General Question

Austinlad's avatar

Do you agree with the French Parliament Ban on Islamic Face Veils?

Asked by Austinlad (16313points) July 13th, 2010

Personally, I think it’s a legal and social travesty that is certain to anger and alienate Muslims around the world even more. What’s your take?

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15 Answers

bob_'s avatar

I agree with you.

poofandmook's avatar

what is their reason?

Austinlad's avatar

Sorry, I should have given more information. The reason they give is “to define and protect French values.” Probably a more honest reason is because “President Nicolas Sarkozy has resorted to xenophobia to attract far-right voters.” Here’s the link to the article.

tinyfaery's avatar

We already discussed this. Link.

Austinlad's avatar

My apologies for restarting a previous thread, and thank you for pointing out my error, @tinyfaery.

HTDC's avatar

Well when you think about it, a woman can’t go to Afghanistan, for example, and walk around in shorts and a t-shirt because it’s against their religion and local culture, so why would they expect that it’s okay to come to a western country (i.e. America) and tell women that what they’re wearing is wrong or against their beliefs? (Not that all Muslim women would openly say that).

I think they’re expecting double standards just because of their religion. Sure western freedom says they are allowed to wear the veil, but if they’re not expecting the same in return when we visit their country, why should we bother being so accepting or tolerant of it?

I think the banning of the veil is just a protest against Islam, not just because it oppresses women, but considering what goes on in those countries under Islamic law, I don’t see this as a bad thing.

That’s just one point of view though, you don’t have to agree.

harple's avatar

The key issue for me, and I have lived in Bradford in the past, is that if these women are not allowed to be seen in public without their face veils – whether that’s allowed by religion, or by their husbands/families – then they will become prisoners in their own homes. Thus a ban is the most oppressive thing a government can do.

Austinlad's avatar

@HTDC. I take your point. Thanks for the different perspective. Ain’t that what’s so great about Fluther?!

poofandmook's avatar

But @harple has a great point too.

Qingu's avatar

@HTDC, because our culture, unlike the culture of Afghanistan, is supposedly “free” and founded on the ideals that adult human beings should generally be able to do what they want.

That includes dressing like ghosts in public and believing in 7th century fairy tales.

The fact that the Islamic world has a double standard doesn’t excuse not living up to our own ideals.

@harple, you make an excellent point. I’d also add that: I’m sure some Muslim women are forced to wear the veil through violence or threat of violence. I’m also sure that some Muslim women choose to wear the veil on their own. I actually think there’s a danger here, in seeking to protect Muslim women, of implicitly labeling all such women as incapable of making choices of their own. Women, like men, can choose to belong to bizarre and regressive cults—and they should have the right to do so, like men. The idea that we’re banning the burqa to “protect women from oppression” is absurd.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No but I also don’t understand French culture or national history much. Maybe the law of their land states it’s okay to discourage other ethnic influences and customs.

citizenearth's avatar

Yes, of course. Definitely. France has every right too.

mattbrowne's avatar

Veils/headscarfes to cover hair are fine if women want to wear them. But a veil is not required to prevent women from being looked at as a sex object as many Muslims would argue, because this is the problem of ignorant men – and foolish men should not be the reason for women to turn into faceless ghosts whenever they are in public. If anyone has to change it’s the men, not the women. When I look at women I see human beings, not sex objects. Good parenting is required to raise boys so that they become mature men. When I look at a beautiful women I see beauty. When women look at attractive men, they see beauty too. No big deal.

Dehumanizing people by taking their faces away is very wrong in my opinion. Facial expressions are a form of nonverbal communication. They are a primary means of conveying social information among humans. There are seven universally recognized emotions shown through facial expressions: fear, anger, surprise, contempt, disgust, happiness, and sadness. Regardless of culture, these expressions are the same.

Face perception is the process by which the brain and mind understand and interpret the human face. Mirror neurons help humans understand goals and intentions of other humans and many researchers argue that the mirror neuron system is involved in empathy. The human face’s proportions and expressions are important to identify origin, emotional tendencies, health qualities, and some social information. From birth, faces are important in the individual’s social interaction. Face perceptions are very complex as the face expressions involve vast involvement of areas in the brain. Sometimes damaged parts of the brain can cause specific impairments in understanding faces or prosopagnosia (Source: Wikipedia).

As I said there’s no problem for women wearing a headscarf either as a symbol for religion or to keep the head warm in winter. There is a problem with face veils and moderate Muslim women should come up with creative strategies to make this unfortunate tradition disappear. Face-hiding garments are wrong except when walking to the south pole or riding a motorcycle at high speeds.

Women should participate in public life, show their faces and have a significant influence in society. Showing their faces in private is not enough. Faces is what makes us human. As social creatures we rely on face perception. Therefore taking faces away is a way of dehumanizing people. To me a burqa symbolizes a mobile prison. Not even the eyes are visible through the bars of the women’s tiny prison windows.

In Western countries we got dress codes too. In a city it’s not appropriate to run around naked and it’s also not appropriate to run around fully cloaked. This has little to do with religion. It’s a matter of culture and dress code. When Western women travel to Iran, for example as journalists, they respect the local dress code which means wearing a headscarf. This is okay. We should respect that. But we also want some respect when it comes to our culture and our dress codes in Western countries.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
plethora's avatar

@HTDC @mattbrowne I agree with both of you totally
@harple The govt is not the oppressor here. Muslim men and their religion are the oppressors.

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