France banning hijabs





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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: France banning hijabs
By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 06:53 pm: Edit

This is an example of why there should be freedom of religion, not freedom from religion...Not just France, but some German states are now banning "conspicuous religious symbols and apparel" in government-funded institutions. Shows what direction we should be wary of heading towards...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5941388/

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 10:22 pm: Edit

I am not sure if I have figured this one out. One the one hand, religious freedom is important. This would suggest Muslims should be able to wear to class what they chose. On the other hand, if each group is wearing their respective religious symbols, how do they ever learn to mix and to become one people with shared national values. This is an extreme example, but if one gang was devoted to the color green and another gang was devoted to the color red, the two gangs would rarely mix while wearing their respective colors. Like I said, I don't think I am smart enough to figure out the right answer.

By Taffy (Taffy) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 11:49 pm: Edit

using the french as an example to prop your religious agenda is about as dumb as banning headscarves in schools...

By Xdad (Xdad) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:02 am: Edit

It is hard to fault the French on this one.

By Eyesclozedtight (Eyesclozedtight) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:10 am: Edit

what angers me is that the french have singled out the muslims. what defines something as religiously conspicuous? and how big does a cross have to be for it to be unacceptable. if you ask me, if they disallow hijabs and skull caps, no crosses whatsoever should be aloud either. but quite frankly, it is all pretty ridiculous and very demeaning.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:13 am: Edit

Note: It is not simply hijabs, but Jewish skull caps and Christian crosses.

EDIT: Did not realize the poster above me addressed that.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:16 am: Edit

What angers me is that the US could never get away with doing something like that, without it being chalked up to us having a general hostility against the Islamic religion. France just gets on my nerves.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:18 am: Edit

"using the french as an example to prop your religious agenda..."

What religious agenda are you talking about Taffy? I'm very interested in hearing this.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:38 am: Edit

"What angers me is that the US could never get away with doing something like that, without it being chalked up to us having a general hostility against the Islamic religion. "

That's because some of the guiding principles in the US are very different than France's principles.
The US values religious freedom. France greatly values separation of church and state.

"Separation of church and state" means that the French president doesn't take the oath of office holding a Bible. French children don't recite in school a pledge that says, for instance, "One nation under God."

In France, to get married legally, one has to have a civil ceremony. Religious ceremony's don't count.

The French think the US is odd for having such a strong connection between christianity and government.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:42 am: Edit

But what is to be valued more? Not having to hear the Pledge of Allegiance with the term "under God" in it? Or being allowed to don apparel that is significantly valued to your faith?

I guess I'm asking, which is a "true" freedom?

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:47 am: Edit

Candi,
I don't think there's a definitive answer to your question. The answers would be very subjective.

By Taffy (Taffy) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:48 am: Edit

Candi said on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 06:53 pm
"there should be freedom of religion"

that agenda.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:52 am: Edit

LOL...That is the agenda outlined by our Constitution. Too bad that you can't take it up with the original drafters...:)

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:57 am: Edit

"The answers would be very subjective."

You're very right, of course.

*Defers to NSMom's infinite wisdom*

By Taffy (Taffy) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:23 am: Edit

Candi wrote:
"That is the agenda"

yes thats the AGENDA.

i dont care if kids wear crosses, i dont care if kids wear headscarves. if kids dont want to stand for the pledge, thats their choice, and if kids want religion integrated into their education, they can go to private school.

it seems france isnt trying to avoid children being brainwashed by their teachers as much as france is trying to wipe out religion in general.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:27 am: Edit

"yes thats the AGENDA.

i dont care if kids wear crosses, i dont care if kids wear headscarves. if kids dont want to stand for the pledge, thats their choice, and if kids want religion integrated into their education, they can go to private school.

it seems france isnt trying to avoid children being brainwashed by their teachers as much as france is trying to wipe out religion in general."

Can anyone say, "non-sequitur"?

*Scratches head*

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:52 am: Edit

What's more, stripping a people of their religious identity sounds quite familiar, does it not? Does communism ring any bells?

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 02:02 am: Edit

Hmm. Candi, after seeing your line of thinking, I can see why the student interviewer at Brown asked about your political beliefs.

I find myself curious, too.
Are you a conservative Republican?

Incidentally, the French don't view communism as negatively as we do, here. In fact, their May Day celebrations attract thousands of people.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 08:10 am: Edit

Well, I am a moderate conservative. I'd be hard pressed to box myself into a party, however. I'm pretty heavy into conservative philosophy more than anything.

I don't understand, however, how a student interviewer (which was actually at JHU) would ascertain that. I am usually pretty good at hiding it---I mean, I live in NYC. In high school, I was labeled a fascist, for not conforming. So I'm pretty careful.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 08:15 am: Edit

Northstarmom:

The French separation of church and state is a bit of a sham. Wednesdays are short days in schools so that school children can go to religious classes (read Catholic classes) in the afternoon; this is why they have to be in school on Saturday mornings. My nieces and nephews would love to have a real American-style weekend. Until the late 1970s, children had to be given names that appeared on the calendar, in other words, names of Catholic saints. The Bretons were mightily ticked off by this policy There are religious holidays, all Catholic; we don't hear of Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu holidays.

By Sticksandstones (Sticksandstones) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 09:03 am: Edit

I dont care how much french laws allude to Catholic Saints, banning headscarves is wrong.Period. The US has criticized Saudi Arabia of religious intolerance and yet almost no country has condemned France's actions (except maybe the rebel forces in Iraq). I know that the religious intolerance in Saudi Arabia is more strict, but the principle is the same.

By Takiusproteus (Takiusproteus) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 09:14 am: Edit

Here in the USA all we have are Christian and Jewish holidays...

Well, in NY, at least. Never seen students get a day off for a Muslim or Chinese New Year or any other holiday.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 09:25 am: Edit

Let me start by saying that I am an Arab. The French as a society are extremely tolerant and open minded. More so than any society I have lived in. Interacial marriages have been accepted in France since the 1930s. In 1918, France bestowed medals of honor and valor to African American soldiers when the US refused to do so. I am openly Arab and despite having travelled, worked and lived in France for prolonged periods of time, I have never encountered any form of racism or discrimination.

The French ban on conspicuous religious symbols and apparels" is not wrong conceptually. However, the government should have known it would be controversial and unpopular.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 09:54 am: Edit

Alexandre:

In 1979 and 1980, I was in Aix-en-Provence to do some work. There was a very controversial issue of a journal (Le Point? L'Express? I can't remember). The title was: "Ahmed, es-tu francais?" The implication was that a muslim identity was incompatible with a French one. It was the time when racism was at its height, giving rise to the "SOS-Touche pas a mon pote" movement that organized huge demonstrations, much to the credit of the organizers and participants. But I was also told that every weekend, there were fights in night-clubs in the Marseille area between North Africans and whites. Of course, this is prime territory for Le Pen's National Front. There is anti-immigrant feeling in many countries; in France, it has been coupled with anti-Muslim feelings for many many years.
Other countries, including the US, have dealt with the issue of religious plurality differently from France, and more successfully.
Today is Rosh Hashannah. My S's school has the day off.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 10:30 am: Edit

Marite, I am talking about French society, not Le Pen's backyard. I am sure you can round up so good old boys in West Virginia and Kentucky that would give Muslims and North Africans a very warm welcome. That is not the point. I am not offering an opinion on French society. It is a fact that France is extremely diverse and tolerant. Its anti-immigrant stance is limited to a very small group of unemployed and hurting employees. You have the same problems everywhere. 10 years ago, 3 Chinese immigrants were brutally murdered in Detroit because they were thought to be Japanese and auto workers were hurting because of Japanese competiton.

I have lived in France, Germany, England and the US, as well as in the UAE and Lebanon. France was the most open and tolerant society I have lived in. The US was a close second. The remaining countries I have lived in have a ways to go.

A point we can both agree upon is that France does not believe in mixing religion with state affairs and as such, French public schools will not tolerate any sort of religious separation or divisiveness. Is your son's school a public school? I would question any public school for giving school children any sort of holydays other than national holydays.

But France's rigid code where religious demonstrations in government run institutions are concerned does not mean that France is dealing with religion unsuccessfully. I for one do not believe religion belongs in the classroom. My own country (Lebanon) has been destroyed because of religious conflict. When you bring religion out in the open, confrontation and conflict is almost always going to follow. Besides, faith is, and should remain, a issue between the individual and her/his deity.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 10:40 am: Edit

"The French ban on conspicuous religious symbols and apparels" is not wrong conceptually."

How is it not wrong conceptually???

How is a nation going to promote a secular agenda? To me, that is just as bad as promoting a single religion...It's basically the government endorsing one belief system over another.

When you say that religion should not be brought out into the open, that scares me quite a bit. The natural progression being that it should be kept hidden. This invites visions of Christian Chinese huddled in the basements of homes afraid to practice religion out in the open.

I am not Muslim, but my best friend is...And I'd be very, very angry if someone tried to strip her of her right to follow her religion in a way that doesn't infringe upon the rights of others.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 10:56 am: Edit

1. My S goes to a public school (in the US).
2. French holidays are mostly religious (Assumption, Christmas and others). The main exception is 14 July.
3. The treaty of 1904 that drastically reduced the role of the Catholic clergy in public education included the clause that students would be released early on Wednesdays so that they could attend religious classes. The fact that most do not does not invalidate the feeling of non-Catholics that French culture is saturated with Catholic influence.
4. Until recently, nobody questioned the right of students (and teachers) to wear very visible crosses.
5. The National Front is not small potatoes. Its following extends beyond the South. The "Touche pas a mon pote" demonstrations were held in Paris.
My family is in France, so what goes on there concerns me. In fact, most of my relatives are very secular and they periodically rant about the loss of Saturday mornings to school, because of the early release on Wednesdays. My Breton sister-in-law celebrated the end of the law that required children to be named after Catholic saints by giving her daughter a Breton name.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:01 am: Edit

Candi, I am an Arab, so I hear you. Like I said, France should have known better than to implement such a silly ban. Oh well, it has been done and the French have to live with it. Too bad, because this is really very atypical of France. I am always amazed at how well integrated most of French society is.

But one thing I must make clear, the ban does not stop girls from covering their hair. They can still cover their hair, only not in an conspicuous fashion. My cousin who goes to school in Dijon still covers her hair, but she does so with a far less obvious hijab. Hair colored rather than black and not nearly as tied around her face. Like all my relatives living in France, my cousin has never been discriminated against and has many French friends who adore her and think the world of her. She lives in Dijon, which is not nearly as open minded and liberal as cities like Paris or Lyon.

When the time is right, I am definitely moving to France. There is no place on Earth I would rather live.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:11 am: Edit

Marite, my connections to France are also significant. I have lived there, on and off, for over 5 years. I have over 50 relatives in France. My family is a typical Lebanese family. We have Catholics and Greek Orthodox Christians, Shiite and Sunni Muslims and Druze. I have never heard them complain about the French. I guess religion in my family is more of a personal matter.

And the Front National represents 15% of French society, most of which are unemployed manufacturing workers. They certainly have a following in Paris, but let me tell you, they number at less than 5% of the population in the captial. I was in Paris just last week and I was, as always, suprised at how diverse and well integrated the French are.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:12 am: Edit

"Like I said, France should have known better than to implement such a silly ban. Oh well, it has been done and the French have to live with it. Too bad, because this is really very atypical of France."

Alexandre, it's not the ban itself that is the most disturbing, but what it represents. And what it obviously represents is a hostility toward the establishment of religion. Head coverings for reasons of coquetry are still allowed, but for obvious religious reasons, no. This is apparently legislation against the establishment of religion, rather than against the practice of wearing head coverings in itself (still unacceptable, but not egregiously so). That's the frightening part...it represents a certain mentality in French government.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:32 am: Edit

Alexandre:

I agree with you that French society is well integrated. My own family, through marriage, is beginning to resemble the UN! But I have to disagree with you about the influence of Le Pen. In certain areas, the National Front pulls 50% of the vote. That many of his followers are unemployed is neither here nor there.
And though, like the rest of my family, I am secular, I have to agree with Candi. The freedom not to have a religion imposed on one also means the freedom to observe one's religion. The hijab may or may not be conspicuous. What about a Sikh turban?
France is better integrated than the US and also has greater difficulty being multicultural than the US (or Great Britain).
The French government could have decided to allow all religious symbols in school but chose to ban them, and only because the hijab made some French people uncomfortable (I don't recall people protesting over the wearing of crosses).

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:53 am: Edit

I agree Marite. It was a poor decision on the government's part. Your observation on how France is both better integrated than the US and at the same time has a greater deal of difficulty being multicultural is right on. The French are one big contradiction! LOL But I still respect them and admire their culture. Whenever foreigners come to my country, none embrace our culture as fully as they do. They are fascinated by what's different. At the same time they are a proud bunch.

As for Le Pen, his influence is really very limited. In the last election, Chirac got 82% of the votes to Le Pen's 18. That was nationally. I am sure there are some towns in France that favor Le Pen. But as an entire society, he has very little pull.

As for the Hijab, I am torn. I believe it is one's right to wear it but on the other hand, I respect a country's right to reject religion from public life. There are plenty of Muslim schools and private schools in France. We can criticize France for their policy, but they are on equally reasonable ground as we are. Nobody is wrong in the arguement. Condemning the French for their policy is not right. Believing that they should not have such a policy is perfectly fair since we are each entitled to our opinion, but we should not think them any less moral and right then we are simply because their ideology defers from ours.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:00 pm: Edit

Alexandre:

Public schools in France are so much more dominant than private schools (my niece attended a private lycee in Paris, but that was a very big deal, because my brother felt that her local lycee had too high a failure rate at the bac).

I would be a bit more sympathetic toward the ban if it were not for the early release on Wednesdays, the history of forbidding the use of names not on the calendar of saints, and the acceptance of the wearing of the cross until now.
I do not feel that a Jew wearing a yarmulke or a Sikh a turban is imposing his religion on me. I feel that the observance of Christmas and other religious holidays has far more impact on me and mine. If France is so eager to rid its culture of religion, it could stop observing Christmas and the Assumption (that would shorten the mois de vacance), and not organize school vacations around religious holidays (Christmas, Easter).

By Xdad (Xdad) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:49 pm: Edit

Interesting dialogue on a most complex issue!

I understand Marite's positions regarding the impact of Catholicism on the calendar. I would, however, point out that it is a very normal consequence of the catholic and protestant religion being the official religions of Europe for dozens of centuries. In the case of France, I believe that the country has shown tremendous acceptance of the 5,000,000 muslims who now live in France. I am not jewish but I believe that an anti-semitism movement against the 650,000 Jews residing in France has been more visible and nefarious. The integration of the muslim population has been more hampered by economic differences than by religious opposition. It is fact that the north-african immigrants and their offspring are at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid, and that this situation triggers all kind of problems, including civil disobedience.

This brings me to the point of the jihab ban. It should not be a big deal at all. The refusal to comply with the law is simply an example of civil disobedience, which will only be encouraged and applauded by misguided fanatics. Again, there should be a world of difference between wearing a cross and a turban or a scarf: one represents an official religion, the other is merely an imported religion that has been tolerated, and to to a certain degree accepted. A democratic country passes laws, and all citizens are expected to accept them. Religious freedom should not give anyone a carte blanche to reject laws selectively.

Incidentally, in the United States, because of some provisions of the 14th Amendment, public schools could not implement policies similar to the new law in France. There is presently a case in Muskogee, OK where a young muslim girl has refused to leave the scarf at home. The case has escalated and is now in the courts. On a personal note, I find this legal challenge to be questionable. Schools should have the right to impose dress codes, and expel students who defy the codes.

For what it is worth, schools are not the only places where religious fanaticism has caused havoc. A few years ago, the family of a muslim girl sued a school district because their daughter wanted to play high soccer fully dressed in a religious attire and wearing the famous scarf. Where would it end? Imagine what a circus volleyball or basketball games would be, if we would have to accomodate every known religious in the world?

There is a reason why we have uniforms: it brings people together and eliminate differences in the pursuit of a common goal. No individual is bigger than the community or the team.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:13 pm: Edit

>>This brings me to the point of the jihab ban. It should not be a big deal at all. The refusal to comply with the law is simply an exanmple of civil disobedience, which will only be applauded by some misguided fanatics. Again, there should be a world of difference between wearing a cross and a turban or a scarf: one represents an official religion, the other is merely an imported religion that has been tolerated, and to to a certain degree accepted. >>

I really disagree. This reminds me why I've always preferred Voltaire over Rousseau and why I think the best thing the US has given the world is the Bill of Rights:it protects the rights of minorities against the tyranny of the majority. I don't buy the argument that democracies pass laws and everyone is expected to fall into line. Think about illiberal democracies. The one good thing that the EU has done recently is to back Turkish women in their opposition to the divorce bill.
Roman Catholicism has no business being "the official religion" of a supposedly secular state. I really do not see a difference between wearing a cross or a hijab. A religious symbol is still a symbol, no matter how large it is or where one wears it. It could be argued that crosses can be hidden, but in fact, they often are not. And if a religious symbol has to be more visible, then so what? The UK has managed to accommodate Sikhs wearing turbans, even in the police force. So far, the country has not gone to pieces. And most UK holidays are "bank holidays" thus minimizing religious connotations.

I agree that anti-semitism persists in France and is even experiencing a rise. But I've witnessed plenty of anti-Muslim sentiment as well. Part of the problem is not just that Muslims are at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder; it is also that they represent the fastest growing segment of the population. There are only half a million Jews left in France ( partly as a result of the Holocaust) but there are 8 millions Muslims. This demographic shift calls into question the very notion of a French identity. I actually heard a French acquaintance (actually half-Spanish) explain the difference between Vietnamese of whom she approved and North African Muslims of whom she deeply disapproved: Vietnamese were "civilises" i.e., totally assimilated; Muslims were not. As the magazine I saw back in 1979 asked: "Ahmed, es-tu francais?" The question really was: "Can one be both French and Muslim." The implication was: "No." The French government is not making it easy to change that into a Yes.

By Stanfordman99 (Stanfordman99) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:24 pm: Edit

I have to say that I applaud France and their emphasis on the separation of church and state. Religion has absolutely no place in the seat of governement. In fact I find it more offensive that we Americans have to watch our presidents be sworn in on the Bible, use quarters, pennies, nickels, dollar bills, government bonds, and T-Bills that have the slogan "In God we trust" on them, are forced to recite the phrase "one nation under God" from kindergarten to the 8th grade, testify in court with our right hand on the Bible, watch Bush give taxpayer money to charitable religious groups, only get days off primarily on Judeo-Christian holidays, and believe it is our moral imperative to ban gay marriage just cause the Bible says it's wrong and that only a holy matrimony between a man and woman is allowed. True freedom of religion means that you don't force a Hindu person, who believes in multiple gods, to put his hand on the bible when he is testifying in court. You don't force an atheist to say "one nation under God" and somehow make him feel like he doesn't belong. You don't give taxpayer money, meant for the general welfare of the entire society, to Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim charities that will use the money to primarily benefit people within their own religion. After all, the religious charities will have a bias to serve people of their own religion first. However slight the bias is.....it's still there and it is still wrong. If our country truly believes in freedom of religion, we wouldn't impose our restictive Christian beliefs on two men or two women who love each other dearly and say that their marriage would be unholy and therefore should be banned, and yet at the same time let complete strangers get married on TV for money. This country's policies on religion are the ones that are wrong and unjust.....not the policies of France.

By Xdad (Xdad) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 02:09 pm: Edit

Marite, I should have known better and declared the official religion of France to be ... atheism.

I still think that the law that passed overwhelmingly in the French Parliament is a step in the right direction. I understand and agree with your position that a cross is no less offensive -to some- as a jihab.

That does not make the sparse acts of defiance of last week any less questionable or punishable.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 02:43 pm: Edit

I will now pose a question to those in favor of this measure:

Would you ban anyone praying in public...and make sure that they kept it in private establishments?

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 02:48 pm: Edit

>>That does not make the sparse acts of defiance of last week any less questionable or punishable.>>

I don't understand why. Is it because they are sparse? My niece reported (two years ago) that the wearing of hijabs in her lycee periodically caused incidents. Takes me back to my own lycee days when my teachers were more or less evenly divided between Dreyfusards and anti-Dreyfusards--some sixty years after Dreyfus.

I agree that the official religion of France is atheism but the culture continues to be saturated by Catholicism. And therein lie the roots of the current problem. Let me quote from the historian Claude Langlois: "In terms of monuments..., France is either Catholic or secular. There is no middle term." (in Pierre Nora, Realms of Memory, vol. 1, p. 116). There is also the pesky issue of the calendar that causes problems to a lot of Muslims (and I suspect to a lot of Jews as well).

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 04:18 pm: Edit

Marite, France's adherence to Catholic calendars is cultural, not religious. The ability for a Catholic (or Christian) to practice his or her religion in a state run organization in France has been illegal for 100 years. Christmas in France and Germany has become little more than a child's holyday and an excuse to shop and buy trees!

My family has been personally impacted by this event and still, I believe that France's move is perfectly reasonable and acceptable. It may not be popular, but it entitled. France remains a very civilized society and I do not expect them to explain their actions.

And I don't know which school your niece goes to. I have several cousins in France who wear the Hijab everywhere as they have for 3 decades. None of them ever experienced any problems.

Candi, I believe that praying in public is one thing. Praying in an establishment that is state funded (like public schools and libraries) is another. I would not oppose the former but I do not think the latter is appropriate. Religion is intended to be personal, not public. As such, I expect a person to conduct her/his religious practice in private settings.

By Stanfordman99 (Stanfordman99) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 04:58 pm: Edit

"I will now pose a question to those in favor of this measure:

Would you ban anyone praying in public...and make sure that they kept it in private establishments?"

If there is a final exam during school and somebody wants to pray and murmur during the test which distracts other students, I would say that most definitely is inappropriate. You need to set some boundries in society or else we would have complete chaos. There are times for praying and there are times for doing work. If they want to pray on their own free time that's their right. But if they want to pray at a time that interferes with other people or that hinders their job/school performance, I would say that it is inappropriate. I believe in both freedom of religion and freedom from religion, and sometimes boundries must be defined.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 04:59 pm: Edit

"As such, I expect a person to conduct her/his religious practice in private settings."

Why??? How is it infringing upon your rights (as long as it is not sanctioned by a governmental agency) or interfering with you or their work/performance? Who says that religion should be practiced behind closed doors? Again, images of Chinese Christians huddled in basements are being evoked (not to pick on the Chinese, because quite a few nations are hostile to certain religious practices)...

By Xdad (Xdad) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 05:00 pm: Edit

"I don't understand why. Is it because they are sparse?"

Not because they are sparse, but simply because the acts of defiance are illegal, decried by the muslim leaders, and not supported by an overwhelming percentage of the population. Not wearing the symbolic piece of clothing does not change the person nor his or her religion. A number of the "rebels" admitted that they did not wear the jihab before it became a source of protest. The attraction of this "protest" is nothing but a wannabe-a-martyr attention grabbing stunt. The only drama in this situation involves the kidnapped journalists. It must feel so good to see your cause become a magnet for criminals and terrorists!

The new law is not discriminatory and has nothing to do with freedom of religion, but only with its public and excessive display. In a way, I wonder how you would feel about students wearing white hoods or black shirts and berets adorned with swastikas?

After all, don't they say that "l'habit ne fait pas le moine"!

PS It does seem that, In Belgium, our relation with the catholic church and its calendar is a lot more congenial. While Belgians mostly ignore the church in their daily live, they welcome all the holidays. Children, in particular, love December. Not only do we have the apparently maligned Papa Noel, but we also have Saint Nicholas on the 6th of December. Children do not get as many toys as the Hispanics on the Three Kings, but still get some! Everything considered, I much rather "put up" with respected traditions and the catholic flavor than with the crass and soulless commercialization of the holidays in the United States.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 05:31 pm: Edit

Alexandre:
I actually have several nieces. One went to a lycees in Paris before moving out to St-Gratien(where I don't suppose one sees many Muslims), and one in Alfortville before she went to the private lycee St Sevigne in Paris (again, little likelihood of seeing Muslims there).

I understand very well that the calendar and various other practices are more a cultural artifact than a religious one. But try telling that to someone who is not Catholic. The thing is that practices can be altered. For example, why schedule school vacations at Easter? Why have a holiday on All Hallows Day or on Assumption Day?

I agree with your response to Candi. I also think that it is wrong for people in positions of authority to impose their beliefs and practices on others. It is okay in a religious school to start the day with prayers. It is not okay for a public school in which the separation of church and state should prevail to do so. But I also think that wearing a cross, a yarmulke or a hijab is not the same thing as conducting prayers aloud and more, expecting every one to join in; likewise, absenting oneself from classes for religious reasons,is okay. This is the first year that ours has closed for Rosh Hashannah, a pragmatic measure brought about by the realization that many students would absent themselves on the one hand and by the school's newfound zeal for cracking down on absenteism on the other.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 05:32 pm: Edit

"If there is a final exam during school and somebody wants to pray and murmur during the test which distracts other students, I would say that most definitely is inappropriate."

It's quite obvious to both you and me that there are a million other alternate situations in which someone quietly praying in a public establishment (including a government-funded one) would not bother a fly. You're beginning to infringe on someone's individual freedoms, which should always be protected as long as they are not directly infringing on others'. Let's not get beside ourselves. On that note, I think it's inappropriate to tap pencils or feet during final exams.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 05:34 pm: Edit

"I also think that it is wrong for people in positions of authority to impose their beliefs and practices on others. It is okay in a religious school to start the day with prayers. It is not okay for a public school in which the separation of church and state should prevail to do so."

100% agreed.

By 1212 (1212) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 08:09 pm: Edit

aiiig, im muslim, and while i cannot read arabic, heres what the Quran has to say (or another translation by a scholar)

"THE WORD "HIJAB" in the QURAN

"Hijab" is the term used by many Muslims women to describe their head cover that may or may not include covering their face except their eyes, and sometimes covering also one eye. The Arabic word "Hijab" can be translated into veil or yashmak. Other meanings for the word "Hijab" include, screen, cover(ing), mantle, curtain, drapes, partition, division, divider.

Can we find the word "Hijab" in the Quran??

The word "Hijab" appeared in the Quran 7 times, five of them as "Hijab" and two times as "Hijaban," these are 7:46, 33:53, 38:32, 41:5, 42:51, 17:45 & 19:17.

None of these "Hijab" words are used in the Quran in reference to what the traditional Muslims call today (Hijab) as a dress code for the Muslim woman.

God knows that generations after Muhammed's death the Muslims will use the word "Hijab" to invent a dress code that He never authorized. God used the word "Hijab" ahead of them just as He used the word "Hadith" ahead of them.

Hijab in the Quran has nothing to do with the Muslim Women dress code. "

Thereby, the traditional scarf worn by muslim women are not entirely of religious connotations. It is actually a cultural thing that goes way back, so is France now seperating culture, not religion, from its society? Note that the Jewish cap and the Cross is religious, so is the arab, or the sub arab culture being soley targeted by French? I dont know, dont care, but somefin somfin to fink abouf.

I have lived as a minority in a few different countries, and i would have to say Japanese people were the most polite towards me. That does not mean that the society is fully integreted and affords minorities the same opportunities. The United States BY FAR presents the GREATEST opportunies and possibilities for minorities/immigrants. I have realized that i can go farther as a minority in the US than as a part of the mainstream population in any other nation. So I dont really buy frenchies being the nicest, to understand which country is more friendly towards minorities, here is an approximate equation : take the average salary of the majority race (caucasians or whatever) of the country multiple that by some fraction/percentage (assuming that its a "democratic" and capitalist nation, the percentage should be close and relative amongst counties) and compare. You will see that the US result will be higher than the french result. Its Capitalism, get that money because green is the only color (or colour depending on where you are) that matters right now.

Im rambling so feel free disregard/ignore errthin i said

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 08:13 pm: Edit

No, your rambling was actually very informative, at least for me.

By Iplayoboe (Iplayoboe) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 08:57 pm: Edit

and for me as well 1212, thanks for ur post

By Iplayoboe (Iplayoboe) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 09:04 pm: Edit

and candi, i just read ur above post about saying prayers (quietly) during a final (or anyother stressful situation i suppose) and I agree with you. The separation of church implies that public school should not force religious activity upon students but individual freedoms allow that students should be able to use their faith in school privately.

By Sixsixty (Sixsixty) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 05:36 am: Edit

Yup I agree with Iplayoboe.. there are two very distinct issues at hand here.

Firstly, separation of the church and the state. In line with your question, I feel that this separation would concern something like mass prayers before the examination in the hall. Mass prayer like this would institutionalise religion within a public institution, and should not be done.

Pertaining to your question, I feel that people should be allowed, on the individual level, to say their prayers, as this is more about the relationship between the church and the individual, instead of the state.

By Devious (Devious) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 04:35 pm: Edit

You can't really compare the Islamic hijab to the Jewish skull caps and Christian crosses. The cap and cross are things people use to SHOW their religious affiliation, whereas wearing the hijab is a mandatory duty for Muslims women.

Imagine if France forbade Christians from praying in churches, or Jews in synagogues.

I'm sorry if this has already been posted.

By Aim78 (Aim78) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 12:37 am: Edit

After looking up "hijab," I agree that it's ridiculous to ban an article of clothing just because it is religious. They can encourage women to lose the mask, but making it illegal is foolish.

By Drlowgee (Drlowgee) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 02:38 am: Edit

Devious, what an appropriate name! Informed readers know that the mandatory provisions of wearing the hijab are not universal. The other side of the coin is that there is a strong opposition in the countries that invented the custom (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran). So where does the oppression really take place?


Quote:

The Freedom to Go Topless
by Amir Taheri
Wall Street Journal
December 6, 2002
"The girls are ecstatic and the teachers feel liberated," says Zohreh Samloo, headmistress in a south Tehran school. "It is as if the sun is shining again." Ms. Shamloo's school is one of 12 in the Iranian capital where girls, aged between six and 17, and the all-female staff, have been allowed to remove the officially imposed headgear (hijab) while inside the building.

The permission to cast off the hijab inside the schools is part of an experiment launched by the education ministry in September. To make sure that the girls and their teachers are not exposed to "stolen gazes" from men, six-foot high plastic extensions have been added to the walls of the buildings of the schools concerned.

Inside, the girls are also allowed to cast off the long black overcoats that all females aged six or above must wear in the Islamic Republic. "With the new walls the school looks like a prison," comments Ms. Shamloo. "But inside it we feel free!"

The experiment, to be reviewed in three months, was approved after a nationwide study showed that the imposition of hijab on young girls caused "serious depression and, in some cases, suicide." But it has drawn the wrath of Khomeinists.

The newspaper Jumhuri Islami (Islamic Republic), owned by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi, has lashed out against "this slippery slope towards scandal." "Casting off the hijab encourages the culture of nudity and weakens the sacred values of Islam," the paper warned on Nov. 20. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has gone even further.

"A strand of woman's hair emerging from under the hijab is a dagger drawn towards the heart of Islam," he told a recent Friday prayer gathering in Tehran.

Perhaps it is worth recalling at this point that radical Islam's obsession with women's hair is a new phenomenon. Mussa Sadr, an Iranian mullah who won the leadership of the Shiite community in Lebanon, invented this form of hijab in the early 1970s. The first neo-hijabs appeared in Iran in 1977 as a symbol of Islamist opposition to the Shah.

By 1979 when the mullahs seized power the number of women wearing it had multiplied by the thousands, recalling sequences from Hitchcock's thriller "The Birds."

In 1981, Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr, the first president of the Islamic Republic, announced that scientific research had shown that women's hair emitted rays that drove men insane. To protect the public, the new regime passed special legislation in 1982 making the new form of hijab mandatory for all females aged above six, regardless of religious faith. Violating the hijab code is punishable by 100 lashes of the cane and six months imprisonment.

So by the mid-1980s a form of hijab never seen in Islam before the 1970s had become standard headgear for millions of Muslim women all over the world, including Europe and North America. Many younger Muslims women, especially Western converts, were duped into believing that the neo-hijab was an essential part of the Islamic faith.

Muslim women, like women in all societies, had covered their head with a variety of gears over the centuries. These had such names as rusari, ruband, chaqchur, maqne'a, and picheh among others. All had tribal, ethnic and generally folkloric origins and were never specifically associated with religion. In Senegal, Muslim women wore a colorful headgear but went topless.

Muslim women anywhere in the world could easily check the fraudulent nature of the neo-Islamist hijab by leafing through their own family albums. They will not find the picture of a single female ancestor of theirs who wore the cursed headgear now imposed upon them as an absolute "must" of Islam.

This fake Islamic hijab is thus nothing but a political prop, a weapon of visual terrorism. It is the symbol of a totalitarian ideology inspired more by Nazism and Communism than by Islam.

The garb, moreover, is designed to promote gender Apartheid. It covers the woman's ears so that she does not hear things properly. Styled like a hood, it prevents the woman from having full vision of her surroundings.

But the harm that Islamism is doing to Muslim women is not limited to the evil headgear. In every Muslim country the number of women out of work is at least twice that of men. Women wages are less than a quarter of what men get. The Pakistani fundamentalist coalition that won almost a quarter of the seats in last month's parliamentary elections campaigned for "kicking women out of offices and giving the jobs they have stolen to men."

Barbarous traditions such as the so-called "honor-killing" are widespread. In the year 2000 alone, over 6,000 women were murdered in Pakistan by their fathers or brothers for having "dishonored" the family. In Jordan over 700 women fell victims to "honor killing" in the same year. In Egypt and the Sudan an estimated 150,000 girls, aged four or above, suffer genital mutilation in the name of Islam each year.

Almost everywhere in the Muslim world, rape, including the most horrible cases of incest, end up with the punishment of the victim. In most Muslim countries women cannot travel without the written permission of a male guardian. And in Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive cars.

Against such a background two recent highly publicized seminars on women in the Muslim world appear rather tame, if not actually insulting, exercises.

The first, funded by the World Bank and held in Amman, Jordan, gave a standing ovation to a Tunisian lady who, having managed to get a divorce from a cousin, persuaded an Englishman to covert the Islam so that they could marry. Not a bad story, except that the message was that if Muslim women could divorce husbands they did not love, they might attract new converts to the faith!

The second event, also held in Amman, attracted a number of Arab first ladies. It ended with a spineless appeal for "educational opportunities for girls."

The fact is that Muslim girls have already kept their end of the bargain as far as education is concerned. They have all the degrees they need but are still not allowed to leave home without a chaperon or wear the kind of clothes they like. They cannot get the jobs they merit or choose whom to marry.

The two Amman events were a far cry from the first congress of Muslim women held in Kazan, then part of the Russian Empire, in 1875, in which over 800 women delegates unanimously voted for "full equality of sexes, and the abolition of all discrimination." Sadly, the Western powers have done little to help Muslim women in their struggle for freedom and equality.

Leading Western ladies, including former Irish president Mary Robinson and the ubiquitous Danielle Mitterrand, wife of the late French President Francois Mitterrand, have frequently visited Tehran and other Islamic capitals wearing the evil neo-hijab. The list of topics that the European Union wants to raise in its "critical dialogue" with Iran has 22 items. Yet not one is concerned with the gender Apartheid imposed by the Islamists. Some French, German and British leftists have even praised the fascist neo-hijab in the name of "cultural diversity."

Many courageous women are fighting against the age of darkness that Islamism is trying to impose on the whole world. Democrats everywhere have a duty to support that fight so that the sun will shine for Ms. Shamloo's girls all the time and everywhere, not just for three months inside a school-cum-prison.


By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 04:10 am: Edit

Devious, the Hijab is not mandatory. If it were, France would never have banned it. The Hijab is a recommended item of clothing for a woman not to attract attention. If she chooses not to wear it, she can still fully practice her religion without peril. In fact, in a country outside the Arab world, wearing the Hijab attracts more attention than not wearing it and as such, it may defeat the purpose of wearing it altogether.

By Devious (Devious) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:23 am: Edit

Um, no. The hijab is mandatory: not a symbol, but a requirement. I can provide a lot of evidence to support this. Here's some evidence from the Quran, the Sunnah and the lives of the Sahaba (the Prophet's (PBUH) companions):

[33:59] O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

[24:31] And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms [...]

Abu Dawood narrates that `Aishah said: "Asmaa' the daughter of Abu Bakr came to see the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) wearing a thin dress; so Allah's Messenger (PBUH) turned away from her and said: O Asmaa', once a woman reaches the age of menstruation, no part of her body should be seen but this-and he pointed to his face and hands."

Abu Dawood related that `Aishah said: "After this Aayah was revealed the women of the Ansar appeared like crows." (because of the color and shape of the cloaks they wore).

Al-Qurtubi reports a narration from `Aishah that some women from Banu Tamim came to see her wearing transparent clothing. `Aishah said to them: "If you are are believing women, these are not the clothes of believing women." He also reports that a bride came to see her wearing a sheer, transparent khimaar, whereupon `Aishah said: "A woman who wears such clothing does not believe in Soorat An-Nur."

Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said: There will be in the last of my Ummah (nation of believers), scantily dressed women, the hair on the top of their heads like a camel's hump (as in); they will not enter Paradise nor smell its fragrance, although it can be smelled from afar.

When the rebels surrounded Caliph Uthman's home seeking to kill him, his wife, fearing for the life of her husband, said: "I'll take off my hijab for them to see my hair." (Muslims back then walked away when a woman had her hair revealed.) However, Uthman jumped up and said: "I would rather die than let them see one braid of your hair." The rebels then broke in, and killed him.

There are a lot of misinformed Muslims, or worse yet, Muslims who tend to make up excuses to facilitate religion. If some Muslims were to permit committing certain sins, that would not mean they are allowed in Islam.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 07:36 am: Edit

Devious, I live in a Muslim country. I have read to Quran in Arabic, since I am myself an Arab. I have spoken to scholars of Islam on the subject. And members of my family practice the religion. The Hijab is not required. The two passages from the Quran do not explecitly discuss the Hijab and the need to cover one's hair. Some interpreters of the Quran suggest that it is required, but the majority of scholars in the 20th century believe it is not. The Sunnah and other interpretations are not the Word of Gob but merely opinions of past scholars, whose views of the World were appropriate at the time of the Prophet, pease be upon him. But that was over 1000 years ago. And by the way, Turkey has banned the Hijab in public schools a decade before France did. Turkey is one of the 3 pillars of Islam. They know their stuff inside and out. I repeat, the Hijab is not mendatory.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 08:11 am: Edit

It certainly is not mandatory or even that widespread in the largest Islamic country, Indonesia.

By Devious (Devious) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 09:23 am: Edit

It is mandatory. I can't see how you can belittle the Sunnah like that. True Muslims (i.e. the Sunni sect) obtain their guidelines and requirements from three sources:
1. The Quran
2. The Sunnah
3. al-Ijtihad (or Fatwa)

(In that order.)

If something is present in either the Sunnah or the Quran, it is not allowed to make a fatwa about it.

Moreover, one should not listen to everything scholars say. Certain scholars permitted alcohol and night clubs. There is a hadith regarding Fatwa that states you should seek Fatwa, then decide to abide by it or not. Fatwa is not even taken into consideration unless there is an Ijma', where several respected Islamic scholars, INCLUDING those in Mecca and Medena, issue it.

If non-Sunni sects deny the requirement of the hijab, I would take it with a grain of salt since they are essentially not Muslims. I'm not being bigoted or anything, but religious seperation like this is not allowed in Islam. Most sects even make up Ahkam (rules) of their own, of which many are kufr and shirk (forbidden, in other words).

Alexandre, you said that the majority of scholars believe it is not mandatory. I would like to see reliable sources to support your claim. To my knowledge, the VAST majority claim it is indeed mandatory.

Regarding Turkey, I'm afraid it isn't one of the "3 pillars of Islam". It was once a great Islamic Empire, but it collapsed. During the Ottoman rule, the Turks attemped to destroy the Arabic language (the language of the Quran) after they occupied several Arabic countries. That doesn't sound too Islamic.

If I may ask you a question, Marite. Since premarital and extramarital sex are largely evident in the largest Christian country in the world, the USA (the majority of the population is Christian), does that make adultery acceptable in Christianity? Size doesn't really matter in issues like these. Besides, the hijab is widespread in Indonesia.

I'll say it again: the hijab is mandatory.

By Devious (Devious) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 09:52 am: Edit

Something I forgot to address in my previous post:

"The two passages from the Quran do not explecitly discuss the Hijab and the need to cover one's hair."

The verse stated that they should draw their veils over their bosoms. Their veils.

Veil (n.): A length of cloth worn by women over the head, shoulders, and often the face.

The Arabic verse is:
"Wa li yadribna bi khomorihinna ala joyoobihinna"

Khomorihinna is a feminine plural form of khimar, i.e. head covering.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 09:56 am: Edit

>>If I may ask you a question, Marite. Since premarital and extramarital sex are largely evident in the largest Christian country in the world, the USA (the majority of the population is Christian), does that make adultery acceptable in Christianity? Size doesn't really matter in issues like these. Besides, the hijab is widespread in Indonesia.>>

Total non-sequitur and not worth responding to.
The hijab is worn by many women in Indonesia, but they are not the dominant group of Muslims and it is a recent phenomenon, owing to the spread of fundamentialist Islam.

>>If non-Sunni sects deny the requirement of the hijab, I would take it with a grain of salt since they are essentially not Muslims.>>

Well, how about that? The Muslim world has suddenly shrunk to a fraction of its size.

By Devious (Devious) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 10:41 am: Edit

"Total non-sequitur and not worth responding to."

How exactly is it non-sequitur? You're the one who concluded that the hijab isn't mandatory because the "largest Islamic country" portray that it isn't. I was simply using your own logic.

"Well, how about that? The Muslim world has suddenly shrunk to a fraction of its size."

Unfortunately, it's always been this size.

Just as an additional note: if you're skeptic that Islam should not be divided into sects, you can read [6:159] and [30:31-32] of the Holy Quran. You can see in the latter verses people who split up Islam and form sects were compared to polytheists.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 10:50 am: Edit

There is a difference between doing something that one knows is wrong--committing a sin-- and having a sincere difference of interpretation. If you cannot understand the distinction, it's not worth arguing.

Being neither Muslim nor Christian, I contributed to this thread by defending the right of Muslims to wear a hijab. But in my book, it also means the right NOT to wear a hijab. If the wearing of the hijab is essential to Muslim identity, then a lot of women who consider themselves good Muslims have suddenly been excommunicated. I wonder how they feel about it? Are you, by the way, an ayatollah?

By Devious (Devious) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 10:53 am: Edit

No, I'm not an ayatollah. Ayatollah's are Shi'ites; I'm Sunni.

However, I've been voluntarily studying Islam & Shari'a for quite some time now. :)

By Devious (Devious) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:01 am: Edit

And, yeah, my premarital sex analogy was weak. I should've used something more controversial.

Oh well...

By Xdad (Xdad) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit

I found an article written by Adonis to provide an interesting viewpoint:

Pulling a veil
over reason itself
.


Quote:



French proposals to re-examine the secular heart of their constitution have again raised the issue of the wearing of the veil in public institutions such as schools and universities. The poet Adonis comments.
Despite what the fundamentalists would have us believe, nowhere in the Quran or hadith is there a single, unequivocal passage that imposes the veil on Muslim women. Their view is based on a different reading of the text. Is it acceptable then, on a religious level, that a mere 'interpretation' can have the force of dogma and law?

The veil remains a bone of contention. By what right or authority can a select few impose their interpretation on everyone else? Would these few go so far as to use violence against women; against all those whose opinions differ from their own; against the world? The issue of the veil has a long history in Muslim societies and remains a live one in that largely traditional world.

But when fundamentalist Muslims import this and other internal issues into Western societies, all they succeed in doing is to create problems for their own communities and to do irreparable damage to Islam's vision of man and the world. Émigré Muslims, particularly those who have become citizens of the country in which they live, should acknowledge and establish a sharp distinction between their lives in public and in private.

Those Muslims who insist on the veil must realise that their very insistence demonstrates that they do not respect the feelings of people with whom they share a homeland; that they do not respect their values and are questioning the fundamental tenets of that society; that they are making a mockery of the laws and liberties for which these people have fought over time; and that they are denying the principles of republican democracy in the countries that have welcomed them with work and freedom. ../...

In conclusion, let me say that the religious interpretations that compel Muslim women to wear the veil in secular countries where church and state have long been separated and where equality of the sexes is firmly established, reveals a mentality that is not content merely with veiling woman, but seeks to shroud man, society, life in general - to pull the veil over the eyes of reason itself.

Adonis -pseudonym of 'Ali Ahmad Sa'id- is the leading poet in the Arab world. This item appears in isue 4/03 of Index on Censorship. It was first published in al-Hayat, London. Translated by Will Bland.


By Devious (Devious) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:54 pm: Edit

You're not seeing it from the perspective of women who are content with wearing the hijab, and WANT to wear it because they think it is required of them. You're being unjust to them.

What harm does the hijab do for it to merit such animosity and rejection? Why can't you just understand that these women want to stick to their traditions and comply with their religion? Must they wear tight or revealing clothes, pierce several body parts, dye their hair and wear it according to the latest trends, put on make-up and walk hand-in-hand with fashion just to adhere to Western ideals? Can't they have ideals of their own?

How would you feel if Muslim countries forced non-Muslim women to never use make-up, and non-Muslim men to wear traditional Islamic clothing?

And, by the way, as good a poet Adonis might be, he's not much of an Islamic scholar.

By Xdad (Xdad) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:33 pm: Edit

Devious, pay closer attention to the quoted text:

"Those Muslims who insist on the veil must realise that their very insistence demonstrates that they do not respect the feelings of people with whom they share a homeland; that they do not respect their values and are questioning the fundamental tenets of that society; that they are making a mockery of the laws and liberties for which these people have fought over time; and that they are denying the principles of republican democracy in the countries that have welcomed them with work and freedom."

Regardless of your decision to follow the interpretation of a few fundamentalist scholars, the position of the scholars has no legal relevance in France. Also, you cannot deny that the hijab is merely a geographical phenomenon of very recent history. But, that is not even the point of debate, a democratic law that forbids to wear the hijab in public buildings passed overwhelmingly, and conforms with the desire of the citizens.

You cannot blame the citizens of a country to want to protect its values, especially when the tenets of the western society are being eroded by the introduction of non-indigenuous religions or culture.

As far as your example of unjust retrictions, Westerners traveling or living in Iran, Jordan, or Saudi Arabia are subject to strict laws and customs that restrict their rights and freedom.

There is no injustice -nor rights violated- here, women who feel they should wear the hijab can still do it many places that are most appropriate for demonstrations of faith or culture.

By Devious (Devious) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:47 pm: Edit

I live in Jordan, and I can assure you there are no strict laws set specifically for Westerners. Saudi Arabia and Iran are a different matter, but that's a topic for a different thread.

I do realise that Muslim women can wear their hijab in many places, but the problem is they should wear it everywhere.

Anyway, I've said everything I want to about this topic and won't be replying to this thread anymore because it seems rather pointless. Despite the quotations I provided from both the Quran and the Sunnah that confirm the requirement of the hijab, you still think I'm following "a few fundamentalist scholars".

By Qwerty55 (Qwerty55) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 08:21 pm: Edit

Hijab is Mandatory!
Period.
Devious is not following a few fundamentalist scholars.
This is ISLAM.

By Poetsheart (Poetsheart) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 01:23 am: Edit

Devious, is it alright with Allah to destroy infidels (non-Muslims)? Isn't there someplace in the Quran that "says so"? ...just curious.

By Devious (Devious) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 07:52 am: Edit

Nope. I assume you're referring to the excerpts from Surah 9 that are spread out all over the internet. Here's something I wrote out some time ago regarding this issue:


Quote:

Surah 9 speaks of the treaty between Muslims and Meccans. That treaty was set forth to allow the Muslims to pray in Mecca without being objected by the Meccans. However, this treaty only applies to a few months, known as "al-Ashhor al-Haraam", or the forbidden months. You should also note that the Muslims and Meccans were already at war, a war that the Meccans started.

During the forbidden months, Muslims were not allowed to attack Meccans or wage war unless they were attacked first, meaning they were only allowed to defend themselves. However, when the months have passed, Muslims were allowed to seek out the Meccans and "kill them where [they] found them". In other words, they were allowed to continue their battles and do to the the Meccans what they did to them, without exceeding limits.

This specific verse is obviously misinterpreted by many Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and worse yet by those who dub themselves "Mujahideen". They seem to have some weird understanding that this verse gives them the right to kill non-believers, when Islam clearly forbids killing innocent people unjustly ([6:151], [5:32] and [17:33]), regardless of their religion (109:1-6).

[9:5] But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.


By 1212 (1212) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 10:38 am: Edit

this is running way off topic
bring it back

OP: "This is an example of why there should be freedom of religion, not freedom from religion...Not just France, but some German states are now banning "conspicuous religious symbols and apparel" in government-funded institutions. Shows what direction we should be wary of heading towards... "

now spout

By Optimizerdad (Optimizerdad) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 10:41 am: Edit

Devious:
You had said
"What harm does the hijab do for it to merit such animosity and rejection? Why can't you just understand that these women want to stick to their traditions and comply with their religion? Must they wear tight or revealing clothes, pierce several body parts, dye their hair and wear it according to the latest trends, put on make-up and walk hand-in-hand with fashion just to adhere to Western ideals? Can't they have ideals of their own?"

How would you feel if Muslim countries forced non-Muslim women to never use make-up, and non-Muslim men to wear traditional Islamic clothing? "

I find this ironic. In several Islamic countries, women (whether visitors or residents) are expected to dress so as to avoid offending local customs - no uncovered hair, no exposure of limbs. Yet in the case of Muslims in non-Islamic countries, you don't want to apply the same standard i.e. avoid "offending" local customs or culture. If residents of a non-Islamic country are made uncomfortable by your choice of Islamic dress, why can't you show the same courtesy and dress to local standards?

By Devious (Devious) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 11:06 am: Edit

Optimizerdad, the Islamic countries you're referring to follow a rather extreme form of the Shari'a (Islamic law). As I previously said, this is a topic for another thread; in short, there are a number of flaws in the way those countries are run.

By Xdad (Xdad) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 03:15 pm: Edit

"A topic for another thread? Flaws in the way the country are run?"

On one hand, you are happy -if not fanatical- to espouse the same theories that emanate from the "flawed" regimes. On the other hand, you would like to see the "mandatory" custom and culture exported to and accepted in western countries.

I also find it comical that you went to great length to define the word "veil", yet ignore that the more a propos "bosom" could hardly include the human head. This is quite telling about the selective manner you and your "scholars" transform their interpretion into dogma.

You are absolutely entitled to interpret and follow your religion in any way you choose. However, you cannot be oblivious to the fact that not everyone is in agreement with your conclusions.

While your position on the hijab is debatable, it remains absolutely certain that France has the legal right to impose the ban, and that the ban is supported by the overwhelming majority of the population. It may be a foreign concept to you, but some countries prefer to follow laws and not rely on nebulous interpretation from a few.

And that is the only thing that matters.

PS One question for you ... What did the muslim women do 30 years ago before the wearing of the hijab became so popular?

By Poetsheart (Poetsheart) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 12:38 am: Edit

Thank you, Devious, for explaining the scripture from the Quarn concerning the killing of infidels. However, I'm sure that fundamentalist-extremists use that very caveat of, "war" to justify their acts of terrorism. For years (long before 9-11), followers of Bin Laden, and other Muslim extremists, have indeed believed that they are at war with the west, America in particular, and that it is we who are out to destroy the Muslim world. Therefore, following your explaination, they would be totally justified in "taking the war to the enemey" and, "killing the infidels wherever they should find them", would they not?

The problem with ridgid fundamentalism, is that it deals with the most emphatic of absolutes. There are no gray areas, no room for questioning, no doubts about what's right or wrong in ANY circumstance. There's a tremendous seduction in knowing that one has "ALL the answers". It ties life up in a very neat little package. And it places one on moral high ground EVERY TIME. But it is this absolute certainty of one's own spiritual superiority that makes one susceptible to manipulation by those high up within one's religion, that makes it easy to act unquestioningly upon supposed spiritual and moral imperative. That's why intractable conflict is the inevitable result when religious (and often political) fundamentalism is the primary catalyst.

By Baggins (Baggins) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 12:48 am: Edit

I love how people can typify Muslims. I guess the understanding comes in afterwards.

By Poetsheart (Poetsheart) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 01:33 am: Edit

Baggins, are you implying that I have "typified Muslims" in the above post? If so, I suggest that you go back and carefully read it again, for surely, I my post addresses the dangers of religious extremism---not just of the Muslim variety, but ALL religious and political extremism---and in no way, paints all Muslims with that brush.

By Devious (Devious) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 06:23 am: Edit

On one hand, you are happy -if not fanatical- to espouse the same theories that emanate from the "flawed" regimes.

The enforcement of an Islamic requirement was not what I meant by "flaw" in my previous post; enforcing it on non-Muslims is, however.

I also find it comical that you went to great length to define the word "veil", yet ignore that the more a propos "bosom" could hardly include the human head. This is quite telling about the selective manner you and your "scholars" transform their interpretion into dogma.

I find that comment offensive. Have you ever read, and understood, the Quran in Arabic? The verse states that they extend their khimar (NOT their hijab!) to cover their joyoob (i.e. bosoms, and the surrounding area).

The use of the word khimar is significant. Had it been hijab, one could argue that the verse urges women to conceal (yahjibhunna -- from hijab) their bosoms. However, the verse used khimar, which literally means A PIECE OF CLOTH TO COVER THE HAIR, HEAD AND EARS.

And you're still insisting I'm following some rogue scholars, which I am not. I'm following the Quran and the Sunnah.

While your position on the hijab is debatable, it remains absolutely certain that France has the legal right to impose the ban, and that the ban is supported by the overwhelming majority of the population.

So if Jordan decided to ban churches, and assuming the majority of Jordanians would be in support of this ban, that would be just fine?

What did the muslim women do 30 years ago before the wearing of the hijab became so popular?

Many Muslim women wore the hijab back then, may be not as much as today, or may be even more. What exactly is your point?

Therefore, following your explaination, they would be totally justified in "taking the war to the enemey" and, "killing the infidels wherever they should find them", would they not?

No. The verses quoted were speaking of the Meccans at the time of Muhammad (PBUH).

By Sheeprun (Sheeprun) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 08:20 am: Edit

I'm closing this thread because it is getting long. Feel free to start a "Part 2" if you have urgent new thoughts on the topic.


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