Religious garments should be worn freely
Two Muslim women were arrested and hauled off by police Monday in Paris for breaking the laws that ban face coverings such as the burqa and the niqab. It’s no secret that France has targeted religious minorities for centuries.
Beginning in the 11th century, Roman Catholic Franks launched a campaign to reclaim the Holy Land while murdering hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the process.
Centuries later, France continues to attack Islam by creating laws that are in place supposedly to secure the separation of church and state — laws that, in reality, only strip Muslim women of their religious identities.
The French government argues that this attire is demeaning to women. These laws follow the 2004 law banning headscarves and crosses in public schools and government buildings. These laws are not only unjust; they are inconsistent. It seems as if France is on the attack once again.
What one wears should be up to one’s discretion, and no government should have the right to dictate what its citizens wear. French officials claim that these garments degrade women, but who are they to say so? Although women in some countries may be forced to wear the burqa or niqab, these French citizens are choosing to do so. This attire empowers them as religious women.
The truth is, France is demeaning religion and womanhood by prohibiting the right to decide what to wear. France claims that it is protecting women’s rights, but instead it is using this excuse to justify the fact that they want to protect France from Muslim influence. Doesn’t that sound familiar?
There is nothing wrong with the belief in separation of church and state, if done fairly. The 2004 law called for the banning of all religious symbols in public schools — fair enough. But the French are taking it too far, because now they are specifically and publicly targeting the attire worn by Muslims.
Farheen Zaheer, 20, a junior at UH, doesn’t support this law.
“The laws in France have progressed from an issue of separation of church and state to an issue of individual rights in the general public,” Zaheer said. “Priests and nuns are not asked to remove religious garb in public, but Muslims are? These incoherent laws are making the 6 million Muslims in France a discriminated minority.”
These modern laws essentially call for Muslims to cease their public religious practices. The French government must stop its discriminatory law-making before history repeats itself .