Yesterday was the first day of the ‘burqa ban’ in France. What a strange, contradictory, counter-productive law.
When I first heard the idea of the ‘burqa ban’ being put forth a year or so ago, I thought some French politician was just taking the piss. Surely they wouldn’t do it? What kind of ridiculous racist law was that?
But no, they’ve gone and done it.
The law, vaguely worded to forbid French citizens from covering their faces in public, is clearly targeted at Muslim women who wear niqabs (a veil that only reveals the eyes) or burqas (full body covering). Estimates say that there are only 350 – 2000 such women in France, out of a population of approximately 64 million.
Why go so far out of your way to isolate such a small percentage of your population?
Supporters of the ‘burqa ban’ justify this law as freeing the women from the oppression of having to wear the burqa or niqab. Which is stupid, because presuming to know better than the women themselves – so much so that they’ve passed a LAW that tells women what they can or cannot wear – is a form of oppression. As a friend of a friend said on Facebook, all the French government is doing is forcing their Western brand of feminism onto a group of women who are more than capable of having their own brand of feminism.
President Sarkozy, you can’t liberate women by telling them how to dress.
The ‘burqa ban’ is simply racist and Islamaphobic, because it makes assumptions about the Muslims. It assumes that 1) all Muslim men oppress their women and 2) all Muslim women have no strength to stand up for themselves (thus needing the white French to step in). The idea that a woman might have chosen to wear the niqab or burqa herself, without some male relative forcing it upon her, seems not to have occurred to them at all.
The ‘burqa ban’ has also stirred up racist sentiments in France, which is a very strange thing for a government to really want to spark off, for the good of its people. Kenza Drider, a woman who plans to defy the ban (and probably has already), said that she had not been harassed for wearing a niqab until the government started thinking about having a burqa ban. Essentially, they’ve stirred up an issue that really didn’t need stirring up. WTF?!
So to Kenza Drider and all the niqab/burqa-wearing women out there who aren’t going to back down… GO YOU!
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