Secularism and the Burqa

France has Imposed a face veil ban In the country. The French Parliament has passed a bill that outlaws wearing full face veil In public, Incidentally, this law Is only going to affect the ‘Muslim’ women since only Muslim women cover their faces as part of their Religious doctrine. The news, no sooner did it break surface than, elicited a variety of responses from around the world; ranging from raising eye brows to censuring vehemently, the latter reaction being of course from the Muslims.

While Talk Shows are mulling It over and print media Is disseminating essays and articles both for and against this decision, my apprehension is that very few people are analyzing the issue ‘Justly. Some people are looking at it from an entirely religious-UCM-emotional angle exhibiting very thin rationality, while the approach of some others, how should put It, Is highhanded, to say the least. Though I’m a Muslim and strongly advocate the face veil, I realize there is difference between my perceptions and reality.

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Notwithstanding, I think I’m able to analyze the whole issue Justly which hope, if considered In sincerity, will convince many, if not all. Firstly, I want to address the Muslims: and not just the average practitioners – but the individualists too – as they call them these days. Please realize the distinction between Veil’ and ‘Full Face Veil’. While Veil’ is an undisputed’ obligation on every Muslim woman, the latter is NOT. But since I see some eye brows raising and some sarcastic chuckling and even some other people getting ready to shout ‘Heretic”, I think I should elaborate this particular point a bit further.

Don’t worry, I wont bore you! Veil’ has been declared obligatory by God himself in the Holy Quern. Muslim women have been Instructed to dress bashfully once they move out of their homes or appear In public. The full face veil Is ‘merely ‘a manifestation of this Instruction. In Islam, orders and instructions are given by Allah, but since Allah speaks in a Godly fashion, commensurate with His stature, the instructions are broad in scope and comprehensive. Allah has His Prophets and Apostles who then either through speech or action or both manifest an Interpretation of these Instructions. The full face veil. Ladled as ‘Hajji’, ‘Ninja’, ‘Burma’ etc. In various cultures, flans its basis not in the text of the Holy Quern nor in that of the instructions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him), but a deduction from the actions of the Companions of the Holy Prophet. Though there Is In fact a mention of full face veil In the Holy Quern when God is talking to the wives of the Holy Prophet, but the interpretation of this verse is disputed as the Scholars are divided on the opinion that whether all Muslim women come within the ambit of this verse or not, because the address is specifically directed towards the Prophet’s wives.

Majority of the earlier scholars agree in principle that Veil’ Includes the face veil, but there are some earlier scholars and many present-day scholars who exclude the face from the veil. And as difference of FIFO pollen NAS Eden cleared a mercy Tort ten Muslims Day ten Holy Prophet, I thank I can say it with reasonable certainty, this is one of the issues in which tolerance needs to be exhibited. Women who want to cover their faces should be allowed to do so and those not willing should not be rebuked. And this is the De facto practice that is pervasive throughout the present Muslim world.

So please all of us should not be over-pedantic about this whole issue and cut everybody some slack! Having said that, this is not an article that ascertains whether face veil is obligatory or to! The question at hand is that ‘Is France Justified in imposing a ban on an Islamic “practice” I. E. Face veil? We need to be clear about the predicates of this question. Eve tried to establish that it is a ‘practice’ that has been targeted, a practice the obligation of which is inherently disputed even among Muslims, and only a particular manifestation of that practice; and NOT some basic tenet of Islam.

So now we should focus on the ‘Justified’ clause I. E. Finding out whether the ban is ‘Principally and ‘Legally tenable. As far as legally is concerned, I mean according to French constitution. And since I’m no expert on that; we have to wait for the decision from the French Court of Justice. I’ll be dilating, therefore, on ‘Principally, and that is by the way the pretext on which all contentions have been raised. France is a secular country with predominantly Christian population. The only way someone can prove to the French people that this ban is Wrong is by displaying that this ban is against the principles of secularism.

The principles of secularism are globally devised and accepted, and even you I. E. Muslims who went to live in secular countries – like that in Europe – agreed to these principles. I want you to recall that secularism is a paradigm that gives freedom to all religions and systems of belief indiscriminately. And that no one, not even the government, can force you to change your beliefs. This ‘Faith-Tolerance’ has been consistently displayed by the French government so far, since no Christian practice has been made obligatory for other faiths despite the fact that the government comprises largely of Christian individuals.

But not imposing extra-religious laws on someone is only one side of the spectrum. The other side is banning certain religious practices. And perhaps here, in your reception, the government has faltered. I beg to differ! The question you need to ask yourself first is: Are Muslims living in secular and democratic countries allowed to practice everything their religion preaches? The answer would be NO and here’s how: First of all in secularism, the ‘Criminal Law has to be secular, I. E. Without the influence of any particular religion. That is why, punishments for crimes according to the dictates of religious doctrines are forbidden.

I think you already know that, but have not factored it in. Jews, Christians, Muslims and other people cannot kill or maim or even hurt to the slightest degree NY offender according to their own religious teachings. Resultantly, there are much bigger things Religious people have trained themselves to forego, as far as their religious doctrines and dictates are concerned. It is only the ‘personal’ law in which secularism is tolerant. And the ‘personal’ clause isn’t a ‘classical’ or traditional’ qualification according to some particular religion, but rather a ‘lexical’ one.

This means Tanat anyone Is Tree to Delve Ana act as Tar Nils Delete Ana octagons ay not break the law of the land or transcend into ‘public’ domain. The ambit of public domain is decided by the people. And once these do transcend there, these will be subject to public approval or disapproval. We need to understand this connotation, because we often confuse the classical and lexical connotations. Dress, though, is a matter of personal choice, but secularism can set limits to it and still it won’t be called as infringement.

When public nudity is forbidden by secular governments, it is precisely this ‘people-given right’ the government is exercising; thus, it isn’t considered an impingement of liberty. Furthermore, France is not only secular but also democratic. This means that selected representatives of the people can make saws through the majority vote that allow or disallow certain dresses. But since it is democracy and not tyranny, governments have to give arguments why a particular dress is being allowed or disallowed. So what are the arguments given to advocate this ban?

I know people are ranting arguments ranging from ‘security concerns’ to ‘subjugation of women’, but it would be unjust for me to base my discourse on such unconvincing and boilerplate rationale. The only argument that seems plausible is that people cannot be allowed to enjoy a particular facility while they themselves deny that facility to others. Face is the index of the mind and the interface to one’s soul, thus people cannot be allowed to hide them; is another version of the same argument. Women who hide their faces deny others to look at them while they can, and do – actually, look at others from behind their veils.

To me the argument isn’t illogical. It bases itself on ‘Reciprocity, which is a universally recognized moral dictum. Religious people need to take off their religious spectacles and understand that enacting laws in democracy has to be in a religion- less domain. It is the ethos of both, secularism and democracy. So in ‘secular’ Renville, after one hears this reasoning without passion or prejudice, one has to accept the presence of a reciprocation-violation that was targeted, assuming, of course, no malice on the government’s part.

People crying ‘Prejudice! ‘ however may ask, how many dressings of other religions have been disallowed? Isn’t Islam the only one religion being targeted? The answer to this my friend is – this isn’t a fair’ question. The right question would be that – Doesn’t that particular dress of that particular religion or culture deserve to be declared anti- social or improper and therefore be banned? I would humbly beseech you to bring forward such a specific dress and I’m confident that after being mooted, it will, if found so as stated, be banned.

You might say that I seem like a French ambassador or maybe that I’m a xenophobe, and I can understand why you might think so; yet I know that the world doesn’t care about what I or you think, but what I or you can logically prove. I’m telling you why the French government is not lending an ear to widespread decries. It’s their logic against yours. Since I have the fortitude of applying cold logic, I cannot allow my emotions to rule my Judgments. And I have to analyze the ban within the confines of secular principles and not religious ones.

The only contention that I can raise is that tons Dan was ‘unnecessary, silence less tan 1% AT ten population was prosecuted, Ana despite all Justifications the ban is passing around as anti-lilacs, which will not bid well for the progress of France. A country in which much of the young Muslim generation is exceedingly becoming disenchanted with the government’s policies, this ban might Just fan the flame. But this again would be a total subjective contention. France has always been strict about protecting its ways, culture and traditions. And this too appears to be an effort in this direction.

And it seems consistent with democracy as it was endorsed by the Parliament. My advice to Muslims living in France, Belgium or other secular and democratic countries mulling this over, is that don’t make this about Islam. You signed up to secular law. This is how secular law works. And if you can’t handle it, find some other abode. And realize that the ban is on ‘Full Face Veil’. It’s not like Muslim women have been asked to wear skirts or display cleavage by government orders. It’s Just the face. And if it is modesty that you seek, it lies not in your veil, but in your heart.

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