Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My fellow women beware … in France you have no freedom of choice!

Yesterday President Nicolas Sarkozy addressed both houses of parliament and during his speech he showed his support to banning the Niqb (a veil which covers the face, worn by some Muslim women as a part of their Hijab). Sarkozy attacked the Niqab describing it as “a sign of subservience” that suppresses women's identities and turns them into "prisoners behind a screen."

What amazes me is that Sarkozy assumes that all women who wear the Niqab are forced to do so and he didn’t stop for a one minute to consider that may be … just may be some women wear it because they truly believe that it is part of their religion’s teaching and they are willingly following it.

I am a Muslim woman and I don’t believe in the Niqab but I wear a scarf on my head (Hijab) that was my choice and my belief. However even though I don’t believe in the Niqab I don’t think that anyone has the right to deprive a woman from her own freedom of choice. Every woman has the right to choose what to wear, what to believe in and how to express her believes in any way she wants and that goes for every human being.

Reading Sarkozy’ statement was really disturbing and reminded of how I felt in 2004 when France banned wearing the headscarf in public schools. What right does any secular government has to force their opinions on people’s religion.

Sarkozy claims that the Niqab is “a sign of debasement” … is it really? A study was done in 2003 estimated that about 15,000 - 20,000 women work as prostitutes in France. So which is more humiliating for a woman, covering her body as per her own choice or showing it off and selling her own flesh for money unwillingly.

Sarkozy refuses the existence of Niqab in France "It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic." he said.

So, what about French Muslim women who wear the Niqab, they will not be welcomed in their own country anymore? How about Muslim women who are married to French people, are they going to be kicked of France and separated from their families if they decided to stick to their believes? Or will the French government put them under house arrest? Is France now going to dictate to people what parts of their religions’ teachings they should follow and what parts to discard?

I honestly don’t see any difference between KSA and France right now. KSA forces women to wear the Niqab against their well and France is forcing women to take of their Niqab and scarf against their own well. But you know what at least KSA never pretend to be anything than an extremist country while France claims to be a free open country when at the end it only want to impose its own values under the flag of neutrality.

The thing that is funny though, this whole thing is about women, yet women have no say about it at all.