Sunday, November 24, 2019

France and the Hijab Essays

France and the Hijab Essays France and the Hijab Essay France and the Hijab Essay The Muslim headscarf (hijab) possesses its religious significance from the Qur’an, which is the Word of God told by the Prophet Muhammad. Though the specificities of how much the headscarf covers varies in different countries, those who choose to wear it use the Qur’an as a source of God’s command. The variance of how much the headscarf should cover arises from the different interpretations of a vary vague quote in the Koran that addresses this issue: â€Å"And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms†¦Ã¢â‚¬  Through self-interpretation, these coverings can range from a simple headscarf (only covers the hair) to an Afghani burqa (covers the entire body, only leaving a mesh screen for the woman to see). The significance of the hijab for Muslim women who wear it varies greatly. For some, it is a way of demonstrating dedication to Islam; for others, it symbolizes worship and identity. Another interpretation reveals that â€Å"the purpose of the hijab is not to constrain women or to represent women’s inferiority,† which is a common interpretation of the hijab, â€Å"†¦[but] rather, it is to be worn as a protection from the gaze of males and to avoid being judged based on appearances. On February 10th, 2004, the National Assembly in France banned the wearing of all religious symbols, the Muslim headscarf (hijab) being their primary target, by students attending public, primary, and secondary schools. The passing of this legislation stirred a controversy related to weather this law infringes on a populations basic human rights as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). : In this article, the freedom of expression, to an education, and to a manifestation of religion in practice and observance as outlined in articles 18, 19, and 27 of the UDHR, respectively, will be investigated in order to determine whether the legislation passed by the French government rids young Muslim girls of their basic human rights. ANALYSIS The banning of the hijabs in France encounters the dilemma of whether or not it is infringing the freedom of expression. In article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it states â€Å"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. † French citizens in agreement with the legislation dispute that the hijab has been forced unto Muslim women, restricting their ability to express themselves, and symbolizing their inferiority to men. However, the Islamic community argues that the hijab expresses a Muslim woman’s beliefs in chastity, modesty and Islamic identity. Furthermore, those in favor of the ban suggest that the headscarf provokes extremist Islamic-terrorists. The Muslim headscarf, for most Muslims, is a religious obligation. Thus, on the contrary, it is simply seen as expression of obedience to the laws of the religion. The freedom to receive an education is another obstacle that the passing of this bill encounters. According to the first section of Article 26 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to a free education at the fundamental stages of development. One of the main objectives of the hijab ban by the French government was to preserve France’s ideal of being a nation of assimilated culture. This is mirrored within the French public education system as it is geared towards universalizing its cultural ideals, and thus indirectly repressing underrepresented groups such as Islam. In this particular attempt to instill French culture within the young Muslim population, it has caused them to ultimately choose between their religion and their education. In response, individuals opposing the ban raise the argument that a repression of cultures can have a detrimental effect on a child’s ability to develop. Meira Levinson very fittingly expresses that schools provide a very unique social space in which children can be distant from their household customs and values and can be exposed to different religious backgrounds of other children. Attempting to repress these cultural differences at schools restricts this ideal environment in which children can develop. French citizens in support of the ban suggest that Muslim women who feel the need to wear the hijab have the option of attending private schools. However, Gereluk disputes that there are two problems associated with enrolling in private school. Firstly, private schools can often be fairly pricy and registration can be very competitive. Annual fee’s for private schools in France of 2,500 is very common. The second issue deals with the creation of a more homogenous setting in both private and public schools. Children in both private public schools will lack the benefit of being among a more diverse community of children. Finally, the liberty to practice an individual’s religion of choice is another factor that needs to be taken into account in relation to the banning of hijabs. Freedom of religion is ensured in Article 18 of the UDHR as it states that every individual has the right to â€Å"manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. † Supporters of the ban insist that the ban is implemented in order to free Muslim women from being forced to wear the hijab. However, For many Muslim women, wearing the hijab is a way of teaching their religion by means of putting into practice the religious ideals of chastity, modestly, and obedience as outlined in the Muslim faith. Furthermore, Muslim women voice how the hijab gives them a feeling of closeness to the Prophet Muhammad. This nearness to the Prophet was explained by a 32-year-old Algerian woman named Alba: â€Å"When I hijab I feel good. I feel [pause] near Prophet. I know I can remove hijab, but [pause] when I wear I show other people that I with him. I teach daughter to do same thing [pause] to show love for Prophet and hijab†(Croucher, 2008). It is evident that the banning of the hijab infringes on the right for Muslim women to partake in all aspects of Islam. DISUSSION Conflicting opinions arise when examining weather or not the banning of hijabs in public, primary, and secondary schools is a violation of human rights. It becomes evident, however, that the rights of Muslim women have been violated when investigating the basic human right to a freedom of expression, education, and religious practice. As Muslim women view the hijab to be an expression of their chastity, modesty, and personal identity it becomes evident that the ban restricts Muslim women from illustrating their inner selves. On an educational perspective, the ban forces Muslim girls to choose between religious obedience and education, rather then harmonizing the two to establish a powerful environment for fundamental child development. Finally, it becomes apparent that the ban restricts Muslim girls from practicing some of the essential principles of Islam. The hypothesis has been validated; the banning of hijabs in French schools violates every humans right to express themselves, to receive education during the development stages of life, and to practice an individual’s religion to its fullest extent. The primary focus of this study was to exemplify the injustice of the banning of hijabs in France. In doing so, it further displayed the importance of the hijab in Muslim culture. REFERENCES 1) justlanded. com/english/France/France-Guide/Education/Private-schools-in-France

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