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flapcats
01-18-2004, 12:57 PM
I don't want this to become a pro/anti headscarf in French schools argument - I'm not looking for that discussion (& it's probably running somewhere here anyway).

What I want to know is why the ban extends to 'large crucifixes' and not 'crucifixes' in general - since they the same symbol.
By that rationale then, smaller skullcaps or little headscarves would be okay too??

Super Gnat
01-18-2004, 12:59 PM
Perhaps so that cross earrings won't be banned?

Rune
01-18-2004, 01:15 PM
Because the law talks of ďconspicuous religions symbols in public schoolsĒ. Apparently small crucifixes are not deemed conspicuous. You want to discuss the rationale behind it? I suppose itís a ďmore is differentĒ thing.

- Rune

Tusculan
01-18-2004, 01:29 PM
If I may be permitted an educated guess: France is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights (http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/Treaties/Html/005.htm) Article 10 provies for freedom of expression, which would cover religious expression as well.
Article 10 ? Freedom of expression
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. (...)
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
This right may therefore be curtailed. However, case law by the European Human Rights Court has made clear that such a restriction must be proportional to the purpose served. This means in practice that restrictions that prohibit more cases are more likely to be struck down than restrictions of a more limited character.

My guess is that the limitation to the 'size' of expression is at least partly grounded in such considerations. Whether the restriction itself can pass article 10 is sufficient material for another debate.

chappachula
01-18-2004, 01:40 PM
the french law is intended to prohibit large, obnoxious display of any religious icon in public. The idea is simple--it is offensive to be forced to stand face-to face with somebody else's wierd way of life. A small piece of jewelry ,like a cross on a necklace, doesnt stand out in an obnoxious way, and interfere with normal social interaction. But (for example) a punk mohawk hairdo does. Schools all over the world prohibit punk hairdos, and require both teachers and students to wear socially acceptable clothes, which do not offend others.

(slight hijack, with apologies:
And of course the real reason for the law is that the Islamic scarf isnt just a scarf--it's a symbol. It's like the pointy white hats worn by the Ku Klux Klan. It is a symbol worn proudly by a person whose beliefs are incompatible with the Western values held by the society she lives in,-- and that offends a lot of good people. I wouldnt allow anyone to work in my office wearing the white uniform of the KKK. When your "private" religious beliefs include lynching niggers, or blowing up infidels of the Great Satan, you are crossing the line--your private beliefs become a public danger, even before you act on them.

(and lets not get started on the old "jihad doesnt mean murder" I know that there are a billion muslims sharing this planet with me, and gee whiz,most of them arent bloodthirsty lunatics. But a few of them are,(a few million, actually)-and like so many things in life, a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel. And it just so happens that all the bad apples wear the Islamic head scarf.

Sine Nomen
01-18-2004, 02:27 PM
... Let me get this straight... you're comparing a headscarf to KKK robes and lynching blacks? That's absurd on the face of it, and more than a little insulting. What do you even know about the Hijab? For most women, it's a self-adopted symbol of humility with a rationale that is positively feminist - by forcing men to only notice their face, Muslim women feel they're more likely to be taken seriously and respected. I think a more pertinent question, however, would be to ask what right you or any government has to tell someone they can't ****ing cover their hair with a cloth. Also, I fail to see how the debate among European Muslims over how to reconcile Islam with living in a non-Muslim state has anything to do with their right to wear an innocuous article of clothing.

Ridiculous.

As for the OP: I'd chalk it up to hypocricy and ethnocentricism, something to which the French are no strangers. I would be less opposed to this law if they admitted they were trying to preserve the "French" character of France, rather than disguising it as secularism.

MLS
01-18-2004, 03:34 PM
Where would the current prohibition of headscarfs leave traditionally-garbed nuns? Just wondering.

Rune
01-18-2004, 03:38 PM
Any nuns in public schools? I don't think so, not in France.

Aldebaran
01-19-2004, 01:52 PM
Well, the world hasn't seen the last of this lunaticism.
There is a saying: when it rains in Paris, it drips in Brussels.
And to honour this tradition the voices in Belgium are already raised to come to a similar lunatical prohibition of scarves in public schools.

I can't wait to follow the upcoming debates about this. The more they try to impose things on people who only want to follow freely (their interpretation of) their religion, the more those who don't bother about this at all since they don't wear scarf or hidjab, will change their view and start wearing it. And then indeed as a symbol = not as something they see as a religious obligation.
Because don't forget that: for Muslim women who choose to wear a scarf or hidjab this is only done to follow what they believe as a command of the religion prescribed in Al Qur'an.

I do wonder when all these hidjab cryers are finally going to notice the chassidim Jew clothing as being a clear demonstration of their religion (and which is inherently part of their way of following it).
I don't think the Belgium government is willing or even was ever thinking to act as if the black clohts, the hats and curls of chassidim men and the all covering clothing and the wigs of their women are imposed on them as sign of oppression. It would be very funny to witness though. Maybe I should listen to the silent call inside myself inviting me to instigate one and another in that direction... Just for the fun of the reactions on it.

As for Catholic nuns who indeed often wear a form of hidjab: They don't teach in public schools as far as I know. They often work in hospitals though. But I guess those also fall under the "religious" institutions.

I have relatives from mother's side in Belgium who went to Catholic schools. They were even there not permitted to wear the little golden crosses they had since birth visible above their school uniforms. It was a matter of respecting the restrictions of the uniform rules which among others prohibited wearing any sort of juwelry.
So if you place this discussion in such a context, then the prohibition of hidjab in such schools is understandable.
In that case it depends on how the director interpretes the rules. At one of the schools my relatives went - and where the uniform was white/blue - a white or a dark blue hidjab was permitted for Muslim girls.

chappachula
The idea is simple--it is offensive to be forced to stand face-to face with somebody else's wierd way of life.

Then we are all permitted to chase all the Bible waving Christian proselytizers, the Salvation Army, the chassidim jews, the Hara Khrishna and whomever who "forces us" to "stand face in face" with their "weird way of life" out of our way wherever we see them?
OK.
Are their any volunteers for me practicing on them before I start with cleaning our common Globe from those weirdos?

A small piece of jewelry ,like a cross on a necklace, doesnt stand out in an obnoxious way, and interfere with normal social interaction.

Yes it does. As a Muslim I could take it even as a demonstration of blasphemy and you said it is " offensive to be forced to stand face-to face with somebody else's wierd way of life." Or does that only count for special cases like you because in some miraculous way you are above the rest of humanity.

But (for example) a punk mohawk hairdo does. Schools all over the world prohibit punk hairdos

No they don't. I've seen a lot of punkers going to public schools everywhere.

and require both teachers and students to wear socially acceptable clothes, which do not offend others.

1. What is "social acceptable" to you? Can you be a bit more specific about that?
2. I know of several schools where teachers are even more punky then their students.

(slight hijack, with apologies:
And of course the real reason for the law is that the Islamic scarf isnt just a scarf--it's a symbol. It's like the pointy white hats worn by the Ku Klux Klan. It is a symbol worn proudly by a person whose beliefs are incompatible with the Western values held by the society she lives in,-- and that offends a lot of good people. I wouldnt allow anyone to work in my office wearing the white uniform of the KKK. When your "private" religious beliefs include lynching niggers, or blowing up infidels of the Great Satan, you are crossing the line--your private beliefs become a public danger, even before you act on them.

(and lets not get started on the old "jihad doesnt mean murder" I know that there are a billion muslims sharing this planet with me, and gee whiz,most of them arent bloodthirsty lunatics. But a few of them are,(a few million, actually)-and like so many things in life, a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel. And it just so happens that all the bad apples wear the Islamic head scarf.

No, I'm sorry, you can't get apologies from me. You spread ignorance - and try to sell it as truth - on a place where it can't be fought without disturbing the essence and goal of this thread. You should have made an other thread to post this.

Salaam. A

Alan Owes Bess
01-20-2004, 06:36 AM
Originally posted by MLS

Where would the current prohibition of headscarfs leave traditionally-garbed nuns? Just wondering.

Exactly where they were before.

They don't teach their students in French Government schools while wearing that garb.

Posted by my fellow student in Islam Aldebaran

Then we are all permitted to chase all the Bible waving Christian proselytizers, the Salvation Army, the chassidim jews, the Hara Khrishna and whomever who "forces us" to "stand face in face" with their "weird way of life" out of our way wherever we see them?
OK.
Are their any volunteers for me practicing on them before I start with cleaning our common Globe from those weirdos?

You may wish it were so, where you happen to live, but have no fear Aldebaran.

Itís all happening, in Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Sudan, Nigeria and all other parts of the Deen.

From your statement, I donít believe you have genuinely started to follow the example of the Prophet in terms of action, neither have you observed too closely his life, his works and his deeds (Unless my copies of the Koran and the Authentic Hadiths are missing a few pages).

You appear to be firmly ensconced in the passive observer stage.

Thatís all very nice, but it does not help progress Jihad, which, we all know, is an inner struggle, and Islam is a religion of peace. (George W Bush said so, therefore it must be true).

Aldebaran
01-20-2004, 06:55 AM
AOB, the issue here is not Islam or what you take for Islam.

Please don't feel afraid to finally open a thread to give away for free your breathtaking courses of The Wisdom of Those Who Know Nothing .
I don't know of anybody posting on this message board who is more scholared in that then you are.

Salaam. A

Alan Owes Bess
01-20-2004, 07:13 AM
Originally posted by Aldebaran

I don't know of anybody posting on this message board who is more scholared in that then you are.

Thank you. Iím really chuffed by your fulsome praise.

One day, you may learn as much about the history of Islam as I do. (Provided you study broadly and diligently).

Aldebaran
01-20-2004, 07:22 AM
Of course AOB.
Where I was educated they know nothing of your Wisdom of Those Who Know Nothing.
Maybe I should introduce you there.
Poor students deserve to be offered free distraction and fun now and then.

Salaam. A

Gomez
01-20-2004, 07:46 AM
Will you please take your snide little pissing match to e-mail or the pit?

You bring it from thread to thread and cheapen the lot.

Aldebaran
01-20-2004, 08:54 AM
Will you please take your snide little pissing match to e-mail or the pit?

You bring it from thread to thread and cheapen the lot.

If that is directed to me... I'm sorry, but I'm not responsible for the obsession to disturb topics with stalking me and/or my religion/culture/traditions, as is demonstrated by AOB all over the boards where I participate.
I you have complaints about that behaviour you can always report them to a moderator.

And I don't feel any temptation to answer mails of that individual. My mail belongs to my privacy. So may I ask you that you don't take the liberty to invite others to use it for sending me idiocies. Thank you.


Salaam. A

Aldebaran
01-20-2004, 08:55 AM
Will you please take your snide little pissing match to e-mail or the pit?

You bring it from thread to thread and cheapen the lot.

If that is directed to me... I'm sorry, but I'm not responsible for the obsession to disturb topics with stalking me and/or my religion/culture/traditions, as is demonstrated by AOB all over the boards where I participate.
I you have complaints about that behaviour you can always report them to a moderator.

And I don't feel any temptation to answer mails of that individual. My mail belongs to my privacy. So may I ask you that you don't take the liberty to invite others to use it for sending me idiocies. Thank you.


Salaam. A

Gold Dragon
01-20-2004, 11:26 AM
The idea is simple--it is offensive to be forced to stand face-to face with somebody else's wierd way of life.

Should they also outlaw other instances of offensive behaviour like homosexual PDAs, smelly pan-handlers and gangsta rap music. :smack:

I guess liberte is the least important of the three in France.

Eva Luna
01-20-2004, 04:26 PM
[i]One day, you may learn as much about the history of Islam as I do. (Provided you study broadly and diligently).

AOB, I respectfully (OK, I confess, maybe not so respectfully) ask that you state your credentials for evaluating all things Islamic. Basically, why should the rest of us pay any attention to you? On what sources do you base your opinions, and why should we believe them? Exactly where have you studied so ďbroadly and diligentlyĒ?

RexDart
01-20-2004, 05:29 PM
... Let me get this straight... you're comparing a headscarf to KKK robes and lynching blacks? That's absurd on the face of it, and more than a little insulting.


Well, the headscarf represents a movement that has killed alot more Americans recently than the KKK has, so I don't see it as absurd.


For most women, it's a self-adopted symbol of humility with a rationale that is positively feminist - by forcing men to only notice their face, Muslim women feel they're more likely to be taken seriously and respected.

Puh-leaze. That smacks of post hoc rationalization in the highest degree. Up until 9-11, it would have been decried as a tool of patriarchal cultural reactionaries still stuck in the middle ages. Now, because Islam is the fad du jour of the college professor crowd, suddenly it's a pro-feminist statement? Baloney.


I think a more pertinent question, however, would be to ask what right you or any government has to tell someone they can't ****ing cover their hair with a cloth. Also, I fail to see how the debate among European Muslims over how to reconcile Islam with living in a non-Muslim state has anything to do with their right to wear an innocuous article of clothing.


Well, the government has a say in this because they're government schools. You wanna start a private school in France and make your own rules about headwear, be my guest. They can have all the "right" they want to wear distracting symbols of oppression in your school if that's what you like.

Public schools aren't the place for students to wear shit that pisses everybody else off, that doesn't create an environment conducive to learning.

I assume a tiny crescent moon necklace would be just as acceptable as a tiny cross, those are discreet symbols with only personal significance.

Eva Luna
01-20-2004, 05:50 PM
RexDart, you donít think the individual scarf-wearer has the right to decide whether she feels the scarf is a symbol of patriarchal oppression? Arenít you basically saying to Muslim girls that you know whatís good for them better than they do? Sounds awfully patriarchal to me.

Are Jewish sheitls (wigs) also a symbol of feminist oppression? Long skirts? Iíd like to know; I happen to like wearing long skirts myself, because I find them more comfortable, especially in Chicago winters, and because Iím self-conscious about an old leg injury. If Iím a victim of patriarchal oppression, Iíd like to know about it. And why is it that apparently the French government didnít consider Jewish kippot to be a classroom distraction until just recently? Theyíre just as visible as headscarves.

I think if any given French student considers a headscarf to be something to be pissed off about, the pissed-off person is the discipline problem, not the scarf-wearer. Thatís how it worked in my high school, anyway; we had kids wearing kippot, Sikh headcoverings, and just about every other kind of religious headcovering you can imagine.

The standard our school administration applied to clothing and accessories was that they should not leave the wearer too exposed (i.e. no bikini tops, but shorts were allowed), or create a physical danger for other students (i.e., there was somewhat of a controversy regarding spiked bracelets, dog collars, and other punk-type gear). It worked just dandy for us. Calling a headscarf a distraction sounds an awful lot like blaming the victim.

GorillaMan
01-20-2004, 05:58 PM
Well, the headscarf represents a movement that has killed alot more Americans recently than the KKK has, so I don't see it as absurd.

I presume you see every head-scarf as an allegiance to Osama Bin Laden? Well fuck you.

Aldebaran
01-20-2004, 06:16 PM
Well, the headscarf represents a movement that has killed alot more Americans recently than the KKK has, so I don't see it as absurd.

Really? The more I read these boards, the more I'm amazed about the complete ignorance of some posters.

Puh-leaze. That smacks of post hoc rationalization in the highest degree. Up until 9-11, it would have been decried as a tool of patriarchal cultural reactionaries still stuck in the middle ages. Now, because Islam is the fad du jour of the college professor crowd, suddenly it's a pro-feminist statement? Baloney.

If you think that because some non Muslims describe hidjab as "a tool of patriarchal cultural reactionaries still stuck in the middle ages" they have All Wisdom and Knowledge, then I must say you are extremely easy influenced by others.
Sorry, but although there is some part of some truth hidden in such an assumption, your generalizing of it makes it only laughable.

Well, the government has a say in this because they're government schools. You wanna start a private school in France and make your own rules about headwear, be my guest. They can have all the "right" they want to wear distracting symbols of oppression in your school if that's what you like.

What you are advocating here is exactly what those Muslims who don't fit your description above want to avoid.
They want to avoid that certain people will grab the occasion to create Islamic schools where children risk to be indoctrinated in a way that doesn't do them a favour and not only because it deprives them from being part of a mixed society in which they are "expected" to integrate themselves in. But also because the risk that such schools will be populated with people with fundamentalistic perceptions of the religion is even obvious to the blind.
Is that not what Western nations are so critical about in the first place even when it happens in Islamic nations and what you are in fact critcizing yourself? But in the next line you are advocating it... How do you explain that contradiction?

I assume a tiny crescent moon necklace would be just as acceptable as a tiny cross, those are discreet symbols with only personal significance.

Muslims don't wear "tiny crescent moons" as a symbol of their religion. They wear the name Allah written in Arabic on a medal or one that represents the frontpage of Al Qur'an.

But I assume that you are saying that chassidim jews and Hara Krishnas and Bible waving proselytizers and uniformed Salvation Army members and whomever who wears something that points very clearly to their way of life or their religion are extremely disturbing in a "normal" society?
Can you describe in detail such a "normal" society?
Does everyone has to wear the Mao uniform or what do you have in mind.

I have a question:
Why do the members who take this topic for what it is not meant to be, namely an invitation to post their opinions on Islam, refuse to open threads themselves to do just that? Are you people too shy or is it just a matter of knowing that you have no idea at all of what you claim to be informed about.


Salaam. A

RexDart
01-20-2004, 06:33 PM
RexDart, you donít think the individual scarf-wearer has the right to decide whether she feels the scarf is a symbol of patriarchal oppression? Arenít you basically saying to Muslim girls that you know whatís good for them better than they do? Sounds awfully patriarchal to me.


What I'm saying is that it seems like a disingenuine flip-flop on the issue by the feminists to try and come up with a feminist rationale for the scarves now. The head-covering originated in a handful of Islamic countries as a cultural tradition, and it would be hard to deny it's patriarchal origins. When women in parts of the world are being forced to wear something by their governments, and those same governments have a history of creating a second-tier legal status for women, I find it hard to believe that object could be a symbol of liberation for them.


I think if any given French student considers a headscarf to be something to be pissed off about, the pissed-off person is the discipline problem, not the scarf-wearer. Thatís how it worked in my high school, anyway; we had kids wearing kippot, Sikh headcoverings, and just about every other kind of religious headcovering you can imagine.


A high school is not a traditional public forum. It's not a bizaar for representatives of every world religion to hawk their wares. Distracting displays of religious affiliation create tension, and are IMHO not appropriate in schools.


The standard our school administration applied to clothing and accessories was that they should not leave the wearer too exposed (i.e. no bikini tops, but shorts were allowed), or create a physical danger for other students (i.e., there was somewhat of a controversy regarding spiked bracelets, dog collars, and other punk-type gear). It worked just dandy for us. Calling a headscarf a distraction sounds an awful lot like blaming the victim.

In the high schools I attended, all headgear was prohibited. They didn't allow us to wear baseball caps because it might start a fight, could be used to signal gang affiliation, and was generally disrespectful to the teacher. Perhaps headgear is not the signal of disrespect elsewhere that it is here in the states. Nevertheless, the headgear is distracting and might very well start a fight. Perhaps you'd prefer to send the offended kids to an indoctrination center somewhere where they can be "cured" of their prejudices against the "Religion of Peace (tm)". In the real world, prejudices are just part of life as much as we might find some distasteful, and in the high school context you have to balance tolerance of differences with a certain respect for keeping order.

And I certainly wouldn't want people with concealed faces walking into public schools, that presents a major security risk on top of everything else.

Eva Luna
01-20-2004, 08:35 PM
What I'm saying is that it seems like a disingenuine flip-flop on the issue by the feminists to try and come up with a feminist rationale for the scarves now. The head-covering originated in a handful of Islamic countries as a cultural tradition, and it would be hard to deny it's [sic] patriarchal origins. When women in parts of the world are being forced to wear something by their governments, and those same governments have a history of creating a second-tier legal status for women, I find it hard to believe that object could be a symbol of liberation for them. [quote]

a. All feminists do not hold the same opinions, especially on this issue. I definitely call myself a feminist, and to me, feminism is about giving women the right to make choices for themselves. If a woman chooses to practice Islam, I believe she should be allowed to do so, to the extent that her rights do not infringe on the rights of others. Covering one's head hardly counts as proselytizing.

b. We aren't talking about "a handful of Islamic countries." We are talking about France at the moment. No government authority is going to flog or stone a teenage girl in France for walking around bare-headed.

c. You don't get to decide what a stranger does or does not find liberating, or does or does not make her feel more respected.


[quote]A high school is not a traditional public forum. It's not a bizaar [sic] for representatives of every world religion to hawk their wares. Distracting displays of religious affiliation create tension, and are IMHO not appropriate in schools.

One's own personal clothing choices hardly constitute proselytizing, or "hawking wares" as you put it (see above). Plenty of public schools in the U.S. and elsewhere allow students to wear religious headgear without incident. And yes, if others are bothered by it, I do recommend reducing the tension by education and other means that do not infringe on the right to religious expression.



In the high schools I attended, all headgear was prohibited. They didn't allow us to wear baseball caps because it might start a fight, could be used to signal gang affiliation, and was generally disrespectful to the teacher. [quote] Same in my high school, except for religious headgear. And you still haven't addressed the issue of kippot, which didn't bother anybody in the French Ministry of Education until now. Why are headscarves different?

[quote]

Perhaps headgear is not the signal of disrespect elsewhere that it is here in the states.

You are generalizing about the States. Other religions, including Judaism, consider it a sign of respect for God to keep one's head covered in public, even indoors. I don't know where you went to school, but it doesn't sound like it was a terribly diverse place.

Nevertheless, the headgear is distracting and might very well start a fight.

Blaming the victim again. Would you blame a Jewish kid if he was beaten up for wearing a kippa?


Perhaps you'd prefer to send the offended kids to an indoctrination center somewhere where they can be "cured" of their prejudices against the "Religion of Peace (tm)".

If they beat people up or disrupt class because other students choose to practice their religion peacefully, absolutely.


In the real world, prejudices are just part of life as much as we might find some distasteful, and in the high school context you have to balance tolerance of differences with a certain respect for keeping order.

That doesn't mean we have to accept prejudices without so much as remarking on them, let alone passing judgement on them or even trying to change them. If you need to change someone's behavior, change the behavior of those actively creating the disruption.


And I certainly wouldn't want people with concealed faces walking into public schools, that presents a major security risk on top of everything else.

I haven't read or heard of any cases where face-covering of public school students was even discussed; the stories I've seen all relate to covering the head only. I doubt that anyone so religiously observant as to cover her face is going to attend a secular, public school anyway.

Eva Luna
01-20-2004, 08:42 PM
That’s what I get for not previewing; let’s try this again, shall we?

What I'm saying is that it seems like a disingenuine flip-flop on the issue by the feminists to try and come up with a feminist rationale for the scarves now. The head-covering originated in a handful of Islamic countries as a cultural tradition, and it would be hard to deny it's [sic] patriarchal origins. When women in parts of the world are being forced to wear something by their governments, and those same governments have a history of creating a second-tier legal status for women, I find it hard to believe that object could be a symbol of liberation for them.

a. All feminists do not hold the same opinions, especially on this issue. I definitely call myself a feminist, and to me, feminism is about giving women the right to make choices for themselves. If a woman chooses to practice Islam, I believe she should be allowed to do so, to the extent that her rights do not infringe on the rights of others. Covering one's head hardly counts as proselytizing.

b. We aren't talking about "a handful of Islamic countries." We are talking about France at the moment. No government authority is going to flog or stone a teenage girl in France for walking around bare-headed.

c. You don't get to decide what a stranger does or does not find liberating, or does or does not make her feel more respected.


A high school is not a traditional public forum. It's not a bizaar [sic] for representatives of every world religion to hawk their wares. Distracting displays of religious affiliation create tension, and are IMHO not appropriate in schools.

One's own personal clothing choices hardly constitute proselytizing, or "hawking wares" as you put it (see above). Plenty of public schools in the U.S. and elsewhere allow students to wear religious headgear without incident. And yes, if others are bothered by it, I do recommend reducing the tension by education and other means that do not infringe on the right to religious expression.

In the high schools I attended, all headgear was prohibited. They didn't allow us to wear baseball caps because it might start a fight, could be used to signal gang affiliation, and was generally disrespectful to the teacher.

Same in my high school, except for religious headgear. And you still haven't addressed the issue of kippot, which didn't bother anybody in the French Ministry of Education until now. Why are headscarves different?

Perhaps headgear is not the signal of disrespect elsewhere that it is here in the states.

You are generalizing about the States. Other religions, including Judaism, consider it a sign of respect for God to keep one's head covered in public, even indoors. I don't know where you went to school, but it doesn't sound like it was a terribly diverse place.

Nevertheless, the headgear is distracting and might very well start a fight.

Blaming the victim again. Would you blame a Jewish kid if he was beaten up for wearing a kippa?

Perhaps you'd prefer to send the offended kids to an indoctrination center somewhere where they can be "cured" of their prejudices against the "Religion of Peace (tm)".

If they beat people up or disrupt class because other students choose to practice their religion peacefully, absolutely.


In the real world, prejudices are just part of life as much as we might find some distasteful, and in the high school context you have to balance tolerance of differences with a certain respect for keeping order.

That doesn't mean we have to accept prejudices without so much as remarking on them, let alone passing judgement on them or even trying to change them. If you need to change someone's behavior, change the behavior of those actively creating the disruption.

And I certainly wouldn't want people with concealed faces walking into public schools, that presents a major security risk on top of everything else.

I haven't read or heard of any cases where face-covering of public school students was even discussed; the stories I've seen all relate to covering the head only. I doubt that anyone so religiously observant as to cover her face is going to attend a secular, public school anyway.

milroyj
01-20-2004, 10:00 PM
AOB, I respectfully (OK, I confess, maybe not so respectfully) ask that you state your credentials for evaluating all things Islamic. Basically, why should the rest of us pay any attention to you? On what sources do you base your opinions, and why should we believe them? Exactly where have you studied so ďbroadly and diligentlyĒ?

Requesting credentials from Alan Owes Bess is pretty rich, coming from you. Your pal, and former alleged SDMB expert on MENA, refused to provide his creds, yet you apparently bought his stuff hook, line, and sinker. Hmm.

Gomez
01-20-2004, 10:32 PM
Originally posted by Aldebaran
If that is directed to me... I'm sorry, but I'm not responsible for the obsession to disturb topics with stalking me and/or my religion/culture/traditions, as is demonstrated by AOB all over the boards where I participate.
I you have complaints about that behaviour you can always report them to a moderator.

And I don't feel any temptation to answer mails of that individual. My mail belongs to my privacy. So may I ask you that you don't take the liberty to invite others to use it for sending me idiocies. Thank you.


Fair enough. I checked back and it seems that AOB does have something of a fixation with you. I apologise for directing my remark at both of you when in fact he was the one in the wrong.

Eva Luna
01-20-2004, 11:04 PM
Requesting credentials from Alan Owes Bess is pretty rich, coming from you. Your pal, and former alleged SDMB expert on MENA, refused to provide his creds, yet you apparently bought his stuff hook, line, and sinker. Hmm.

I believe people's judgments after they are repeatedly shown to be correct over time and/or when they are backed up with citations from reliable sources. AOB hasn't done so anywhere that I've seen so far.

As for my so-called "pal," why don't you just come out and mention him by name? If you refer to the person I believe you're referring to, he gave a lot more information about his MENA background than AOB has. So far all I've seen from AOB is a few out-of-context quotations that didn't lend much credence to anything at all. If you want to believe him, that's certainly prerogative, but so far I haven't seen any reason why I should.

Anyway, do you have anything to say that's actually substantive, or did you just want to get your jollies sniping at me and at others who can no longer respond?

milroyj
01-20-2004, 11:23 PM
If you refer to the person I believe you're referring to, he gave a lot more information about his MENA background than AOB

Cite please?

Eva Luna
01-20-2004, 11:37 PM
Cite please?

Sorry, can't right now; the search function is not being cooperative the past few days, as the database AFAIK has not yet been reindexed since the software upgrade. I've been searching for other unrelated stuff which I know is there and have found before, without success.

From memory, though: several years (ten?) living and working in various countries in the M.E., fluency in spoken (multiple dialects) and written Arabic, academic background of which I don't remember the specific details right now, and numerous personal contacts in area NGOs, governments, and the private sector. You are free not to believe any of that, of course, but I tend to take people at their word unless their word is flagrantly inconsistent with their actions, and I've seen no evidence of such in this case.

And on that lovely note, I'm going to sleep, for tomorrow I must address the Huddled Masses. Laila tov.

Sine Nomen
01-21-2004, 12:06 AM
Well, the headscarf represents a movement that has killed alot more Americans recently than the KKK has, so I don't see it as absurd.

Islam is a movement that has killed Americans.

Christianity is a movement that has killed Spaniards.

Astounding. Absolutely astounding.

Puh-leaze. That smacks of post hoc rationalization in the highest degree. Up until 9-11, it would have been decried as a tool of patriarchal cultural reactionaries still stuck in the middle ages. Now, because Islam is the fad du jour of the college professor crowd, suddenly it's a pro-feminist statement? Baloney.

It is becoming clear to me that you have absolutely nothing of substance to contribute to this debate. Muslim feminists have been defending the hijab with the rationale I gave since long before 9-11. In any case, it's irrelevant. You have absolutely no right to tell someone they cannot wear an unoffensive article of clothing.

Well, the government has a say in this because they're government schools. You wanna start a private school in France and make your own rules about headwear, be my guest. They can have all the "right" they want to wear distracting symbols of oppression in your school if that's what you like.

Like most Western countries, France maintains some pretense of individual rights and freedom of expression. This law flaunts it, hence the protests.

What I'm saying is that it seems like a disingenuine flip-flop on the issue by the feminists to try and come up with a feminist rationale for the scarves now. The head-covering originated in a handful of Islamic countries as a cultural tradition, and it would be hard to deny it's patriarchal origins. When women in parts of the world are being forced to wear something by their governments, and those same governments have a history of creating a second-tier legal status for women, I find it hard to believe that object could be a symbol of liberation for them.

You are missing the point entirely, that the fact that some Muslim women wear the Hijab as a symbol of feminist liberation, and you could have saved a lot of time by simply saying, "I refuse to believe the obvious."

You, sir, are astoundingly ignorant, and your incredulousity is a poor excuse for an argument.

Beagle
01-21-2004, 12:12 AM
This controversy is so American I can't help but, *cough*, feel sorry for the French government. It's a real bitch trying to run a secular school system, uphold freedom of religion, but keep religious in-fighting to a minimum.

I've said before that banning all religious symbols is one thing public schools might be forced to do in the context of problems in the United States. There was some flap over, I think, the pentacle. This is a similar problem. It's very difficult for the government to split hairs over the divisiveness of particular religious symbols without incurring even more logical and legal problems than just banning all of them for "safety and security reasons". That's good enough for me. Less things for the kids to lose or get stolen.

You can't have any pudding if you don't eat your meat.

Sine Nomen
01-21-2004, 12:13 AM
This link (http://www.muhajabah.com/onveiling.htm) should have been included in the last post. My apologies.

clairobscur
01-21-2004, 05:22 AM
It's purely a guess, but in my opinion, discreet religious symbols won't be banned because :

Reasons 1 to 28 : People wouldn't accept such a ban. Since crucifixes aren't perceived as a problem, it would be widely unpopular (remember : the point of this law is banning the *hijab* in schools, the rest is only niceties included in order to avoid targeting a particular religion).


Reason 29 : It's quite reasonnable to ban only blatant displays of religious beliefs. Especially since if even discreet symbols were banned, it would be an unsolvable issue (what is exactly a religious symbol? Should, say, a tiny ankh-shaped earring be banned?)


Reason 30 : A law banning all religious symbols could be struck down by the courts too easily (the french constitutionnal council or the european court of human rights, for instance). French courts had ruled in the past that even the hijab wasn't a blatant display of religious faith and couldn't be banned in public schools on this basis.

E-Sabbath
01-21-2004, 05:50 AM
What about banning beards?

Beard Story (http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,2789776a12,00.html)

Looks like this'll sink it... no way the courts on human rights would let this through.

Bibliovore
01-21-2004, 07:55 AM
I think a major point which has not yet been discussed is that the Hijab is considered by many Muslims to be a requirement of their faith. In other words, it is mandatory, and not a matter of fashion or whim. therefore a ban on religious symbols would effectively prevent those muslim students from practicing their faith. As far as I know, crucifixes are not mandatory for Christians, but I'm not so sure about the Jewish skullcap or yarmulke.

For those of you, like Rex Dart, who feel that the hijab is too disruptive to be allowed in the classroom, please bear in mind that these girls are not asking to be allowed to pray at the top of their lungs during class, they are fighting for the right to cover their hair with a piece of cloth. I fail to see how that could be distracting.

Bibliovore
01-21-2004, 08:01 AM
Oh, and another point I was going to make was that asking a Muslim woman to remove her hijab in public is like asking a Sikh to take off his turban, only more so. Both items are required by the faith, but the hijab is also considered a symbol of modesty, chastity and piety. Having one forcibly removed is akin to being stripped in public - it is deeply offensive and very humiliating. I realise that no-one is saying that hijabs should be forcibly removed from girls in French schools, but I thought I would try and get across a sense of how important they are.

Eva Luna
01-21-2004, 09:43 AM
Bib, et. al.; Orthodox and AFAIK Conservative Jews believe that men and boys are required under the tenets of Judaism to cover their heads in public, whether with a yarmulke, kippa (singular of kippot, for those unfamiliar), or hat, and that married women are required to cover their heads in public (this covering takes many forms: generally scarf, hat, or wig [sheitl]. Reform and Reconstructionist Jews generally only cover their heads in synagogue, if at all.

So why will nobody address why Jewish headcoverings have until now not been viewed as a problem to be resolved by the French public school system, while the hijab is?

Bibliovore
01-21-2004, 10:00 AM
Thanks for the clarification, Eva.

And I definitely feel that this is indeed nothing more than Islamophobia dressed up as secularism. Anti-Muslim and Anti-Arab sentiment has been rife in France for some time, fuelled in part by their resentment of Algerian and Moroccan immigrants. However this is the first time I've heard of an attempt to enshrine such blatantly bigoted attitudes as National Law

Eva Luna
01-21-2004, 10:13 AM
Thanks for the clarification, Eva.

And I definitely feel that this is indeed nothing more than Islamophobia dressed up as secularism.

I tend to concur.

clairobscur
01-21-2004, 11:08 AM
Some more infos I just read in the paper :


-The minister of education stated that the law could result in beards being banned too "if the beard was used as a religious sign" . Not sure how they could decide if a given pupil's beard is of religious nature or not.

"Bandanas" could be banned too. I'm not sure what bandanas are, but I believe it's an ordinary headscarf, sometimes used by muslim girls to replace the hijab.

Concerning the sikhs (there are very few of them in France, since it's not a traditionnal country of emigration for them, there would be pending discussion, still according to the minister, and they would be required to wear an "invisible net" (???? I've absolutely no clue what they're are refering to) instead of a turban.





-The issue of political signs is aparently currently surfacing in the debate. According to the minister, these would already be forbidden by some obscure regulation, which isn't enforced, and that nobody heard about. So, perhaps they would be actually banned too from now on.





-The main majority party, the UMP, which controls both chambers of the parliament, will aparently allow its members to vote as they wish on this issue, instead of enforcing the party discipline (usually, in France, MPs vote according to their party's decision). This is quite uncommon, except on very controversial issues. However, though they're vocal, there's only a little minority of the UMP's representants who are opposed to the law. Since a significant part of the left (opposition), traditionnally strongly suporting laicity and women's rights is in a favor of the ban, the law will, very likely, nevertheless pass, IMO.

Still IMO, there could nevertheless be enough MPs opposed to the ban for the law to be sent to the constitutionnal council before it could be signed (according to the french constitution, if a given number of MPs believe a law is unconstitutionnal, they can send it for review to said council, which has to decide on its constitutionnality before it can be signed into law. The council's decisions are mandatory. For some reason, until now, I didn't read anything about this. Perhaps it's too early. And I've absolutely no clue about what the council's position could be on such an issue.





Also, before being sent to the parliament, the law will most probably be reviwed by the State Council, which acts (in this case) as an advisor to the government. For instance, they can point out ambiguous wordings, possible constitutionnal issues, and more particularily advices about legal issues which could arise in the application of the law as presented to them (and I believe there could be a lot of such issues).

Though this is merely advices, hence though the government can perfectly ignore the State Council opinions, as this Council is also a last resort court in cases involving the public authorities, they have a good insight of the possible problems, and its opinions have some weight. They aren't necessarily publicized, though. By the way, it was this council which stated in last resort some years ago that the hijab couldn't be banned in public schools, except for safety reasons. But I don't remember at all *why* exactly they ruled this way, and, depending on whether it was on a legal or on a constitutionnal basis, it could make a difference. I studied this case years ago, but my memory is defaulting me, and my notes are buried somewhere.....

clairobscur
01-21-2004, 11:22 AM
therefore a ban on religious symbols would effectively prevent those muslim students from practicing their faith.




It could be. But anyway, there's nothing in french law which prevent public institutions from making decisions which would, in practice, prevent somebody from practicing his religion. It's a non-sequitur. I vaguely remember a case involving a jewish student who had been excluded from some public college because he refused to attend courses during the sabbath. It seems to me that in the ruling, the State Council stated something to the effect that puclic schools weren't under any obligation to take into consideration the religious beliefs and practices of their students, let alone to pander for them (but it's a blurry memory, and I could be somewhat mistaken).

Eva Luna
01-21-2004, 11:23 AM
clairobscur, because Iím both extremely nosy and always looking to increase my French vocabulary, do you have any links to stories on the subject? Iíd appreciate it.

clairobscur
01-21-2004, 11:56 AM
clairobscur, because I’m both extremely nosy and always looking to increase my French vocabulary, do you have any links to stories on the subject? I’d appreciate it.



Sorry, but I didn't search anything on the net about this topic. Though, here are the links to the two articles in "Le Monde" I was refering to in my previous post :

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3224,36-349895,0.html

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3224,36-349896,0.html

Eva Luna
01-21-2004, 12:09 PM
here are the links to the two articles in "Le Monde" I was refering to in my previous post :

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3224,36-349895,0.html

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3224,36-349896,0.html

Thanks! It will take me some time, and probably a dictionary, to make my way through that stuff. If you happen to stumble across the actual French text of the law defining what is prohibited, Iíd appreciate seeing that, too.

chappachula
01-21-2004, 01:30 PM
And I definitely feel that this is indeed nothing more than Islamophobia
<snip> .....blatantly bigoted attitudes


Islamophobia? Bigoted ? huh?
--a phobia is an IRRATIONAL fear .Bigotry is an IRRATIONAL hatred.
Unfortunately, my fear of Islam is based on purely rational facts:
--devout muslims are trying to kill me.

Just a couple weeks ago, the highest authorities in the USA placed the entire country on terror alert, and also cancelled a half dozen Air France flights from Paris to Los Angeles. Someone in my family almost bought a ticket on one of those flights. So I can truly say, as a FACT, not a phobia, that my family's life was endangered by a devout muslim,probably living in Paris or Los Angeles.

I know, of course, that 99% of the devout muslims are not trying to kill me. But the 1% still make up many millions of people, spread all over the world and united in a cult of evil which they believe is the truest form of Islam. They have perverted a great religion--but the muslims living in Paris, LA, and everywhere else are tainted by associating themselves with the perverts who almost succeeded in killing my loved ones on that flight.

In Nazi Germany, millions of good, decent people allowed a perverted leader to defame their nation. Fear and hatred of the Nazis was not a phobia-- it was a rational and legitimate reaction -- to treat all Germans as evil, because they accepted evil leadership, and did NOTHING to prevent the perverts in brown shirts from building a war machine and destroying their great country.
I look forward to the day when I can see a devout muslim and know that he too took active steps to disband the war machine, and prevent the perverts from destroying his religion.

In the meantime, my family's lives need protecting.Islamic women wearing head scarves have murdered dozens of Israelis, and hundreds of Chechians. They tried again last week on Air France.
Sorry, Aldebran--I would love to meet you as a friend, and chat over coffee.(I think you live in France?)
But taking an Air France flight to meet you might just get me killed, by somebody dressed just like you, who claims to believe in the same things you do.

If the Germans had outlawed the swastica and other symbols of Aryan terror in the earliest days, it may have helped prevent a great nation from descending into evil. Aldebran--until you and a billion other good people get organized and prevent yourselves from descending into evil--I have to protect my own life first.

Banning the symbols of Islamic terror is a start.

(I agree with you, aldebran, that banning the scarf may be a stupid thing to do, because it won't work as a practical tool --it may just inflame the fanatics even more. But it is worth trying for a while, and see if the rest of the muslim world starts to finally understand that they have a huge problem with their fanatics, which they must solve if they want to be accepted as equals in the West. If the day comes when ayatollahs and mullahs start preaching tolerance and love, I'll be glad to let the girls cover their hair in school. And I hope that day comes soon, before it's too late.

Aldebaran
01-21-2004, 01:40 PM
I think a major point which has not yet been discussed is that the Hijab is considered by many Muslims to be a requirement of their faith.

I mentioned that. It is certainly seen as a command by those who are convinced it is a prescription that can be found in Al Qur'an itself.

posted by Bibliovore
.. the hijab is also considered a symbol of modesty, chastity and piety. Having one forcibly removed is akin to being stripped in public - it is deeply offensive and very humiliating. I realise that no-one is saying that hijabs should be forcibly removed from girls in French schools, but I thought I would try and get across a sense of how important they are.

Indeed. It is for them exactly the same thing as making an other woman do a complete struptease in public.

Posted by Eva Luna
So why will nobody address why Jewish headcoverings have until now not been viewed as a problem to be resolved by the French public school system, while the hijab is?

I asked the question when talking about the upcoming discussion in Belgium about the same hidjab issue.
But I'm afraid that if one single politician or school director would state that Jewish headcoverings form a problem similar like hidjab is in their view, the "anti semitism" screamers will cover streets and frontpages and other media wherever you look.
Seen the emotions one can feel among most EU'ers - and EU politicians especially -whenever the word "anti-semitism" only comes to their mind, I really don't see that ever happen.
But of course I feel some slight temptation to get involved in lightening that fuse. Just for the fun to watch the firework :)
Yet there is no danger that I shall ever give in to start playing such games, if only because of the fact that it would feed once again the exploitation of the Holocaust suffering by the Zionists.

Salaam. A

chappachula
01-21-2004, 01:59 PM
.
But of course I feel some slight temptation to get involved in lightening that fuse. Just for the fun to watch the firework :)


Salaam. A[/QUOTE]


okay,. lets light the fireworks! :)
May I politely point out that no Jews wearing a kippa on their head have flown airplanes into buildings, and then proudly claimed that they are going to do it again?

(and don't mention the King David hotel, in Jerusalem 1948--the radical Jews who did that were condemned by the Jewish governing council, which helped arrest them, and later actually shot at them (on the Altelena ship) in order to prevent those radicals from getting weapons.)

Gee, this can be fun.

Eva Luna
01-21-2004, 02:16 PM
.
May I politely point out that no Jews wearing a kippa on their head have flown airplanes into buildings, and then proudly claimed that they are going to do it again?



I would venture a guess, however, that at least a few Jews wearing kippot have murdered people because of their nationality, ethnicity, and/or religion and vowed they would do it again. The victims just werenít French or American citizens.

I think if French Muslims were politically as well-organized as French Jews, French political debate would be a very different scenario.

P.S. Since the France Ė U.S. flights were cancelled as a precautionary measure based on unspecified intelligence, and to my knowledge no details regarding the nature of the alleged threats to the flights have been released, I think itís a bit premature to assume fundamentalist Muslims were responsible, much less hijab-wearing women.

Eva Luna
01-21-2004, 02:22 PM
Islamic women wearing head scarves have murdered...[snip]... hundreds of Chechians. .

P.S. First of all, itís Chechens, not [b]Chechians.[b]. And second, cite?

clairobscur
01-21-2004, 03:10 PM
If you happen to stumble across the actual French text of the law defining what is prohibited, I’d appreciate seeing that, too.



The text will only be known next week....

Rune
01-21-2004, 03:14 PM
What do you even know about the Hijab? For most women, it's a self-adopted symbol of humility with a rationale that is positively feminist - by forcing men to only notice their face, Muslim women feel they're more likely to be taken seriously and respected.

As for the OP: I'd chalk it up to hypocricy and ethnocentricism, something to which the French are no strangers. I would be less opposed to this law if they admitted they were trying to preserve the "French" character of France, rather than disguising it as secularism. Sine Nomen you must lead an impressive social life since youíre able to speak with authority on what most women want. My Iranian friends tell me that for most women in Iran, the scarf is an absolute obnoxious thing forced upon them by law. For many other woman (and children especially, children being the rub of this case) in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, France, etc. itís an equally obnoxious thing forced upon them by convention and obnoxious patriarchal, demeaning customs left over from the middle ages. But since you know most women, I guess they must be a small minority. On the other hand itís extremely ignorant to call it ďan innocent article of clothingĒ. As the debate the ban has resulted in clearly reveals. Anyway Iím sure youíll look more favourable upon the ban, when you learn that secularism is the foundation of French society, and has been a cornerstone of French identity and their view of what the state should be ever since the revolution. By the way Sine Norman (Aldebaran et al.), what do you yourself know about the Hijab? Have you tried wearing it? In public? For long time? As for the gratuitous frog insults. All this American Francophobia is really getting a bit old (why donít you just stick to the axis-of-weasles insult and be done with it)

It worked just dandy for us. Calling a headscarf a distraction sounds an awful lot like blaming the victim.Well, Iím sorry to be the one to break it to you Eva, but youíre not the centre of the universe (thatíd be me) or all things measure (thatíd be my wife). What worked just dandy for you might not be so hot across the globe, in another culture, a couple of decades removed and in a drastically different political climate. Anyway, you donít think the line ďtoo exposedĒ doesnít leave a whole lot of room to arbitrary decision? No less arbitrary than where to draw the line on religious expression and repression of children?

a. All feminists do not hold the same opinions, especially on this issue. I definitely call myself a feminist, and to me, feminism is about giving women the right to make choices for themselves. Since the ban weíre discussing is mostly about children, the rights of women are fairly much irrelevant. It is children, girls down to the age of six itís about. Children are not, in any meaningful way, able to make the free informed choices you expect of them. Especially not confronted with a massive wall of expectation, customs and conventions. Many Middle Eastern immigrants in Denmark (itís mostly the immigrants themselves that are in favour of a ban) also maintain a law can help those parents that want to break out of the traditions but are unable to find the strength within themselves to escape. They can use a ban, pointing to it and say: ďwe canít help it. The law says we shanít cover up our childrenĒ. You might think everybody is some kind of superhuman Ayn Rand creature, able to make free choices regardless of inhuman pressures from the outside world. But mostly weíre not. And I didnít even mention the apple.


[Ö]haven't read or heard of any cases where face-covering of public school students was even discussed; the stories I've seen all relate to covering the head onlyWell itís more than just head scarves. E.g. hereíre two students that insist on the right to bear the full head to toe covering Burka (at least they seem to be, if not adults, then at least not small children). But since youíre opposed to banning the one I donít see how you can oppose the other.

http://politiken.dk/visArtikel.iasp?PageID=290422

We are talking about France at the moment. No government authority is going to flog or stone a teenage girl in France for walking around bare-headed. No but she may be frozen out, cast away by family, friends and community. Or in worst case the victim of an ďhonourĒ murder. Itís naÔve to assume, just because there is no state sanctions, these girls face no sanctions at all or that theyíre completely free to choose their own way.

France maintains some pretense of individual rights and freedom of expression. This law flaunts it, hence the protests. There you go with the frog bashing again Nomen. Anyway it doesnít hold water to save your life. The French have every right to choose not to attend a public school. All schools in all countries have some kind of dress code (written or unwritten). Some with school uniform, some restricting the sexiness of clothes, some restricting signs of gang, club, political allegiances, etc. These religious bans are no different in substance.

[Ö]therefore a ban on religious symbols would effectively prevent those muslim students from practicing their faith.Bib am I mistaken in assuming a Muslim should follow the law of the land. This is a claim I often have heard, and one of the arguments the pro-ban middle eastern immigrants are making.

. . . . .

Some random ruminations

France is very committed to the concept of the secular state. Ever since the revolution it has been a cornerstone of their whole society. There is no reason to assume this ban is not mainly about preserving what they consider the best way to organize life. For them to consider a growing religious influence in the state or a blurring of the edges is something like for Americans to consider abolishing their constitution. But lets just go for the horns. Of course, the law is also meant to combat a rising Islamification of society and the public sphere. A thing I personally on the whole consider a good thing (as I would were it a rising Hindification, Budistification, Hara Khrisnafication, Scientologification, etc.)

There is not clear delineation between what, by some, is considered natural clothing and what is considered abnormal. The scarf, the black full body covering, the Burka (and always this increasing restriction and isolation), revealing clothes, topless in the schoolyard, etc. or acceptable restraints based on religious belief; corporal punishment, exempt from gym-classes, swimming, any physical activity, exempt from classes teaching other religions, Darwinism. And yet we, as a society Ė if we want to be a society, must have some rules that define accepted behaviour. That someone wants them to be somewhat less restrictive than other makes then no less arbitrary or ethnocentric (you use it as an insult. Is it always bad?) or indeed Islamphobic. Many European countries, I donít know about France, already have laws against parents (and teachers, etc.) using corporal punishment on their children. I consider the full length covering and the Burka to be so extremely restrictive to the girls as to merit the same categorization. It is simply and abhorrent thought to force a girl to wear such a tent when of am age where she should run around and play not be so restricted as to be barely able to move or see. But even the scarf is not so innocent. It insinuates sexuality, sexual purity and sexual powers than must be restrained. A six year old girl can do worse than having a way premature sexuality imposed on her. Also perhaps for some itís exclusively a religious garment, but thereís no escaping for many others itís also very much used to send a political message.

The ban seems so much more controversial in America than in Europe. I consider this a genuine difference between European and American culture. Your passion for religion and all things religious. But I, as an European, see no reason why religion should be so special protected, uniquely defended, exempt from laws restricting other areas of life.

- Rune

Aldebaran
01-21-2004, 03:59 PM
posted by WinstonSmith
By the way Sine Norman (Aldebaran et al.), what do you yourself know about the Hijab? Have you tried wearing it? In public?

I am. Even when discounting the time I spend in Western nations, I am since I was old enough to walk for the greatest part of my life covered from head to toe, including when I'm in public.
I am by preference also dressed the same way whenever I'm in my home, be that in my country or in the West.

Now, since you see yourself as such a great authority in knowing what women must feel and do: Were you ever forced to walk naked in a crowd?

Salaam. A

Eva Luna
01-21-2004, 04:18 PM
Before I respond in full to Winston Smithís post (which may have to wait until later, because duty calls at the moment), can someone tell me at what age observant Muslim girls are expected to wear the hijab? Itís at puberty or thereabouts, correct? Iíve never seen a preteen girl wearing one, although they are otherwise pretty plentiful around here, even in downtown Chicago.

Aldebaran
01-21-2004, 05:34 PM
I can easily answer that: When she becomes woman = has her first menstruation is the time when a girl starts wearing hidjab.

Salaam. A

Rune
01-21-2004, 05:41 PM
I am. Even when discounting the time I spend in Western nations, I am since I was old enough to walk for the greatest part of my life covered from head to toe, including when I'm in public.
I am by preference also dressed the same way whenever I'm in my home, be that in my country or in the West.

Now, since you see yourself as such a great authority in knowing what women must feel and do: Were you ever forced to walk naked in a crowd?

Salaam. AHere I went and assumed you were a man, an indication of my despicable male chauvinism no doubt. Well Iím charmed to make your acquaintance miss A. and oh but I donít claim any authority on women for as all males know: they are a mystery, best, like cats, approached with extreme caution. But I do consider them somewhat humanesque even of genus homo-sapiens, and as such entitled to the same rights and bearing the same burdens and restriction as man. What I do not consider them is a special creature onto themselves, that should be secluded, isolated and protected like a flower. Nor do I call a prepubertesque girl a sexual creature that must be covered up to the protection of her environment. And if a woman has been led to believe itís like being naked being forced to abandon her burka, I consider that a wretched tragedy of brainwashing. And would gladly help any law that could prevent such a travesty from repeating. As for your question, no I personally have never been forced to walk naked in public. Come to think of it, I actually have never been completely naked in public (outside beaches), for, as you now must know, there are rules that regulate the clothes Iím allowed to wear and not wear in public as in school.

Oh. I see where I went wrong. The Hijab is both a male and female clothing. Of course Iím still equally charmed now that you turn right back and grow a member. Well then I have personal experience wearing it from a dude I know who went on an Egyptian cruise and bought such a one for me. Not my idea of great fashion sense, but then we all have our different tastes. I guess you win by technicality, now can we return to the issue?

While Iím here: ďA six year old girl can do worse than having a way premature sexuality imposed on herĒ -> ďA six year old girl can do worse than NOT having a way ÖĒ and in case you wondered, yes ďobnoxiousĒ is my new word for today (not that that in any way reflect on my personality Ė Iím obnoxious every day).

Goodnight

- Rune

Goddamn motherfucker stupid server is so frigging slow it keeps me up when I ought be tucked up comfortable in my bed. I blame SDMB for my poor work performance tomorrow. Now all I can do until I can send this wretched post, is sit here adding words to an already overloaded message. . . . .

eenerms
01-21-2004, 11:41 PM
[QUOTE=Aldebaran]I am. Even when discounting the time I spend in Western nations, I am since I was old enough to walk for the greatest part of my life covered from head to toe, including when I'm in public.
I am by preference also dressed the same way whenever I'm in my home, be that in my country or in the West.

(aside)
Here I thought you were a man also, can't cite but I seem to recall you having two wives. (aside)

I have seen young girls, prepubesent, covered from head to toe, including their faces. Do they have a choice? I think not.

elfkin477
01-22-2004, 12:09 AM
Islamophobia? Bigoted ? huh?
--a phobia is an IRRATIONAL fear .Bigotry is an IRRATIONAL hatred.
Unfortunately, my fear of Islam is based on purely rational facts:
--devout muslims are trying to kill me.


While your fear that devout muslims are trying to kill you may or may not be justified, I'm sure 0% of the girls' who are affected by the issue are amongst those who'll attempt to kill you when the time comes. Very few muslim terrorists are school girls for some reason...

Sine Nomen
01-22-2004, 12:43 AM
Sine Nomen you must lead an impressive social life since you?re able to speak with authority on what most women want. My Iranian friends tell me that for most women in Iran, the scarf is an absolute obnoxious thing forced upon them by law. For many other woman (and children especially, children being the rub of this case) in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, France, etc. it?s an equally obnoxious thing forced upon them by convention and obnoxious patriarchal, demeaning customs left over from the middle ages. But since you know most women, I guess they must be a small minority. On the other hand it?s extremely ignorant to call it ?an innocent article of clothing?. As the debate the ban has resulted in clearly reveals. Anyway I?m sure you?ll look more favourable upon the ban, when you learn that secularism is the foundation of French society, and has been a cornerstone of French identity and their view of what the state should be ever since the revolution. By the way Sine Norman (Aldebaran et al.), what do you yourself know about the Hijab? Have you tried wearing it? In public? For long time? As for the gratuitous frog insults. All this American Francophobia is really getting a bit old (why don?t you just stick to the axis-of-weasles insult and be done with it)

... You've taken a figure of speech ("most women") and blown it way out of proportion with a semantic argument. It doesn't matter exactly how many women feel this or that way about wearing the hijab - the fact of the matter is that there is a perfectly valid feminist rationale for wearing it, and so you can't use the symbol-of-opression argument as a case for banning it.

As for French secularism, unless laicite doesn't in fact translate to secularity, or the French have some vastly different notion of the word, forcing women to not wear an article of clothing in state schools is ridiculous and does not make society less religious. Regardless, it is wrong.

There you go with the frog bashing again Nomen. Anyway it doesn?t hold water to save your life. The French have every right to choose not to attend a public school. All schools in all countries have some kind of dress code (written or unwritten). Some with school uniform, some restricting the sexiness of clothes, some restricting signs of gang, club, political allegiances, etc. These religious bans are no different in substance.

Pointing out that I think the French are contradicting their own principles is frog-bashing? Guilty as charged. Saying that the hijab ban is no different than banning gang symbols or overly-racy clothes is ignoring the context. France is facing immense problems with making its immigrants "French", and the choice between defining French as a cultural and religious norm, or as a democratic and republican ideal.

The ban seems so much more controversial in America than in Europe. I consider this a genuine difference between European and American culture. Your passion for religion and all things religious. But I, as an European, see no reason why religion should be so special protected, uniquely defended, exempt from laws restricting other areas of life.

Try again. I, for one, am an atheist, and oppose this purely on the grounds that it violates the freedom of expression. I think the difference has less to do with religiosity and more to do with the difference between favoring a culture and favoring an ideal.

Rodrigo
01-22-2004, 01:53 AM
As to nun and their habits, a point raised a while ago, the German president wants them to stop wearing habits. so don't be surpised.

Why do so many live-and-let-live people have to stop others from doing perfectly innocent things? Do some headscarf-wearing muslim women blow themselves up killing innocent people? Sure. Do kippa-wearing guys kill innocents? Sure. Do crucifix-wearing people kill innocents? Sure. Do these sybols represent per se these atrocious act? No way.

Are "real" people really offended by headscarves or crucifixes or is it only politicians and busybodies?

What's next? I'll give you a stupid example but that might end up being true.
In Catholicism, priests wear different colours in Mass during different times of the year. Now it is "green" time. Will someone say that Catholics can't wear green (or red or purple or white depepnding on the time) in a public school because it is a religious symbol.

Bibliovore
01-22-2004, 04:44 AM
Chappachula, Please note that when I spoke of bigotry and Islamophobia, I was of course referring to the policies of the French Government and not to you. However, if the sight of a Muslim woman in a hijab fills you with fear, then all I can say is that you have some serious issues. Such a fear is indeed irrational, because you are suspiciously eyeing all Muslims as potential terrorists simply because they share the same faith as those that perpeprated the horror of 9/11. And if you can seriously sit there and compare the Muslims of today with Nazis, then I am truly astounded.

Decent Muslims everywhere have repeatedly denounced and repudiated the actions of the extremist few in their midst, yet you accuse them of silently accepting the terrorists, or even of tacitly supporting them. This accusation has been levelled at moderate Muslims everywhere, and no matter how loudly they denounce terror, people such as yourself never seem to hear them and say that they aren't doing enough. So just what will it take to convince you?

And the hijab is not "a symbol of Islamic terror", for God's sake. Only someone with a truly hysterical fear of Islam and Muslims would see it as such. These girls just want to be allowed to do what they believe God has commanded them to do. How on earth does that threaten anyone? Please explain to me how that would disrupt a classroom, or offend anyone's sensibilities or endanger anyone in any way. The fact is that this proposed law would directly prevent Muslim girls from freely and peacefully practicing their religion. If, as claireobscur said, freedom of religion is not protected under French law, then it damn well should be.

clairobscur
01-22-2004, 05:06 AM
Are "real" people really offended by headscarves or crucifixes or is it only politicians and busybodies?




Plenty of real people (including...anecdotal evidences only...a significant part of the muslim population) are really offended by headscarves for various reasons.

Bibliovore
01-22-2004, 05:17 AM
Plenty of real people (including...anecdotal evidences only...a significant part of the muslim population) are really offended by headscarves for various reasons.

Bonjour, Claire!

What is it about these scarves that people find so offensive? Do you also share this view, or does is not really bother you? And what do you mean by "a significant part of the Muslim population"?

clairobscur
01-22-2004, 05:41 AM
Chappachula[/bIf, as [b]claireobscur said, freedom of religion is not protected under French law, then it damn well should be.



Freedom of religion is protected. What is not, roughly, is the practice of it outside the private sphere. If one can show some public interest in banning a practice (say, ring the bells on sunday is forbidden in some place because it's a noisy disturbance), the fact that this ppractice is related to a religious activity is irrelevant.

I could say the Republic is supposed to be unconcerned with religions, to essentialy ignore their existence (though I could easily find counter-examples showing that in practice this isn't really respected).

Also, the public authorities are supposed not to make any distinction on the basis of religion. For instance, IMVHO, alowing the sikh policemen to wear a different headgear, like in the UK, would be, IMVHO, unconstitutionnal, since it would mean that : 1) A citizen's religion would have to be registered (definitely illegal, if not unconstitutionnal 2) A different regulation would apply to two citizens based on their respective religions.


I'm going to cite the two most relevant constitutionnal elements relevant to this issue :

Article 1 of the french constitution :

"La France est une republique indivisible, laique, democratique et sociale. Elle assure l'ťgalite devant la loi de tous les citoyens sans distinction d'origine, de race ou de religion. Elle respecte toutes les croyances."


Article 10 of the 1789 universal declaration of human and citizen rights (which has constitutionnal value) :

"Nul ne doit Ítre inquiete pour ses opinions, meme religieuses, pourvu que leur manifestation ne trouble pas l'ordre public ťtabli par la Loi"


Bad translations :

Article 1 of the constitution : France is an indivisible, secular , democratic and social. She enforces the equality before the law of all citizens without distinction of origin, race or religion

Article 10 of the DUDHC : "Nobody can be harassed/bothered/troubled for his opinions, even religious, as long as their expression do not breach the public order established by the law "

Aldebaran
01-22-2004, 05:42 AM
POSTED BY WINSTONSMITH
Here I went and assumed you were a manÖ..
ÖÖ..Oh. I see where I went wrong. The Hijab is both a male and female clothingÖ.

POSTED BY EENEMRS
Here I thought you were a man also

See now how much you have to learn?

Oh waitÖ Me wearing dishdasha and kaffiyeh doesnít mean Iím covered from top to toe in your fantasyworld of the ďbad mean oppressing ArabĒ.

Then how do you think it looks like? Flashy coloured sleeveless T shirt that looks like bad taste underwear combined with Hawai print shorts and a cowboyhat?

Iím so sorry for you, but I prefer to wear my own traditional style far above anything else I have. Which in any case doesnít include a looking-like-underwear outfit in flashy colours. I do have cowboy hats though. Made in USA. Just for fun to make my children laugh.

Salaam. A

clairobscur
01-22-2004, 05:42 AM
Article 1 of the constitution : France is an indivisible, secular , democratic and social. [/b] "


Make that an indivisible secular and social Republic

Bibliovore
01-22-2004, 05:53 AM
Thank you, Claire. In that case, how does the wearing of the Hijab "breach the public order established by the law "? Or. to put it another way, where is the public interest in banning this practice? I know that there has always been a lot of Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim feeling in France, why is why I believe that "La France ne respecte pas toutes les croyances."

clairobscur
01-22-2004, 06:37 AM
Thank you, Claire. In that case, how does the wearing of the Hijab "breach the public order established by the law "?


I don't think it does.

Bibliovore
01-22-2004, 06:42 AM
In that case, we're in complete agreement! :D

Aldebaran
01-22-2004, 06:44 AM
POSTED BY WINSTON S.
Bib am I mistaken in assuming a Muslim should follow the law of the land. This is a claim I often have heard, and one of the arguments the pro-ban middle eastern immigrants are making.

No you are not mistaken.

Sheich Tantawi (Al Azhar president) made the follwing statements about this issue
(excerpts. You must take my translation for what it's worth).

" if they (Muslim women) find themselves (are) in a non-Muslim state and its rulers want to adopt laws in opposition to hidjab (veil), it is their right (of that state's rulers to adopt such laws)"

"And I repeat: It is their right and I can not oppose them".

"I would not allow a non-Muslim to intervene in Muslim affairs. Likewise I would not permit myself to intervene in non-Muslim affairs.Ē

ďWhen Muslim women conform - in term of shariía - to the laws of a non Muslim state, they are under the conditions of the one who obligates them (to do this)and therefore they do not bear the responsibility for the situation.Ē

ďMuslim women forced by human law can not fear divine punishment, because of this (force on them).

ďA good Muslim can not be criticized for having applied to the law of the country in which he is living.Ē

---------

You can find reference of acting under force against Islamic Law in Al Qur'an, which confirms Tantawi's position on this matter.

So if you have friends who doubt about it or who want to defend their postition being in agreement of such hidjab ban, tell them to take Al Qur'an.
They can read for example surat al-bakara (II), 173.
This goes about diet laws and describes being forced to break them in which case one can't be held responsible for this.

The reasoning of Tantawi is very obviously following the guideline of said surat al-bakara,173. His reasoning clearly is that such a situation can be applied when it comes to other matters, like in this case hidjab. On which many scholars in the past agreed and used it to establish laws and conditions under which Muslims living in non-muslim states should function in accordance with the states laws.

Of course one has there described the situation of being forced "without having the intention to break the Law". Which leaves a bit of a vacuum for women who believe hidjab is an obligation, yet don't want to wear it.

Those who are convinced that there is no reference in Al Qur'an to cover themselves should have no problem at all. In addition they can easily use this reference to convince others for supporting their case when it comes to use the French ban to become stronger in their struggle against (in such cases: indeed) misguided and oppressing practices.


Salaam. A

Bibliovore
01-22-2004, 07:05 AM
Aldebaran, I understand what you're saying - many Islamic restrictions are relaxed if one is forced to contravene them. For example, one is allowed to eat pork if the alternative is starvation. So if the law of the land has outlawed the hijab, then Muslim women may consider themselves forced to remove them and can do so without shame, is that correct?

Even if that is the case, (and I'm not totally sure that I agree), aren't Muslims obligated to oppose this as much as possible before it becomes a law? If they did all they could to maintain their rights but were stripped of them regardless, could they not then say that they had been forced?

clairobscur
01-22-2004, 07:44 AM
No you are not mistaken.

Sheich Tantawi (Al Azhar president) made the follwing statements about this issue

Salaam. A


I seem to remember that Tantawi made this statement while (or immediatly after) a visit in Egyptia of the french interior minister (who is the one pushing for this law).

Since the egyptian government and Al Azhar seem, for what I gather, to usually walk hand in hand, and given that this intended law raised a lot of hostility in the arab world, I immediatly wondered, when I read that the scheik had made these apeasing comments, whether they were mainly religiously or politically motivated...(I can easily imagine our minister mentionning to the egyptian authorities that some positive statement from a major muslim religious authority could be a nice and helpful gesture).

Gaudere
01-22-2004, 08:15 AM
GorillaMan
: Well fuck you.

[Moderator Hat ON]

GorrillaMan, do NOT tell people "fuck you" in this forum.

[Moderator Hat OFF]

Aldebaran
01-22-2004, 09:09 AM
POSTED BY WINSTON S
Well itís more than just head scarves. E.g. hereíre two students that insist on the right to bear the full head to toe covering Burka (at least they seem to be, if not adults, then at least not small children).

From what I can make of the article they are talking about students aged 18/19 years and the two in question are from Somalian origin. (As far as I know the burqa from the type that became ďfamousĒ for refering to the oppression of women under the Taliban does not belong to the traditions of that country.)
The girls on the picture donít wear such a burqa but an abaya.
That can be combined with a niqab, a "face veil." This can be made of a variety of materials and commonly is known in two forms:
The smaller one which is attached under the head covering leaving a space open for the eyes. These are available in different materials and colours and sometimes decorated with coins or decoration in gold or silver. (There exist also such niqab in leather or gold or silver.)
The other version goes over the head covering (and can also be used to cover also the eyes) and sometimes such a face veil is also referred to as ďburqaĒ, (especially when it leaves only two openings for the eyes) which can cause some confusion.

An abaya, worn with or without niqab, differs from the burqa which not only covers women all over but in addition leaves for the eyes only a sort of needle work with some holes in (Sorry, canít describe it better in English).


If these students want to wear what they see as in line with the religion they follow, what is your objection against them doing it? That they look different then you would like them to look?
Maybe you prefer them to wear jeans or mini skirts? It is quite possible they just do that under their abaya, but still want to follow the rules of modesty in Islam the way they see it.

I didnít make it from the article that they are forced to do that. But then, my reading of the language is rather poor, so maybe you could point it out to me where it is said that they are forced.

Salaam. A

Aldebaran
01-22-2004, 09:38 AM
Bibliovore

From Muslims who are citizens of non Muslim nations - and are in a position to influence law making authorities - can be expected they give it a try to prevent law making that goes against Islamic commands. Which we have indeed seen in the protest-demonstrations.
I doubt if there are Muslim politicians in France who could have a say in this. (This to say: I have no clue :) )

clairobscur

I never exclude political pressure on Tantawi. Nevertheless his statements on this matter are in accordance with historical tradition of handling similar cases of conflict between Islamic laws and laws (or even dress codes) in non Islamic nations.

Salaam. A

Beagle
01-22-2004, 10:45 AM
Freedom of religion? France is going fascist? Wait just one cotton-picking minute here. If there is any French bashing to be done around here, I'll let you know.

France has suggested that 1) children 2) in public schools 3) not wear religious articles 4) while they are actually attending the school.

There are a lot of ways out of this "horrible repression" if you think about it. The one that's not obvious is "move to Saudi Arabia."

Eva Luna
01-22-2004, 12:44 PM
My Iranian friends tell me that for most women in Iran, the scarf is an absolute obnoxious thing forced upon them by law. For many other woman (and children especially, children being the rub of this case) in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, France, etc. itís an equally obnoxious thing forced upon them by convention and obnoxious patriarchal, demeaning customs left over from the middle ages.

Again, we are talking about France, not the Middle East or Central Asia. The hijab is not required by French law, so to me it then becomes a parenting issue. Yes, children are influenced by their parentsí wishes, but as any parent of teenagers will tell you, they are also possessed of free will.

Do you think parents should have no ability under the law to influence their childrenís type and degree of religious observance? Would you complain if girls wore long skirts and long-sleeved shirts in summer, because you think they are inappropriately modest? Are you going to parent everybodyís children? Do you think Jewish boys are being oppressed by the matriarchy (and believe me, I could tell you some stories about the awesome emotional grip of Jewish mothers) if they wear kippot to school, or even a tallis (prayer shawl), as Orthodox boys do? And horror of horrors, sometimes the fringe is even visible around the hemline!

Anyway Iím sure youíll look more favourable upon the ban, when you learn that secularism is the foundation of French society, and has been a cornerstone of French identity and their view of what the state should be ever since the revolution.

Believe it or not, there is supposed to be separation of church and state in the U.S. as well, and all religions are protected under the law. Regardless of how much some public figures may blab about God, or how much some Americans may behave as if they believe we are the Chosen People, this is officially a secular state.

Well, Iím sorry to be the one to break it to you Eva, but youíre not the centre of the universe (thatíd be me) or all things measure (thatíd be my wife). What worked just dandy for you might not be so hot across the globe, in another culture, a couple of decades removed and in a drastically different political climate.

I never thought I was the center of the universe, or that America was the center of the universe. I am one of those all-too-rare Americans who has a passport (since I was 19) and uses it. In fact, I was in three European countries just a few weeks ago. I majored in one European language in college and minored in another, have a graduate degree in Russian & East European Studies, and have been frequently mistaken for a native speaker of both Russian and Spanish. I have a job which requires me to deal with foreign nationals on a daily basis, many of whom are Europeans. A large proportion of my friends are European-born, and some very old and close ones still live there. I have visited eight European countries so far, and have lived in two of those for not insignificant periods of time. When I travel, itís not on group bus tours; nearly all of the time Iíve spent in foreign countries has been spent living with locals, either in university housing or staying with friends.

So although I donít claim to know much of anything about Denmark or to be an expert on French public opinion, Iím definitely a xenophile, and definitely youíre the first person who has read anything Iíve written on Europe to accuse me of being insensitive to European or any other intercultural issues. And while I havenít specifically surveyed my European friends on the hijab issue, they (and many of my clients) have frequently remarked that Iím not typical of the Americans they have known.

As for my having attended high school a couple of decades ago, yes, itís true that itís been almost 18 years since I graduated, and I donít remember verbatim what the dress code was at my high school. (I tried to look it up last night, and all I found was a newsletter article reminding parents that due to developments in girlsí fashion, the school felt it necessary to reinforce that midriffs and backs are required to be covered.) However, my younger half-brother just started high school this year, many friends and colleagues have children in public schools, and my stepmother is an attorney with the New York City Board of Educationís General Counselís Office, so believe me, I hear a lot about legal issues affecting public school students. Plus Iíve been known to read a newspaper here and there, too.

Anyway, you donít think the line ďtoo exposedĒ doesnít leave a whole lot of room to arbitrary decision? No less arbitrary than where to draw the line on religious expression and repression of children?

As mentioned, I donít remember verbatim what my schoolís dress code was, and codes vary widely from school to school, even in the same city. The only debate I remember about the arbitrariness of enforcement of dress codes from my school days was when a boy refused to remove an earring for a wrestling unit of gym class (a unit not required for girls), and complained that girls were not required to do so. Nothing to do with religion at all. Iíve seen no reports of debates regarding whether girls in the U.S. should be allowed to wear the hijab in public schools, but maybe thatís because weíre not trying to pass a national law prohibiting them.

And again, Iíve seen no reasonable or satisfactory answer regarding why the hijab is suddenly a problem in France, while other religious headgear (kippot, and whatever Sikh headgear is called) has not historically been seen as a problem. Both are just as visible as a hijab.

Since the ban weíre discussing is mostly about children, the rights of women are fairly much irrelevant. It is children, girls down to the age of six itís about. Children are not, in any meaningful way, able to make the free informed choices you expect of them. Especially not confronted with a massive wall of expectation, customs and conventions.

A girl who has reached reproductive age, to paraphrase Britney Spears, is no longer a girl, but not yet a woman. (See above; Iíve not seen any stories in which full veiling of six-year-old girls is being discussed, as I donít believe thatís the case even in rural Saudi Arabia.) She is reaching the age where she should be in the process of learning to think for herself. Religious observance is one of the issues with which adults, and those in the process of becoming adults, frequently grapple. Deciding to what degree you will respect the choices your parents would like to make for you is part of becoming an adult. Or would you have thought my mother was oppressing my sister when she decided not to let her, at the age of twelve, wear full makeup and miniskirts and tight spandex shirts to school, or have boys in the house unchaperoned?

Many Middle Eastern immigrants in Denmark (itís mostly the immigrants themselves that are in favour of a ban) also maintain a law can help those parents that want to break out of the traditions but are unable to find the strength within themselves to escape. They can use a ban, pointing to it and say: ďwe canít help it. The law says we shanít cover up our childrenĒ. You might think everybody is some kind of superhuman Ayn Rand creature, able to make free choices regardless of inhuman pressures from the outside world. But mostly weíre not.

Again, Iím no expert on Denmark or on public opinion of European Muslims. I believe as a moral matter (Iíll leave discussions of Islamic law to those more knowledgeable), but the whole point is that the state has no business interfering in the private moral or religious choices of individuals. People have to make their own choices about their degree of religious observance, or lack thereof.

And I didnít even mention the apple.

Thank God (purely as a figure of speech) for that; my real first name is actually Eve, and believe me, Iíve been teased quite enough for it.

Well itís more than just head scarves. E.g. hereíre two students that insist on the right to bear the full head to toe covering Burka (at least they seem to be, if not adults, then at least not small children). But since youíre opposed to banning the one I donít see how you can oppose the other.

The State of Illinois, where I live, as well as the U.S. Government (for visa purposes) has drawn what I agree is an appropriate distinction. For public purposes such as identification, people must leave their faces uncovered. I seem to remember a prior thread in which it was mentioned that even in Muslim countries where women are allowed to drive, their faces are shown on their driversí licenses.

No but she may be frozen out, cast away by family, friends and community. Or in worst case the victim of an ďhonourĒ murder. Itís naÔve to assume, just because there is no state sanctions, these girls face no sanctions at all or that theyíre completely free to choose their own way.
Again, this is a family relations issue in which I believe the state should not interfere unless a bona fide crime is committed. And IMO community relations issues are best addressed by education, not by passing laws which will just further alienate the very sector of the population whose acquiescence is most sought. Aldebaran makes the excellent point that if the hijab is prohibited in public schools, those parents with strong opinions on the matter will just put their daughters in private schools, which will deny the very children French society is trying hardest to reach exposure to the normal behavior of that society. And that doesnít bode well for the adaptation of an important subgroup of French Muslims into the larger community.


Many European countries, I donít know about France, already have laws against parents (and teachers, etc.) using corporal punishment on their children. I consider the full length covering and the Burka to be so extremely restrictive to the girls as to merit the same categorization. It is simply and abhorrent thought to force a girl to wear such a tent when of am age where she should run around and play not be so restricted as to be barely able to move or see.

As I understand it, the burka is under discussion in a very small minority of cases. But again, we are talking about parenting issues here. How is a burka any more constricting than a long skirt and a long-sleeved shirt?

But even the scarf is not so innocent. It insinuates sexuality, sexual purity and sexual powers than must be restrained.

As discussed previously, just because you see it that way doesnít mean that the scarf-wearer does.

A six year old girl can do worse than having a way premature sexuality imposed on her. Also perhaps for some itís exclusively a religious garment, but thereís no escaping for many others itís also very much used to send a political message.

As discussed above, we are not discussing six-year-old girls. The hijab is required precisely at the point when girls reach sexual maturity. That doesnít mean Iím a fan of it myself, mind you, but Iím not going to make that decision for others.[/quote]

The ban seems so much more controversial in America than in Europe. I consider this a genuine difference between European and American culture. Your passion for religion and all things religious.

I donít know what Americans you refer to, but believe me, there is a huge variation in type and degree of religious belief in this country. Believe it or not, George W. Bush doesnít speak for all of us, or even for a majority of us. Personally, I believe any reference to religious belief by a government official in his professional capacity is completely inappropriate. Our Presidentís constant references to how ďGod is on our [the U.S.í] sideĒ really irk me.

I am a Jewish agnostic, and many of my friends are agnostics who were raised either Jewish or Christian; we basically participate in religious observances either during life-cycle events (such as weddings and funerals), or to maintain family harmony (like visiting family for Christmas). The pervasiveness of religious influence on American public life varies somewhat on a regional basis and/or has an urban/rural split, but there are many, many factors that influence it. Hmmmm, on that note maybe Iíll start a poll in IMHO. Or maybe two; one for U.S. Dopers, and one for non-U.S. Dopers.

There have been numerous U.S. court cases regarding the permissibility of the presence of religious activities or symbols in public institutions, the debate over prayer in schools being among the most visible. But I believe most Americans draw a distinction between government support of religion and allowing individuals to undertake personal religious observance in public places.

dangermom
01-22-2004, 02:21 PM
I read WinstonSmith's article (davs, WS!), and the gist of it is that the two Somali-born young women always dressed like everyone else before, but started dressing in full robes this year, thus discombobulating the teachers. For now, its being allowed, except that teachers want to see their faces during instructional time and tests. The administration is worried that the practice will spread and it will become difficult to identify students in the halls (I have a hard time sympathizing with this, as it strikes me as very unlikely). The girls have a PE group that is either table tennis or walking, and the school has disavowed responsibility for finding them apprenticeships when they finish school. I hope that is a reasonably accurate summary.

I really can't understand why they would not be allowed to dress as they wish, in peace. But then I really think the French idea is a terrible one, too. (And perfectly designed to drive a lot of girls into private Muslim schools, where they could be educated to be more, not less, separatist). Personally, if I were living in France, I'd be giving serious thought to starting to wear a headscarf to school myself--and I've tried it and disliked it.

Rune
01-22-2004, 04:10 PM
You've taken a figure of speech ("most women")
ďmostĒ a figure of speech? I sure missed the memo on that one. Actually I properly did not. You just pulled an assertion out of your arse and now youíre in head long flight from the fact that you havenít got the slightest notion what most women want. Well I wonít hold that against you. Itís a tough one. But perhaps the fact that feminist organisations report epidemic depression and widespread suicide in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran when young girls are forced to wear veil, burka and shit me not (theyíd probably use scotch tape if they had any), would make you reconsider your ďmostĒ assertion by any chance?

It doesn't matter exactly how many women feel this or that way about wearing the hijab - the fact of the matter is that there is a perfectly valid feminist rationale for wearing it, and so you can't use the symbol-of-opression argument as a case for banning it.Disregarding the fact that weíre talking about children, for whom the finer details of feministic rationale is a city in Russia, that certainly depends on to which extend you think society should be governed by the principles of utilitarism and by individualism. If just one women can find some rationale for it, damn the rest. Is that your line? Well fuck a duck, but this is the human race weíre dealing with. There are weirdoes and whackoes that have rationale from anything to everything including voluntary cannibalism and listening to Britney Spears. Doesnít mean we as a society should swallow it raw. If the French regard it a misfortune for the girls to wear the religious clothing, who are you to say they are mistaken? Actually Iíd say you have taken to wearing you beloved ethnocentrism and brandishing it like a weapon.

[Ö] forcing women to not wear an article of clothing in state schools is ridiculous and does not make society less religiousWell the French apparently think so. Do you have any argument beyond proclaiming it ridiculous.

Pointing out that I think the French are contradicting their own principles is frog-bashing?No, even was it true. However you donít think accusations of ďhypocricy (sic) and ethnocentricism (sic)Ē amount to bashing? Or insinuation that it is something which they dabble in regularly? (ďsomething to which the French are no strangersĒ) Or that individual rights and freedom of expression is something the French has little of beyond pretence? (ďFrance maintains some pretense of individual rights and freedom of expressionĒ). Well do tell me when the bashing begin then, so I have time to send the children away - thatís going to be evil.

Why do so many live-and-let-live people have to stop others from doing perfectly innocent things?Quick let me answer. I know the answer! -- They donít. Stop others from doing perfectly innocent things, I mean.

See now how much you have to learn? Undoubtedly I have much to learn on Islam, bad mean oppressing Arabs, women in general and all things Aldebaran in particular. However you will notice Iím sure, that I figured this particular item out myself in the previous post. I just couldnít restrain myself from the opportunity to call you miss (donít blame me; Iím human. Weakness is my proudest credential). In any case, I canít really see mixing an American cowboy hat with your Hijab will do much for your overall fashion expression - not that Iíd ever imply your children are anything but laughing with you mind you.

[Ö]lot of Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim feeling in FranceOh I donít know about that Bib. Going on this thread Iíd say the anti-French feelings are much more prevalent. Also youíd have to have a fair amount of nerve to accuse a nation of widespread negative feelings to a people and religion of which they just took in 8 million. Supposedly the Arabs and Muslims are in France because they consider the French nation superior to that from which they came. Who knows, perhaps the French do so too (oh my! That is ethnocentrism).

From what I can make of the article they are talking about students aged 18/19 years and the two in question are from Somalian originNo they were not forced, they did it voluntary and considering their age and situation I believe them. Not that that helps them follow school and gym classes on normal conditions. (btw, the article also says they can be banned for it in Sweden. So the French is not alone). You are of course aware that my part was a direct response to Eva whom said it was only a question of the smaller head scarf. Well it isnít. And yes, these girls are fortunately 18 and 19, at which age they should be allowed to wear whatever they choose in their privacy. In public in they should expect to wear clothes within what guidelines is set up by the community. Dangermoms translation was right on the money (though the ďdiscombobulatingĒ part did discombobulate me a bit). I just included the link to show that the scarf is not the end of the story.

Wait just one cotton-picking minute hereWe have no cotton Ďround these parts. Would you consider a barley harvesting minute, or potato digging minute?


Thatís it for tonight. Iím sorry to have to put off your spanking till tomorrow Eva, but all this Arab hatred and Islamphobia is really exhausting, and this little wicked boy gotta have his rest. (hej dangermom! De er forhŚbentligt ikke onde ved dig I det store stygge Amerika)

- Rune

Eva Luna
01-22-2004, 04:20 PM
Iím sorry to have to put off your spanking till tomorrow Eva

Spanking? How paternalistic of you! (And I donít believe for a minute that youíre sorry.)

Eva Luna, one American who loves France and the French, at least all the ones sheís met so far except for the extremely rude guy at the information desk in the Gare de Lyon, whose job was supposed to be providing information and assistance to travelers such as yours truly. Because we Americans are individuals, and as such, have individual opinions, as do the FrenchÖ

(Where do you get the idea, by the way, that criticism of one proposed law is criticism of France or the French at large?)

Eva Luna
01-22-2004, 04:28 PM
You are of course aware that my part was a direct response to Eva whom said it was only a question of the smaller head scarf. Well it isnít.

P.S. I didnít say the issue was only the headscarf; I said ďAs I understand it, the burka is under discussion in a very small minority of cases.Ē I work in the legal profession and therefore pick my words very carefully. And Iíve mentioned other forms of religious headgear as well, a subject which seems largely to have been dropped, and I addressed the burka issue as well.

Sine Nomen
01-22-2004, 05:35 PM
WinstonSmith: first of all, I apologize for being hotheaded when I wrote those last two posts. As you might be able to tell, this issue really makes my blood boil.

?most? a figure of speech? I sure missed the memo on that one. Actually I properly did not. You just pulled an assertion out of your arse and now you?re in head long flight from the fact that you haven?t got the slightest notion what most women want. Well I won?t hold that against you. It?s a tough one. But perhaps the fact that feminist organisations report epidemic depression and widespread suicide in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran when young girls are forced to wear veil, burka and shit me not (they?d probably use scotch tape if they had any), would make you reconsider your ?most? assertion by any chance?

If when I said "most", I implied that I could speak authoritatively about how the majority of Muslim women feel about wearing the Hijab, I apologize for that as well. I certainly cannot. That's not really the issue, though. Replace "most" with "some" or "many", and my point is exactly the same - you can't either, and when you consider that Muslim women see it in many different ways, it doesn't make much sense to just write the Hijab off as a symbol of oppression.

Disregarding the fact that we?re talking about children, for whom the finer details of feministic rationale is a city in Russia, that certainly depends on to which extend you think society should be governed by the principles of utilitarism and by individualism. If just one women can find some rationale for it, damn the rest. Is that your line? Well fuck a duck, but this is the human race we?re dealing with. There are weirdoes and whackoes that have rationale from anything to everything including voluntary cannibalism and listening to Britney Spears. Doesn?t mean we as a society should swallow it raw. If the French regard it a misfortune for the girls to wear the religious clothing, who are you to say they are mistaken? Actually I?d say you have taken to wearing you beloved ethnocentrism and brandishing it like a weapon.

Absolutely not. My line is that neither of us (or the French) have the authority or the right to say that the Hijab is forced on any particular Muslim woman, and thus have no authority or right to say she cannot wear it. At least not on those grounds. You ask what right I have to say the French are mistaken - the more pertinent question would be what right do they have to say that in the first place? The simple fact that the current French government may hold that line is neither explanation nor justification. I think to make such a judgement would be far more ethnocentric than anything either of us have said.

Well the French apparently think so. Do you have any argument beyond proclaiming it ridiculous.

Yes. If the idea of French laicite is to make society less religious, even at the expense of individual liberties, simply forcing women to not wear an article of religious clothing isn't going to accomplish anything! If the idea of the ban is to integrate Muslims into French society, attacking something as superficial as the Hijab is avoiding the real issues - the economic status of many immigrants, language, and the reconciliation of those Islamic values that are not completely in line with French society. And as Aldebaran deftly noted, the reaction of many Muslim families will be to send their girls to private schools, which will have the effect of further separating them from French society.

No, even was it true. However you don?t think accusations of ?hypocricy (sic) and ethnocentricism (sic)? amount to bashing? Or insinuation that it is something which they dabble in regularly? (?something to which the French are no strangers?) Or that individual rights and freedom of expression is something the French has little of beyond pretence? (?France maintains some pretense of individual rights and freedom of expression?). Well do tell me when the bashing begin then, so I have time to send the children away - that?s going to be evil.

I can't really do much but apologize for this. You're exactly right, except about one thing. Saying that France maintains a pretense of individual rights and freedom of expression was not meant as a jab, although I can see how you thought it was one. I'm being completely serious - the rights of the individual are central to the French Constitution, are they not?

clairobscur
01-22-2004, 05:40 PM
I doubt if there are Muslim politicians in France who could have a say in this. (This to say: I have no clue :) )


Muslim politicians are nowhere to be found in France.


Though the government had recently the controversial idea of appointing a muslim "prefet" (a high ranking civil servant representing the government in the equivalent of a county), which opened a whole new can of worms, since despite some (late) statements to the contrary, he was appointed precisely because he was muslim, which runs contrary to all tradition, and "reeks" (from a french point of view) of positive discrimination, an idea strongly frowned upon here.




These whole issues being, by the way, entangled in what is now an open rivalry between the ambitious minister of the interior and the president, both seeming to be engaged in a popularity (read populist) contest. This rivalry, and more generally, the competition between politicians from the majority party (UMP), who are already contemplating the next presidential election isn't totally foreign to the current headscarf issue (nor to other controversial laws about for instance vagrancy, prostitution, etc...). Everybody wants to show that he's the more commited to solve (as bluntly as possible) the issues that french people are supposed to be the most worried about.


To give an example concerning the muslim "prefet", the minister first declared that the government had to appoint a muslim prefet (in order to show that the republic is very willing to integrate the muslims, doesn't discriminate against them contrarily to the accusation of the contrary following the headscarf controversy, and to give a positive example to the youth muslim population). The president immediatly stated that this would run contrary to the traditions of the republic, that public servants should be appointed only on the basis of their competences, etc.... And a couple weeks later, it appeared that a new "prefet" was appointed, and happened, out of sheer luck, to be a second generation muslim immigrant. The president is totally satisfied by this appointment, made of course only on the basis of the new "prefet" competences.


Oh! And as a result said "prefet" was targeted by a bombing (without any victim) some days later. The culprits being apparently extreme-right Breton independantists :rolleyes: (don't ask me why, I've absolutely no clue...the whole thing is becoming ludicrously messy).

Sine Nomen
01-22-2004, 05:49 PM
What about Dalil Boubakeur? He's the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, and the French government would love for him to act as a sort of emissary to French Muslims, but people seem to write him off as a government puppet.

clairobscur
01-22-2004, 05:55 PM
And as Aldebaran deftly noted, the reaction of many Muslim families will be to send their girls to private schools, which will have the effect of further separating them from French society.




Doesn't appear very likely. Most private schools in France are catholic (though since the catholic church is opposed to this new law, maybe they'll welcome hijab-wearing students, but I've some doubts...besides, i'm not sure commited muslim believers would want to attend a catholic school). AFAIK, there are two muslim private school in France. One opened last year in northern France and , IIRC, has less than a dozen students, and the other one is situated in the island of the Reunion, in the Indian Ocean, so, I doubt many candidates from mainland France will enlist there.

AFAIK, most girls who have been excluded from public schools in relation to the hijab issue in the recent years have either joined another school, either chosen to follow long-distance teaching (by a public organism, by the way) from home. Though this certainly doesn't help in integrating them, either.

clairobscur
01-22-2004, 06:11 PM
What about Dalil Boubakeur? He's the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, and the French government would love for him to act as a sort of emissary to French Muslims, but people seem to write him off as a government puppet.



He's not exactly a government puppet (though the governement indeed rely quite a lot on him) . But there's a lot of rivalry between the different muslim afffiliations in France, based mostly on two elements :

1) Moderate vs traditionnalists (Boubakeur is a moderate)

2) Possibly more important : influence games played by several governments of muslims countries (especially Morroco and Algeria, but they aren't the only ones involved in the game), which back such or such movement, provide the imams, fund such or such mosque or organization, etc... (the great mosque of Paris is founded by Algeria)


As a result, Boubakeur is controversial for a significant part of the french muslim community who thinks that he managed to take over the newly created representative council of the muslim cult, and couldn't care less about his statements. The muslim community in France is a long shot from being united, on any issue.

clairobscur
01-22-2004, 06:13 PM
What about Dalil Boubakeur? He's the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, and the French government would love for him to act as a sort of emissary to French Muslims, but people seem to write him off as a government puppet.



He's not exactly a government puppet (though the governement indeed rely quite a lot on him) . But there's a lot of rivalry between the different muslim afffiliations in France, based mostly on two elements :

1) Moderate vs traditionnalists (Boubakeur is a moderate)

2) Possibly more important : influence games played by several governments of muslims countries (especially Morroco and Algeria, but they aren't the only ones involved in the game), which back such or such movement, provide the imams, fund such or such mosque or organization, etc... (the great mosque of Paris is funded by Algeria)


As a result, Boubakeur is controversial for a significant part of the french muslim community who thinks that he managed to take over the newly created representative council of the muslim cult, and couldn't care less about his statements. The muslim community in France is a long shot from being united, on any issue.

clairobscur
01-22-2004, 06:35 PM
Something I thought I should add : most of the french muslims actually aren't very religious. A large part of them are only nominally so, vaguely believers but not actively practising their religion. I know quite a lot of muslims, most of them are believers, some of them follow the ramadan, very few actually pray regularily, none of them set a foot in a mosque.

So, you must keep in mind that a young girl actually following closely the tenets of her religion is rather an oddity over here, even amongst muslims. It seems to be part of a kind of recent revival of islam amongst second or third generation immigrants, and, I would suspect, a way of searching their roots for many who don't really feel fully "french" (and aren't really accepted as such, either) but on the other hand don't have anymore any significant link with their country of origin, and not even, quite commonly, with their culture.

This means also that their statements about things like the hijab can come as a surprise even amongst the french muslims. And also that the authorities might be worried that this revival could be in part caused, or at least instrumentalized by radical or extremist muslims who have a tendancy to recruit in disfranchised neighborhoods.

Wake up call
01-23-2004, 01:00 PM
Chappachula
These girls just want to be allowed to do what they believe God has commanded them to do.

Cite.

Please show me an opinion poll of "These girls". Have you talked to them? How much do you know about peer pressure among high school girls when it comes to what they want to wear in school during the age of 13 through 17?

Unless you can prove otherwise by showing a credible opinion poll among "These girls", then the following common sense argument applies:

1- The girls at that age want to wear what is "a la mode" in their age group in the French schools. There is a peer pressure at that age for conformity. Hijab is not "a la mode" for "These girls". I doubt if many of them would want to wear the damn thing it if it was not forced or "encouraged" by their religious parents.

2- It is the parents of "These girls" that are forcing their values and belief systems down the throat of "These girls". It is a systematic brainwashing by those parents, turning "These girls" into the slaves of Islamic male chauvinism and the parents' religious belief system, forcing "These girls" to wear what they don't really want to wear among their peers in school.

3- Just as many battered Islamic women would not admit they are being beaten by their men, if you try to get the true opinion of "These girls" about wearing hijab, you will probably end up with a distorted response due to their fear of retribution from their deeply religious parents. So, where is the freedom of expression by ďThese girlsĒ?

The culprits are those religious parents who see nothing wrong in chauvinistically forcing their personal opinions and outdated belief systems down the throat of their innocent children, brainwashing them from early age. I say, if you are religious, keep your beliefs to yourself. Let your daughter grow up with no specific religion or hijab pressures until she reaches 18 and begins to evaluate and decide for herself if God or any religion should play a role in her life.

Really Not All That Bright
01-23-2004, 01:35 PM
Well the French apparently think so. Do you have any argument beyond proclaiming it ridiculous.

Yes. It is prima facie hypocrisy. French students (under the proposed law) can wear commonly accepted symbols of belief in Christ, but not commonly acceptable (and certainly not fear-inspiring in any way; if you're really afraid of teenage girls in any style of clothing you have bigger issues than secularizing your state) symbols of belief in Allah and His Prophet and so on.


Oh I donít know about that Bib. Going on this thread Iíd say the anti-French feelings are much more prevalent. Also youíd have to have a fair amount of nerve to accuse a nation of widespread negative feelings to a people and religion of which they just took in 8 million. Supposedly the Arabs and Muslims are in France because they consider the French nation superior to that from which they came. Who knows, perhaps the French do so too (oh my! That is ethnocentrism).


You make it sound as if France's 8 million Muslims all showed up on the same boat. They've been immigrating for years, and how can you deny them a right to share in the established wealth of France? Their own territories were drained of all their resources for years by French colonial authorities.
You also make it sound as if the French are welcoming them wholeheartedly, which any (non-Muslim) Frenchman will tell you is bullshit . They hate the Algerians and they hate the Moroccans, and they're quite happy to see the Front Nationale make a comeback if it can close the ports to further immigration.

Eva Luna
01-23-2004, 04:00 PM
Cite.

Likewise, for your assertions: Cite?

Please show me an opinion poll of "These girls". Have you talked to them? How much do you know about peer pressure among high school girls when it comes to what they want to wear in school during the age of 13 through 17?

See above. How much do you know about the opinions and level of genuine personal religious belief of teenage French Muslim girls? And how do you know it?

Unless you can prove otherwise by showing a credible opinion poll among "These girls", then the following common sense argument applies:

No, if youíre making controversial assertions, you have the obligation to back them up with something if you actually expect anyone to believe them, because obviously your version of ďcommon senseĒ differs from that of several other posters in this thread, myself included.

The girls at that age want to wear what is "a la mode" in their age group in the French schools. There is a peer pressure at that age for conformity. Hijab is not "a la mode" for "These girls". I doubt if many of them would want to wear the damn thing it if it was not forced or "encouraged" by their religious parents.

ďA la modeĒ means many different things to different people. High schools are full of subgroups and cliques. Iíve known a few French high school students in my time, and they dressed in all sorts of different ways. What the athletes wear is different from what the geeks wear, or what the artists wear, etc. And some people just like to dress differently from their peers just to stand out.

And would you have an issue with high school students wearing crucifixes or stars of David? Or would you equate that to evil, oppressive forced religious observance as well?

It is the parents of "These girls" that are forcing their values and belief systems down the throat of "These girls". It is a systematic brainwashing by those parents, turning "These girls" into the slaves of Islamic male chauvinism and the parents' religious belief system, forcing "These girls" to wear what they don't really want to wear among their peers in school.

How do you know? Have you been in each and every one of these girlsí households? Have you talked to these girls and their parents? One French poster, who Iím guessing is closer to the actual events than you are, has already stated that hijab-wearing girls are a small minority even among French Muslims.

Just as many battered Islamic women would not admit they are being beaten by their men,

This statement sounds awfully bigoted to me. Or do you think that all Christian, or Jewish, or atheist women freely admit when they are being beaten by their men and prosecute every case to conviction? Thousands of police, attorneys, judges, and social workers will tell you otherwise.

if you try to get the true opinion of "These girls" about wearing hijab, you will probably end up with a distorted response due to their fear of retribution from their deeply religious parents. So, where is the freedom of expression by ďThese girlsĒ?

If you ask them outside the presence of their parents, with the protection of anonymity, you are much more likely to get a straight answer. Have you done so? Itís common practice in, you know, opinion polling or other related sociological pursuits.

The culprits are those religious parents who see nothing wrong in chauvinistically forcing their personal opinions and outdated belief systems down the throat of their innocent children, brainwashing them from early age.

Funny, Iím sure plenty of people believe the same about Catholicism, or Judaism, or LDS, or pretty much any religion you can name. Or atheism, for that matter.

I say, if you are religious, keep your beliefs to yourself.

As has been discussed several times above, the very nature of observing the religious requirement makes the observance visible to others. Or are you advocating that hijab-wearing Muslim girls/women never leave their homes, so that nobody can see them?

Let your daughter grow up with no specific religion or hijab pressures until she reaches 18 and begins to evaluate and decide for herself if God or any religion should play a role in her life.

You are free to let your own daughter do that.

Rune
01-24-2004, 03:46 PM
Nothing much to add, I havenít already done.

Again, we are talking about France, not the Middle East or Central AsiaAnd this was in a response to Sineís assertion that most women etc. In any case I donít think European girls are substantial different from any other kind of girl. So if something proves to be disagreeable for someone in Tehran chances are the same thing will be disagreeable for her sister in Marseille. And while the situations naturally are far from the same, thereís no reason we canít try to extract from one situation everything we can to teach us about another. Learn from history or repeat and all that.

Do you think parents should have no ability under the law to influence their childrenís type and degree of religious observance? Would you complain if girls wore long skirts and long-sleeved shirts in summer, because you think they are inappropriately modest? Are you going to parent everybodyís children? In fact I donít think I have stated my personal opinion anywhere and you just set me up with a strawman (or perhaps a strawmullah?). I think Iíll throw that one right back to you. Do you think parents should have unhindered right and an unlimited hand in deciding their childrenís upbringing? Arenít you your sisterís keeper? Will you complain if girls went topless to school in summer because they find it most natural and comfortable? (Well I wouldnít, but a lot would without being called gynephobic or what not) There is no comparison with skirts and long-sleeved shirts because as this discussion makes quite clear - else we wouldnít have it in the first place, the scarf and Burka etc. are clearly more that just innocent pieces of garment; they come loaded with religious, cultural and ideological baggage. If you donít object to the scarf, perhaps you would to the black body robe leaving only the face, if not perhaps the Burka covering everything including the face with a grid, if not Ö At the end of the day, we are each others business. Few people would claim no restrictions should exist at all, itís only a matter of where exactly we draw the line Ė but any place will be as arbitrary as another. No longer are children simply the property of their parents; they have rights ensured by society. Now society moves to widen those rights a bit, this is not an unheard of, revolutionary initiative, but simply another small step of a large number away from barbarism.
Canít say I much favour it, but personally, I donít really get my knickers all twisted over the scarf (not that I donít think a ban would be mostly of the good). However, as I mentioned, I find the despicable restrictive full body robes and Burkas forced on children (and by legal or social pressure on women) an abomination. A disgrace screaming to heaven of cruelty and abuse, best compared with foot-binding and female genital mutilation. And would support a ban on those both in and outside public and private schools. A burka, besides all the implied ideological baggage and rubbish of extreme segregation, suppression, chauvinism, sexual implications, etc., is also physical much worse than long skirts and blouses because it restricts movement more, as well as sight and hearing.

I never thought I was the center of the universe[Ö]Oh, I didnít mean much of anything with those little remarks (least of all accusations of insensitiveness? I think sensitivity is much overvalued), except a bit of fun and as an opener to point out, that restrictions on clothes based on their sexiness, are no less arbitrary or objectively defendable than restrictions on religious garments Ė provided we donít invoke the religious argument. (Btw. Never having been to America, 100% of Americans I have met were either travelling or emigrants. I have personally only ever known one American whom I stayed with for half a year in London, and she was a self-proclaimed communist and proselytizing atheist and from Florida no less. Extrapolating from her Iíd venture a typical America is some kind of pagan commie with odd sexual habits and a weak spot for French champagne and all night techno raves. Probably sheís called Laura. Am I close?)

And again, Iíve seen no reasonable or satisfactory answer regarding why the hijab is suddenly a problem in France, while other religious headgear (kippot, and whatever Sikh headgear is called) has not historically been seen as a problem. Both are just as visible as a hijab. This is what a French friend tells me: There are very few Sikhs in France. Christians and Jews have historically learned to accept the restrictions of the secular Republic. Islam is a, historically speaking, fairly new element in French society and as such has yet to accommodate itself to secularism. Additional, small catholic medallions and crosses are not really interpreted as religious objects but merely jewellery neither prescribed nor demanded by Christian doctrine whereas scarves are bona fida religious symbols Ė wherefore theyíre incompatible with the ideal of the irreligious public room. Moreover crosses are not considered conspicuous. Btw. The ban is not limited to the pupils. Also teachers (and other public functionaries) are restricted, and are so in several other European countries (a case from Austria went all the way to the European Humans Right court). Also Turkey has had a similar, more restrictive even, ban for much of century. Why is it everyone suddenly gets all distressed when France decides to follow suit. Calling Turkey Islam-phobic is kinda absurd.
Were it just an innocent piece of garment thereíd be no problem, however the garment signals things no nine year old girl can (nor should) relate to in any meaningful way.

[Ö]girl who has reached reproductive age, to paraphrase Britney Spears, is no longer a girl, but not yet a woman. (See above; Iíve not seen any stories in which full veiling of six-year-old girls is being discussed, as I donít believe thatís the case even in rural Saudi Arabia.) She is reaching the age where she should be in the process of learning to think for herself. Religious observance is one of the issues with which adults, and those in the process of becoming adults, frequently grapple. Deciding to what degree you will respect the choices your parents would like to make for you is part of becoming an adult. Or would you have thought my mother was oppressing my sister when she decided not to let her, at the age of twelve, wear full makeup and miniskirts and tight spandex shirts to school, or have boys in the house unchaperoned? Certainly sage Spears is a moral pillar whose credentials are impeccable, but I must say Iíll not bend to an appeal to authority argument. I have heard of cases involving girls from the age of six (but am I correct in assuming you would look more favourable on a ban if we were talking of six year old girls? And if so what is your cut-off age?). Regardless, if I remember correctly, here (your local mileage may vary) the average age of first menstruation is 12.3 years or thereabouts. Now I donít know how you define women but in my book 12 is not it. In any case, the average covers variations from 7-8 to 16-17 years (lately there has been some consternation because the low end is becoming more the norm and nobody seems to know why). These are no ages to be imposed adult sexuality, merciless segregated or (not talking scarves) severely restricted in your movements, vision and hearing. Also, while they may have free-choice on some abstract level removed from reality, expecting girls (children) of this age to put up any real opposition against parents, family and community is not really realistic (do they even have a legal right, when not of legal age?), especially considering the way the cards are massively stacked against her. (Donít see how your example is relevant. It would be relevant if your mother decided to outfit your sister with miniskirts and the school said no-way. Actually some schools in Denmark have lately seen themselves forced to set up restrictive guidelines on clothes because some girls took to wearing too (according to them) sexy clothes in school. How is that different in substance? Chaperone the boys is kinda strange though, isnít it?)

[Ö]but the whole point is that the state has no business interfering in the private moral or religious choices of individualsAnd this is where Europe and America part ways. While I agree in principle, I do not hold to the unfettered individualism you seem to advocate, especially when those choices have unfortunate consequence. Also you insist itís a free choice, but I still canít see how you can claim 7,8,9, etc. girls have any real freedom in such a matter. Perhaps the state infringes on the parents unrestricted rule over their children, hardly over the childrenís private choice.

[Ö]hijab is prohibited in public schools, those parents with strong opinions on the matter will just put their daughters in private schoolsWell, I donít know. The extremists perhaps, but theyíre already unreachable. Meanwhile the majority will, after the whole thing settles a bit down, follow the rules without much ado. In any case this goes to the effectiveness of a ban, and not the moral right, which is another discussion from that weíve been having here.

[Ö]just because you see it that way doesnít mean that the scarf-wearer does.Did I forget to mention Iím the centre of the universe, all things measure?

As discussed above, we are not discussing six-year-old girls. The hijab is required precisely at the point when girls reach sexual maturity.Six, seven, .. twelve. Well that certainly depends on what you mean by sexual maturity. If you mean physical able to conceive (if not bear children without complications) you are correct. If you mean physiological as well as mentally ready to be sexual active. Then 7-12 is nowhere close. For those who think 7-12 year old girls possess an irresistible sexual power that must be controlled by bulky, covering, restrictive clothes, well theyíre sick and thatís that.

- Rune

Rune
01-24-2004, 04:37 PM
[Ö]first of all, I apologizeNo worries, Iím sure I read something that wasnít there.

Iím ethnocentric. Iím proud to be European and consider European civilisation the best thing since sliced bread. If I see something in another culture or religion I severely dislike (as child abuse), Iíll not back off and write it off in a book titled cultural relativism.

[Ö]it doesn't make much sense to just write the Hijab off as a symbol of oppression.I havenít written it off as such a symbol - entirely and for all people. Mostly Iíve argued it, and especially the more restrictive robes and burkas, have no place on children, because for the majority (my judgment) it is oppression. Whether a ban is ineffectual or even counterproductive is of course something to consider. But ineffective rules is hardly something to get upset about. The right of the individual can be protected on many different levels. Some would say it is exactly protecting the individual to create a society wherein children are not forced to be miserable because someone finds them intolerantly sexual, whereas standing back would be considered to dodge responsibility. Whose individual rights should be protected when they clash, the child or the parents? The same arguments can be used against passing laws forbidding corporal punishment of children by their parents, and all other checks on parentís unlimited rule.

I, for one, am an atheist, and oppose this purely on the grounds that it violates the freedom of expressionNo doubt the French system is biased. Itís biased against religion and for secularism. As an atheist I just donít see what it is specifically about religious symbols you get so upset about. I have a daughter in school, and while it has not a ban on veils it does have a ban on symbols to do with football clubs, some gang markings, as well as some kind of restriction on revealing clothes I believe. What is it about religious symbols that get your blood boiling while leaving it unaffected by all the other restrictions? Some root for Jesus, some root for Allah and some root for Manchester United. Surely one is as good as the other for an atheist.

- Rune

Rune
01-24-2004, 04:50 PM
[Ö]if you're really afraid of teenage girls in any style of clothing you have bigger issues than secularizing your stateIím afraid youíre projecting your own fears and insecurities Dutchie. Perhaps psychotherapy can help you get past it?

You make it sound as if France's 8 million Muslims all showed up on the same boat. They've been immigrating for years, and how can you deny them a right to share in the established wealth of France? Their own territories were drained of all their resources for years by French colonial authorities.
You also make it sound as if the French are welcoming them wholeheartedly, which any (non-Muslim) Frenchman will tell you is bullshit . They hate the Algerians and they hate the Moroccans, and they're quite happy to see the Front Nationale make a comeback if it can close the ports to further immigrationAbraham! (no ethnocentrism here, heís a VIP in both Judaism, Islam and Christianity) Dutchboy. Lay off the Marxist theory will you. Iím not denying anybodyís rightful share in any wealth. Merely point out thereís a reason Arabs and French alike prefer France and that France is rich while the middle-east by and large is poor, and that reason has a lot to do with the miserable position of women in the middle-east, a thing the scarf symbolizes quite adequately. It would be stupid for them to move to France and there again repeat all over again the same mistakes that made them move there in the first place. There is a version of Islam that does not need to merciless segregate, isolate and suppress women Ė which is a religion with many admirable traits much to be respected, and there is a version of Islam that takes pleasure in the misery of women Ė which is a religion that should, if youíd pardon my ethnocentrism, be flushed down the loo like yesterdays goldfish.

- Rune

Rune
01-24-2004, 04:53 PM
Abraham on a pongo stick! I screwed up the quotes in that last one. All the quotes should be from dutchboy208, not Sine Normen. Sloppy me!

TeaElle
01-25-2004, 12:04 PM
An abaya, worn with or without niqab, differs from the burqa which not only covers women all over but in addition leaves for the eyes only a sort of needle work with some holes in (Sorry, canít describe it better in English).It's best described as mesh.

For illustrative purposes, so that everyone is aware of what's being discussed:

This is a woman in a hijab (http://www.islamfortoday.com/images/kawthar.gif). Apparently, they are worn (in some instances) by little girls, though in all cases I've seen, young(er) girls wear light, solid-colored hijab rather than black or patterned ones favored by older women, like these two (http://www.reflections.org.au/images/girls6.gif), this group (http://www10.brinkster.com/butlerd/Hijab_Girls.jpg) or this girl (http://www.zawaj.com/siddiqua/images/smiling_young_girl.jpg). Those images seem exemplary of exactly what the French wish to ban from their schools. I should note that the photo of the group of little girls in hijab would seem to indicate that it is part of the required uniform of an Islamic school where they are students, (note that they and the girls in the background are all wearing similar tan dresses) and the little girl with glasses is probably also at an Islamic school, based on the website.

I fail to see where this represents a threat to anything, be it Frenchness, other students' education, the price of tea in China or the chance of camels successfully launching a rocket to the moon.
AFAIK, most girls who have been excluded from public schools in relation to the hijab issue in the recent years have either joined another school, either chosen to follow long-distance teaching (by a public organism, by the way) from home. Though this certainly doesn't help in integrating them, either.If the issue is pushed and this law goes through, doesn't it seem likely that there will be other Muslim (and Jewish) schools opened? Perhaps in short order? Or are there sufficient bureaucratic hurdles to opening private schools in France as to prevent this from happening?
Unless you can prove otherwise by showing a credible opinion poll among "These girls", then the following common sense argument applies:

1- The girls at that age want to wear what is "a la mode" in their age group in the French schools. There is a peer pressure at that age for conformity. Hijab is not "a la mode" for "These girls". I doubt if many of them would want to wear the damn thing it if it was not forced or "encouraged" by their religious parents.Wow, presumptuous much? Do you know any young people who have been raised in religious homes, particularly religions which have standards of dress and modesty within their communities? These girls are, generally speaking, not nearly as concerned with temporal and frivolous things like fashion and "fitting in" outside of their community because they've got a built in support system which doesn't put emphasis on such things and girls from outside their faith who are their friends aren't likely to be the kind to exert pressure on them about those things.
Let your daughter grow up with no specific religion or hijab pressures until she reaches 18 and begins to evaluate and decide for herself if God or any religion should play a role in her life.What, someone under 18 is incapable of making any decision on their own? (Better call up the Catholics and have them cancel confirmations for 14 year olds, and immediately put a stop to all of those Bar and Bat mitvahs, too. Those 13 year olds are far too young to make such choices!) Family unity is unimportant in matters of faith, parents should go to services and leave the kids at home so as to not influence them? What fantasy land are you living in?