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French Muslims say law would isolate women

February 3rd, 2010
07:41 PM ET

Filed under:  Islam
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. ruaa

    I think in the case of the niqab i would agree with the frensh government but im also woried that if the start forbiding the niqab they will start forbiding other things like the hijab and maybe even more things which are harmless to socity . People might see the Islam women unfriendly and that is not true if it is anything at all it is very women friendly in a protective kind

    February 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  2. John Spinks

    Europeans are prepared to be tolerant towards islam – are Muslims in the M.E. pepared to be tolerant towards Christians in their countries?
    From what we read and see it apppears that they are not -what are they afraid of?

    February 3, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  3. Jevy

    The ban on the burqa in France is no different from what Iran did on January 7, 1936. We saw what happened there: Women were being forced by police to remove their headscarfs in public. There was a massive uproar. If denmark and france introduce a general ban on the headscarf, it will be an extremely invasive law and will only backfire.

    As a Dane with Pakistani roots, it is extremely disappointing to see our government focus so much attention on this. Khadar said, 200 women wear the burqa and he claims that most of them are forced to wear the headscarf. Why are we concerning about what 200 people do? Denmark is in a recession, 1000s are jobless, there is growing gang violence and we are discussing about people because it shows a trend of political islam? This ban will lead to a self-fulfilling will backfire.

    I myself do not believe the burqa is required by islam. But that doesnt mean I am prepared to support a LAW to ban it! Perhaps politicians should ask themselves WHY these women wear it? I knew girls who didnt previously use to wear but then started to. When I asked them they said it was because of racist experiences they encountered in Denmark and their friends attitude towards the veil. They said they wanted to make a statement and decided to wear it.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  4. Maniza

    just saw your programme on the viel,, i myself am a muslim.. the thing to raly all these fanatics around is the Quran. chapter 33. verse number 59. and i quote:- 33:59 O Prophet! Tell your wives, your daughters, and women of the believers that they should draw loose fitting garments over their person (when in public) This is easy and proper, so that they may be recognized and not bothered. God is Absolver of imperfections, Merciful
    the words to reflect over is, to be recognised!!!! NEITHER the prophets wives, daughters or the believing women are TO COVER THEIR FACES !!!! it is for the security of women that they can be recognised,,, in case they are attacked or should be needed as witness to a crime... how can they do that if no one can see their face??? islam is peace and tranquitly for the whole of society and not just for men..
    as far as Hirsi is concerned.. that woman has no knowledge of the Quran so she cant be any judge for what she does not know.. what she knows is the Islam of the Mullahs who use stories written by the enemys of islam.. and even the Muslims are so weak that they do not try to understand the Quran but just follow what the Mullahs say

    February 3, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  5. Kazim

    I think France should not ban burqas. If this happens then it is like killing the democracy in France. It is women's wish to wear whatever she likes. Nuns wear dress too, should that also be bannned? I think, if Europe is banning burqas then the day is not far off that all Middle East countries will make the law vice versa, they can make the law of compulsion for all other religion women to wear Burqa if they want to visit or live in middle east. Will that be digestible to other religion women? We should not make an issue for wearing burqas. No women wears burqa with out her wish. she is practicing her religion and it is her belief. Same like Nuns. Similarly if an European women wearing shorts should not be banned in Middle east. The best example and the true democratic country in the world is INDIA. it gives full freedom to the minority muslims to wear burqas and practice whatever they wish and want. The Europeans and US should learn from INDIA and implement the same in their countries.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  6. Raja

    On veiled hatred?: I have a different opinion on the identities forced by the religions. There may be lot of reasonings behind the identities givnen/forced by the religions. After all, we are human beings (with six senses). All are under the same sky and given birth in the same manner. This being the fact, identifying oneself in the name of a religion (it may be in the form of attire/style and so on) keeps us away from the six sense animals. Everything can be controlled through proper education, self control (kind of medidation). It is not just about only muslims. Any religion, which forces for some identity, is not actually a religion at all. We can take values from our pioneers (be it Allah, Jesus, Bhuddha etc). But, we not boast that only a paricular pioneer is the best among others. Experience is the teacher and the experience is the god. Let us nuetrally take the values from the preaching of all these pioneers but need not tell the world that we are follower of this person/god or that person/god.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Reply
  7. Helen Baylor

    As a Christian woman, if I go to leave in Saudi Arabia, for instance, I'm expected to cover my head according to the Islamic laws there. Why can't these muslims just comply with the customs and traditions in the Western world countries that have welcomed them to live here. If they can't comply, let them go and live in middle eastern/Arabian countries where they will feel more at home with wearing burqas, etc. The muslim world should stop expecting to have the best of both worlds.
    Also, western politicians should start listening more to the needs of their people to stop Islamophobia increasing.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  8. Aziz

    I think this issue has been long discussed and exaggerated by some government officials. Why shouldn't France be consistent with its most important liberal value: Freedom. Let people wear what they want.

    As far as present social integration is concerned, niqab wearers may find it difficult to engage with their fellow citizens while their identity "face" is not revealed. In order for the European societies to accept this in the long run, those women should not isolate themselves and are ought to reach out public places with positive contribution. With this the current perception can be changed.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  9. Olumide

    Islam is not a European religion, it is foreign and has little room for inclusion of non-arabic cultural elements such as fashion, language.
    Whereever Islam pitches its tents, it always tries to modify the environment to ensure its existence. The problem is that it choses to do this in a political or violent way.

    February 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  10. Barone

    Dear Christianne,

    Thank you for all yr brilliant &fascinating programs, documentaries & reports. Tonight l watched yr interview with the notables on the Burqa controversy, my only comment is:-Yes europe has a right to be scared of both bearded men&veiled women; my only concern is that this law will soon create a very disturbing reality. As u know most lizards love to sun-bath whenever the sun shines.

    Muslim laws forbid both men and women to expose their private parts of the body in public. As tou well know most of the muslim lands lie in the southern hemisphere were westerners love to vacation. Would it be equally correct to ban by law all westerners to wear short dresses &bikinis in public places??

    lm a specialist on comparative religions, from a historic perspective from mithraism, zoroastrianism, hinduism, judaism, christianity& islam, if u need regular contributions on these topics l will be more than obliged.

    May you always be illustrious on the screen and off it.
    With fragrances of the highest celestial splendors.

    Best regards,


    February 3, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  11. Danpullo

    Ban on the veil is not good idea.This will just make Islamic extremist(people killing in the name of Islam) a reason to say Europe is putting a fight with Islam.we should try to allow freedom of worship.Islam is religion of peace.Islam never say others have the right to kill Innocent people.I will not ask someone who want to wear the veil to remove because she knows why she want it.why do other people bother about what other people do. I support what the professor from Oxford University is saying during this program.He speaks like an intelligent and what we call educated person.
    I respect peoples right and i call on all the Muslims in world to portray and shows the world that Islam is religion of peace.

    February 3, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  12. Kazim

    I think muslims don't comply with the customs and traditions with western world countires because it is against their religion. In my opinion any human being irrespective of color, race, creed should and must have the right to wear and have his own style of living untill and unless it does not harm any one. Does wearing burqa is harming some one? These burqa wearing muslim women are ready to obey the european law and feel that they themselves are europeans. so what is wrong in it? why government banning on their dresses which they( muslim women) think it is religious. Why is the ISLAMOPHOBIA increasing in western world? whereas there is no christianophobia in middle east. Muslims are prepared to be tolerant towards christians in middle east. The best example is Bahrain country. If some middle east country imposes a law saying that christians should not wear cross then we can say it is against religion and no christian will accept it. similarly it is religious symbol or religious thing for these muslim women to wear burqa. so France should not impose a law saying that muslim women should not wear burqas. is there a ban on not wearing anything in France? I think we are dividing each other by boundaries and religion which is not good for the whole world.

    February 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Reply
  13. Yousef Daoud (Joe Martin) -- Author: The Rose and the Lotus: Sufism and Buddhism


    One of the world's greatest Islamic writers, scholars and mystics, Jelaluddin Rumi, wrote in a classic text during Islam's Golden Age in the 13th century–when science, Sufism and tolerance prevailed in much of the Muslim world:

    "God has some servants who tell a veiled woman, 'Lift your veil so that we may see your face and know who and what you are . So long as you pass by veiled, we cannot see you, and there is confusion in my mind as to who and what this person is. I am not such as to become infatuated by you if I see your face. For a long time God has made me pure and innocent of you. I am secure enough not to be tempted by the site of you. On he other hand, if I do not see you, I am confused as to what person this is" ... "Before 'people ofthe heart' it is better to unveil the face in order to escape temptation."
    Moulana Jelaluddin Rumi, FIHI MA FIHI, Chapter 42.

    February 4, 2010 at 6:00 am | Reply
  14. Syed hamxa Ali

    tell me on thing Why western world hatred burqas and what is the problem you have with it?
    there is no problem faced by westerns who r living and working in middle east such as Dubai abu dhabi although islam prohibit muslims not to wear cloth like mini skirts/shorts etc but muslims excluding U.S made talibans didnt ever impose such laws to western people and give them full freedom and security to ensure their rights.

    February 4, 2010 at 10:46 am | Reply
  15. Adeo Alday

    I am an American living in the center of Brussels, Belgium in the neigborhood that has a lot of Muslim and Arab immigrants and where one cant find Arab women in cafes which I find strange. I observe that Arabs with the way they behave, speak, and wear clothes make them already stand out, what more if the women who walk behind their men wear veil. They chose to migrate to Europe so they should blend and assimilate with the Europeans and abide to the laws that the adopted country (in this case France passing the ban for veil). When I travel to Arab countries such as Morroco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan..etc...I respect their environment by not wearing shorts and behaving appropriately. I was only visiting but if I choose to migrate to these countries, I expect and they should expect that I assimilate with the majority of the population as much as I can and avoid to stand out but embrace their values even if I have to wear their habits.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:48 am | Reply
  16. Adeo Alday

    No matter what anyone say about the issue of freedom and free expesion, the fact of the matter is that the veil is a symbol of repression, fear, injustice, fundamentalism at the minimum! Do we want that in the western world where we pretty much resolved these issues a long time ago!

    February 4, 2010 at 11:56 am | Reply
  17. Rock

    Anyone who chooes to associate themself with anyone who chooses to associate themself with killing my children I have a problem with

    February 4, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  18. Fahmida

    I am a born muslim woman and I am glad that France has banned nikab and hopefully the burqa.
    Letting women wear a burqua is a problem because the ones who do are always trying to influence other muslim women to wear burqa. This creates a problem with other women who do not want to wear burqa but do not have the courage to say no or say anything against it. Burqa wearing brings other kinds of problems to muslim women. The ones who live in the west, they are better off than the women in poor countries. Some of them go to our villages in Bangladesh and try to influence our poor women to wear the veil and practise their version of Islam. That includes marrying girls the moment they reach puberty, restricts girls to participate in sports and cultural programs- such as singing and dancing, and restricts women's mobility to go to markets and other public places. Some burqu clad Bangladeshi women getting empowered in the western countries use their money and power to restrict women's rights in poor countries. I am a development worker and I always visit the villages of Bangladesh and we really need Europe's help in suppressing this extreme manifestations of religion. It is the right time to take action before they spoil our work for women's empwowerment.

    February 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  19. African In Europe

    Ayaan Hirshi is absolutely right. Immigrant populations and their descendants living in Europe, need to adapt to the social and political values of Europe because they are based on the constitution on which these countries are founded. Islam, as a spiritual belief, is not in conflict with Europe unless inherently seeks to impose contrary values or unless it is covertly exploited to do so. Then these unacceptable values need to be rejected by Europe. For example, polygamy is acceptable to some Muslims, it is unacceptable to Europeans. Some, though few, Muslims believe that according to their religion women do not have the same right to education, do not have the freedom to go and come, to work and to drive a car etc. Clearly, this is not acceptable. “Religions” are judged by their values, and there are several examples of cults posing as religions that have been discredited because of abhorrent practices. European is known for its religious tolerance and Islam, as a religion, can and does co-exist peacefully within Europe. However, religion tolerance does not mean acceptance of all practices, in the name of religion, if they are political and socially against the values of the host country. Sadly, it is clear that some radicals, for political reasons, seek to exploit this concept of tolerance and openness, to argue for the freedom to import incompatible practices to Europe. Freedom does not mean anarchy, lack of respect, inequality. Respecting Islam does not mean Europe has to accept social values that are contrary to its own, which go against rights that it citizens fought for over various wars, revolutions and women’s right campaigns. The Burqa is, at a minimum, a symbol of inequality of women rights, irrespective of whether it is worn voluntarily or not. There are many instances where European rejects the certain symbols whether or not the wearer believes in the significance of the symbol or not. The Burqa wearer in Europe alienates herself from the community she isliving in but at the same time, benefits from the freedom and quality of life in countries where the economic contribution of women has helped to improve the standard of living. Surely, she would hesitate to live in a country where all women wear Burqas in public and have to suffer the associated inequalities and loss of freedom that would bring? Foreigners, let alone “Europeans” cannot live in Europe enjoying the freedoms that the country brings and yet reject its values, Europe’s ability to grant its residents freedom is intrinsically linked to its values. This debate is wrongly seen as a conflict of religion. It is, instead, a conflict of values. It is time for the members of the Muslim population, overwhelmingly well integrated, respected and valued members of the European communities to take to task the very small minority importing radical ideas from outside Europe who are seeking to ruin the reputation of Islam. Islam can only peacefully coexist in Europe if its European believers adhere to the values of Europe.

    February 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Reply
  20. Lucia Fernandez

    I think they should ban veils, burkas and all types of muslim covers in France and all over Europe. I would only consider veils to be acceptable if both men and women covered their faces. Even in that case, I think they could perfectly go to many countries where those rules are mandatory.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Reply
  21. Kazim

    I personally think:
    France should ban Alcolohol, Cigarrettes, Drugs, Prostitution etc. Europeans should find out the exact and justifiable reason for putting a ban on anything. There is a need to know why muslim women wear burqa or niqab? what is the actual reason for it? what does the religion say? what are it values? Is it harming Europeans? if yes, in what way?
    do these women wearing burqa by force? Are they being discriminated? Do these women have Human rights?

    February 6, 2010 at 8:48 am | Reply

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