the usual suspects, there is a slew of moderate Muslims in the know who are not so impressed with the ban. For instance, there are a handful of Islamist groups who have offered financial rewards for parents who allow their daughters to wear the hijab. These groups have not always been ecumenical in their approach.
Nonetheless, the debate over what exactly constitutes a legitimate Muslim community remains ongoing. Even President Emmanuel Macron has a few qualms. While he has endorsed a number of Muslim candidates for office in the past, he has also publicly criticized Muslim women for their perceived bias against him. Despite the fact that he has sworn off any Muslim women candidates in the near future, his policies remain a mixed bag for the foreseeable future.
Laicite should mean that the state should be neutral, not that students should not have religious convictions
Until recently, laicite (meaning "the people" in ancient Greek) has been used to refer to the separation of religion from the public sphere. But today, it has evolved to mean more politically charged principles. Its meaning has shifted from the original definition of separation of Church and State to one that requires citizens to abstain from publicly manifesting their faith.
Initially, laicite was seen as a way to foster interfaith dialogue, to engender a spirit of equality, and to protect freedom of conscience. However, recent instrumentalizations of the principle have led to attempts to ban minority religious faiths, coerce citizens into a closed secular state, and even to force Muslims into a head covering.
In the context of modern France, however, laicite has become a political issue, and the battles over it are not just between the government and religion, but between the state and its citizens. The result is that the debate has moved to the right.
The battle over laicite reveals the conflict between modernity and tradition. Laicite, like many other aspects of French society, was developed partially to overcome the legacy of religious warfare.
Originally, laicite was a principle that was used to limit the temporal power of the Catholic Church. It also meant that the government would not interfere in religious matters. This is a core value of the French state.
Today, however, the term has become tangled with national identity. It has been used to justify various attempts to coerce people into a closed secular state, and it has been enshrined in the constitution.
Islamic dress code is optional in Muslim-majority nations
A dress code that is mandatory in one country may be optional in another. But when it comes to Islamic dress, it is a good idea to be aware of the nuances of the various cultures you encounter. For instance, Qatari women wear black robes. Similarly, Muslim women in France are forbidden from wearing the burqa.
One of the more controversial aspects of the Muslim attire is the hijab. Iran has mandated it since the 1979 Islamic revolution, and if you happen to be a woman, you are not going to be able to go a day without it. In fact, the government's justification for the mandatory hijab is drawn from the Quran. So what is the real reason behind such a policy?
There are a few reasons for the hijab's popularity. First, Muslim women cover themselves to prevent sexual harassment. They also wear it to show support for their faith. Secondly, it can help keep the low-class males at bay. Third, it can serve as an accessory to a Muslim dress.
Its popularity has not been limited to Muslims; countless non-Muslims have donned the head covering in the name of fashion. Other nations, such as Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, have had to fight for their right to wear a headscarf. Despite their adversity, some of them have succeeded, albeit in small numbers.
Although the hijab is the star of the show, some women opt for something smaller, such as the jilbab. These garments are often a short, tight blouse or scarf.
French law prevents people from hiding their faces in public spaces
The French government has introduced a law that prevents people from covering their faces in public spaces. It is expected to be implemented in September.
Face coverings have been a thorny issue in France for decades. First discussed in the context of national identity, they have since shifted into the debate about whether Islam is compatible with the French Republic.
Despite the ban, only about 2,000 women in France wear full facial veils. They are also more likely to wear a niqab, which leaves their eyes open.
As a result of the ban, the state has taken on the responsibility of regulating Muslim religious practice. Those who violate the law can be fined up to 38,000 euros. In some cases, minors can be charged double that amount.
Ultimately, the ban's main aim is to deny Muslims the ability to express their religion freely. Whether this is an objective goal or an ulterior motive is up for debate.
France is home to the largest Muslim community in Europe. At least five million Muslims live in the country. Many believe the ban is a response to state reluctance to include visible Muslims in the national identity. However, the state has failed to show a threat to public security and has never demonstrated a need for the restrictions.
The French government has not elaborated on its reasons for introducing the face-covering ban. A spokesman from the foreign ministry said the law was in line with French values and religious freedom.
Non-Muslim women view bans on Muslim women's head coverings
The issue of Muslim women's head coverings has generated much controversy in many countries around the world. While feminists argue that head coverings are an expression of gender equality, critics believe that the practice demonstrates subordination to Islamic patriarchy.
In 2004, France passed a law banning Muslim students from wearing a head scarf in school. Laws were also passed to prevent Islamic symbols from being worn by public servants. However, the ban did not apply to universities.
A Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, proposed a ban on niqab and burqa and suggested that non-western immigrants would be prohibited from settling in the Netherlands. He also advocated a ban on new mosques.
As the debate over the ban on Muslim women's head coverings continues, there are questions as to how the ban should be interpreted. Some say that it is a matter of religious freedom while others believe it is xenophobic.
Studies have found that non-Muslims are more likely to support a headscarf ban if they believe it will help protect Muslims from discrimination and oppression. But, the probability of accepting a niqab in public is less for those who think immigration should be reduced.
The French case highlights tensions between religious rights and secular values. Many politicians argue that the bans on religious symbolism are in the interest of public safety.
But, there are some skeptics who argue that the French state has a strong history of promoting the separation of church and state. This was in part influenced by the French Revolution.