Liberation or Racism?

The French government is at it again. France’s lower house just passed a law that would make it illegal for women to wear the full Islamic veil (burqa or niqab) in public. It would fine women 150 euros for not complying. Sundari posted on this issue back in February, and now this attack on religious freedom has come one step closer to being the law of the land as the bill passed 335 to 1 in the National Assembly this week. The bill would have to be ratified in September by the Senate to become law.

Proponents of the law say the National Assembly vote is a victory for democracy and French Values. Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie stated it was a victory for, “Values of freedom against all the oppressions which try to humiliate individuals; values of equality between men and women, against those who push for inequality and injustice.”

What about the value to practice your religion freely and express your identity (religious or otherwise) through what you wear? Madeline Bunting, in a great column in the UK’s Guardian today, stated: “Women wearing the skimpiest of mini-skirts sit down on buses next to other women in saris, business suits, salwar kameez. None of these cultural codes expressed in dress are regarded as the business of the state. Nor should they be.”

Bunting continues, “French politicians insisted on Tuesday that women need to be liberated from the full veil. Forcing people to be free has a long and undistinguished history well described by many, including George Orwell yet too many times an age is blinded by its own prejudices and forgets that liberation can never be imposed.”

This isn’t about whether we think wearing burqas or niqabs is a good idea or not. The issue is whether a government should be able to impose its notion of national identity on its citizens (and non-citizens for that matter). Sikhs in France are all too familiar with the confines of French identity. This new law is a disturbing development that further pushes the French government’s racist, assimilationist assertion of a homogeneous French identity– all in the name of liberation.



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412 Responses to “Liberation or Racism?”

  1. Sher says:

    Adina Beg….enemy of Sikh "

    Not really, most of his career as doab subedar he patronised sikhs. at one stage even Jassa S Ramgarhia was in his army.

    Mahadji Scindi and Nana Phadnavis …. i need to study these two more post B-o-Panipat. whatever i have read about Mahadji, he was a great warrior who defeated the British, Hyderabad Nizam, etc.
    Sher

    Shivaji escaped from prison of Aurangzeb "

    i guess you cannot wage battle from an enemy prison.

  2. Sher says:

    Adina Beg….enemy of Sikh "

    Not really, most of his career as doab subedar he patronised sikhs. at one stage even Jassa S Ramgarhia was in his army.

    Mahadji Scindi and Nana Phadnavis …. i need to study these two more post B-o-Panipat. whatever i have read about Mahadji, he was a great warrior who defeated the British, Hyderabad Nizam, etc.
    Sher

    Shivaji escaped from prison of Aurangzeb "

    i guess you cannot wage battle from an enemy prison.

  3. H S says:

    We don't call Indian govt. as Hindu Govt. of Hindu Nationalists for no reason. Here's the proof how Hindu stooges are picked up by RSS and made to run India from Delhi as Union ministers in garb of so called 'secular' democracy:
    "http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=358&page=10"

    See him saying that to be Indian means to be Hindu (expect Muslims).

  4. H S says:

    We don't call Indian govt. as Hindu Govt. of Hindu Nationalists for no reason. Here's the proof how Hindu stooges are picked up by RSS and made to run India from Delhi as Union ministers in garb of so called 'secular' democracy:
    "http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=358&page=10"

    See him saying that to be Indian means to be Hindu (expect Muslims).

  5. H S says:

    LOL Sher, your reasoning and approach to comments are like a small kid – "I will do it my way" kind!

    Anyways, you didn't show up on "Letter from Kashmir" post where I put comments for you to show you your dirty face in the mirror. Well its not your problem. The problem lies on your teachers and masters at Saraswati Shishu Mandir, run by RSS, where you are fed daily dose of hatred against minorities and brain washed with concocted history. Its the fault of your school or your gurus who brain washed you into a Hindu zealot. And its the fault of your hollow arrogant pride about everything Hindu which has closed your eyes and mind to analyze situations in a rational manner.

  6. H S says:

    LOL Sher, your reasoning and approach to comments are like a small kid – "I will do it my way" kind!

    Anyways, you didn't show up on "Letter from Kashmir" post where I put comments for you to show you your dirty face in the mirror. Well its not your problem. The problem lies on your teachers and masters at Saraswati Shishu Mandir, run by RSS, where you are fed daily dose of hatred against minorities and brain washed with concocted history. Its the fault of your school or your gurus who brain washed you into a Hindu zealot. And its the fault of your hollow arrogant pride about everything Hindu which has closed your eyes and mind to analyze situations in a rational manner.

  7. […] controversial new French law that bans Muslim women from wearing the niqab, or full-face veil, was enforced and met with resistance today in Paris. The New York Times […]

  8. Swedish House Mafia headlining the last day of EDC. 36 degrees

  9. Bondorenko says:

    The problem is not so much religion, but ethnicity. Traditional European Muslim groups as Bosnians or Tatars have modernized with the rest of the European population. Quite sure marriages between Tatars and Russians are as common and successful as intra-ethnic relationsships for these groups. At the other side, marriages between French and North-Africans are much more problematic because of the considerable cultural differences. There is a problematical history between these groups that has not been resolved, remember the football match of French-Algeria in Paris where the French hymne was booed by French-Algerians. That's just the top of the iceberg.

  10. […] laws that ban the wearing of the burqa and niqab in European countries. We’ve talked about France before, where the implementation of its law banning Muslim face covering began this past spring. Now […]

  11. Voiceofreason says:

    I don't understand the context of the other religions, but being a Muslim woman, I know very well that the niqab is basically a result of enforcement by the men of what is saudi arabia today most definately historically as an abuse of women's rights, reducing them in importance. An example of perpetuation of the stupidity is: an idiot called Gen Zia ul Haq encouraged the zealots in Pakistan to gain power so he could manipulate them, he died they stayed and now the backward principles put into place have taken root in many ways, this being one of them. It doesn't have any rational or spiritual reason. Look it up if you don't believe me.

    All this to say: I'm quite glad of the enforcement of the ban, it may be creating issues, and unjustifiable ill-treatment by passersby etc., but try to understand my perspective when I say it is the smaller price for betterment of the many in the long run. The implications are far far beyond the issue of the cloth.

    Enforcement by *people* brought it in to begin with, it is enforcement that will kick it out of our systems.

  12. […] Perhaps it was appropriate that Kenney made the announcement in French-speaking Quebec as his justification for limiting religious freedom is almost identical to that of France, which has outlawed the niqab in public and hijabs and turbans in the classroom (and on government-issued ID). Canada appears to be going the way of Europe in pushing forward an ethnocentric notion of national identity in the name of liberating women. […]

  13. […] here at The Langar Hall (as Jodha did on Monday), and it’s been at times disturbing to see comments on our posts reflecting the anti-Muslim sentiment in our community. Some who consistently make it a point to […]

  14. gmail.com says:

    Thank you for your opinion and I am grateful for the contribution. Thank you very much.

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