everything and nothing. not really sure yet.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Veils and things

I live in England. Over here, there's been a lot of debate over the veils muslim women wear to cover the face. This is because a government minister (Jack Straw) said that he asks women if they wouldn't mind uncovering their faces at advice surgeries he holds for the residents of his constituency (the district he represents in parliament). It must be noted that he said that virtually every woman does uncover her face. Many people have been offended by his comments, and claim that he's preventing people from practicing their religion - which is fine, except that Muslim women are not commanded to cover their faces. It says in the Qur'an that all muslims should "dress modestly", and the headscarf is part of that, but the veil covering the face in addition to the headscarf is optional and not compulsory. It is wrong to say that Jack Straw was attempting to prevent people from practicing their religion. That said, I do not support banning the veil. I can definitely understand that it's hard to talk to someone who's mouth is covered, but I'm not sure if you can ban people from wearing a particular garment. Britain is a country without separation of church and state which allows things like state funded faith schools. This is different to France, for instance, where they take separation of church and state so seriously that one cannot wear religious clothing/artifacts in a government building. They also only have two recognised religions in France - Christianity and Judaism - despite the rather large Muslim minority. Because the British system is so different from the French system, I can't see how one can justify banning a particular piece of religious parafanalia from a state-owned building/state sponsored event - you certainly can't ban people from wearing it in the street, as long is it doesn't affect other people in a physical way. All this talk of "the dangers of the veil" is playing towards the right-wing nationalist yobs and thugs out there who go about pulling veils off women's faces and assaulting people for "not acting British". Well, thats as long as I can keep on speaking in one go, so I once again bid you Adieu.


Blogger Richard said...

I pretty much agree. Here's a link to some Muslim perspectives on the issue from across UK:

10:35 pm


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