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Banning Of The Burqa In France

1941 words - 8 pages

In 2010, 335 out of 557 members of the French National Assembly voted to approve a bill that would ban the wearing of a traditional Islamic full veil in public. One member voted against the bill, and the other 221 members abstained from voting, so when the bill went to the Senate for a final vote, they already had a seemingly good grasp on the support level they would get if the law were passed. On April 9, 2011, however, a group of 61 protestors against the law had to be taken away in police vans and detained. While the majority of the French population is not affected by this law, a small group of Muslim women (and a pool of potential tourist) are.
In 2009, French President, Nicholas ...view middle of the document...

So which is the French government attempting to do? Do full-face veils pose a serious threat to citizens and the society as a whole, or is this a prime example of structural violence hidden behind the institution of federal government? Again, either side can be easily argued and fairly defended, but both cannot be true. With the history of the French government, in addition to its society’s general outlook on Islam as a whole, it is more than likely that the French government is using its power to authorize a blatant yet unspoken discrimination against Muslims.
There are enough grounds throughout modern history and enough ambiguity in France’s Declaration of Human Rights and of Citizens that can be used to back and defend Parliament’s decision on the law. For instance, if one were to argue that there is no issue with security while wearing a face veil, it can very easily be countered with the rebuttal there is no other secure and valid means of identifying a person if their entire face, or all but their eyes is covered. In addition, the fourth article of The Declaration of Human Rights and of Citizens, the official document France uses to indicate the natural-born rights of every citizen, states: “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.” If a citizen claims that the inability to identify others because of a veil makes them uncomfortable, that could be considered detrimental to their emotional and mental well being in which case the government could step in to ensure equality for all of its citizens. The declaration leaves room for the government to make laws as it sees fit. This gives them
Parliament also argues that full-face veils dehumanize women because they are forced into wearing them due to religious purposes. Of the 5 million Muslims in France, less than 2,000 of them wear these veils, so Sarkozy, made the assumption that any wearing of a burqa or niqab must be forced. This is why there is a clause in the act that states anyone found forcing another the cover his or her face in public would be subject to $48,000 fine in addition to one year in prison. The fine and prison sentence is doubled if the victim is a minor. On the contrary, however, wearing a face veil in Islam is a choice made by individuals. Of the few in France who are affected by this attempt of the government to “liberate” Muslim females from this practice, these women are not only willing, but also honored to wear burqas of niqabs. One woman, Kenza Drider, refers to wearing her veil as “a submission to God” and claims that she will under no circumstances stop wearing her veil ("Sarkozy say burka 'not welcome' in France" January 14, 2010)
It is extremely ironic of the French government to claim to denounce oppression and value...

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