Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Phyllis Chesler on the irony of those protests

Women are fighting in the streets of Paris. Alas, they are not fighting against Islamic gender apartheid—they are not protesting arranged marriage or honor killings. Instead, they are fighting for the right to veil their faces. On April 11th, two veiled women were arrested for participating in an illegal demonstration about this issue. Sixty-one people were arrested for the same reason this past weekend. It is the 21st century, and people are protesting the French government’s ban against the niqab and burqa (full-face veil) which just went into effect.
Vive La France!

It is important to note that France has not banned the headscarf (hijab) and that the French ban is not specific to Islam. The French law is ethnicity- and religion-neutral and refers only to a generic “face-covering.” In 2004, France became the first European country to legally restrict all religious clothing in public schools: veils, visible Christian crosses, Jewish skullcaps, and hijab were forbidden in public schools.

What does this ban mean for the West?

The burqa is not a friendly garment. Surely, wearing a headscarf and dressing modestly would constitute a far friendlier face of Islam in the West. And, a more egalitarian face as well. Muslim men, both religious and secular, wear modern, Western clothing. Why do Muslim women alone have to bear the burden of representing 7th century Islam? Why is Paris, of all places, looking more and more like Mecca, Teheran, or Kabul? Hasn’t just such “multi-culturalism” been pronounced a failure by many European leaders?
Read the whole piece. Well worth it.

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