What you’re allowed to wear in France

 

Since 2011, France has had a ban on the burqa (a garment worn by women in some islamic societies). A french woman recently challenged this law and this is what the court ruled;

The European Human Rights court ruled that a ban of the burqa and the niqab, did not contradict the European Convention of Human Rights. Alison Lesley. Source 

I think forcing someone to wear a burqa is a human rights violation, but what about forcing them to not wear it? Western values on religious freedoms usually seem to say as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone a religious tradition should be allowed. However, this recent ruling doesn’t seem to reflect that. Does the French government consider this an issue of safety?

Islamic immigration to Europe is a controversial topic. I do not know enough about the situation to pick any sides. What do you think about the ruling?

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  2 comments for “What you’re allowed to wear in France

  1. Gahel
    July 3, 2014 at 2:12 am

    The law that was passed in 2011 does not explicitly forbide to wear the burqa: it forbides to cover one’s face in public places. It concerns so on the burqa, the niqab, but also any kind of mask or the Ku Kux Klan outfit.

    The term “burqa” is actually inadequate for the situation in Europe.
    The “burqa” is a blue veil that covers the whole body except the eyes’ region that is covered by a grid. It is traditionally worn by women in Pashtu-dominated regions in Afghanistan. It was abandoned with the time, but as the Taliban came to power in the mid-1990s, women were forced to wear it again. I have never seen a woman wearing it in Europe. In fact all female Afghani refugees that I have ever met do not wear any islamic veil at all…

    Niqab, which is often black and covers all the face except the eyes, is the real problem in Europe.
    Niqab is worn by salafi muslims, ie fundamentalist islamists who have a very litteral interpretation of the K’uran. The salafists want to live as the Prophet Mohammed was living back in the 6th century A.D, or more accurately as what they thought to be the way of live of the Prophet. The salafi are actually a very conservative sect within Islam.
    This kind of islamism comes from Saudi Arabia (THE traditional allie of the US in the Middle-East), were the niqab is compulsory.

    Salafism is very dangerous and is expanding in the so-called “muslim world”. Countries like Tunisia, which has a very modern and secular tradition since the independence from France in 1956, had to struggle with very violent extremist salafist groups since the 2011 revolution : They tried to impose their rules at the University of Tunis, they burnt down traditional mausoleums, because to them Islam forbides any kind of tombstone, they killed Human Rights activists, etc.

    Around 2000 women in France wear the niqab. Some of them have a muslim background, but a important proportion of them are white women who convert to salafism. The niqab has actually nothing to do with “islamic immigration”, it is a matter of religious extremism.

    Niqab’s problem is that it covers the whole face and so one cannot recognizes one’s face and it is a security threat. Robberies and attacks have been perpetuated by women (but also men!) wearing a niqab as “undercover mask”, in Saudi Arabia, but also in the UK.

    Covering one’s face is consequently forbidden in France, because it threatens the security, and the fact that a person says she covers her face because of “God’s will” doesn’t change anything to that.

    In a secular state, the common law should have priority to the different religious laws, especially if these laws threaten the common secular framework, which allows everybody to live peacefully together, regardless of their religious beliefs/opinions.

    And the niqab threatens this idea of “living together” : that’s why the French government banned it and that’s why the European Court for Human Rights gave reason to the France in its judgement a few days ago.

    • July 3, 2014 at 2:57 am

      Thank you for the insightful comment!

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