French Hijab Ban: Cover Up… But Not Religiously
In 2004, the government in France took a vote and the results were 494 to 36, in favor of banning the wearing of the Islamic hijab, headscarf, in public. Since then, many Muslims have been fined for wearing their religious clothing in public, riots have started, and legal measures have been taken. Not only has this religious intolerance occurred in France, but bans on steeples on mosques in Switzerland have been put in effect and government officials in other European countries have expressed their “anxiety” for certain religious fashion. This banning of religious symbols is backed up with words of protection and nonreligious government entanglement, but what officials are unaware of is that this stigmatization of people causes human rights to disappear, and oppression and intolerance to rise.
When the ban was placed, French President Nicolas Sarkozy preached for the hopeful end of tensions between European Muslims and non-Muslims. Sarkozy also stated that it would protect the “dignity of women”, and others said that it should be enacted to protect French pride and allegiance. But this alienation of a religious group inhibits personal and religious freedom, and expresses large discrimination. These anti-immigrant sentiments weaken society by eroding democracy and human rights. (Cardin)
Even though the ban is mainly centered in France, it has bled out to other European countries. To most Muslim women in Britain the hijab liberates them and frees them from men’s predatory gaze, sexism, and the pressure of consumer culture. These women also feel that this expression of identity is under threat. They feel that the ban is due to a fear of integration and immigration and that it oppresses their culture by banning who they simply are. (Margaronis)
Voltaire once stated, “Prejudices are what fools use for reason” (qtd. in Cardin). This ban was based on prejudices and intolerance, but is sugar coated to portray...
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