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Burkha not welcome in France

Burkha not welcome in France

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has condemned the traditional Muslim burkha as a symbol of subservience.

June 23, 2009 10:29 by

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that the traditional Muslim burkhas was a “sign of debasement” and has urged the country’s parliament to debate whether wearing the garment should be banned.

During a speech before a joint session of parliament, Sarkozy said, “The problem of the burka is not a religious problem. This is an issue of a woman’s freedom and dignity. This is not a religious symbol. It is a sign of subservience; it is a sign of lowering. I want to say solemnly, the burka is not welcome in France.”

“We cannot accept in our country women trapped behind a fence, cut off from social life, deprived of any identity. This is not the idea that we have of a woman’s dignity,” he added.

Sarkozy’s remarks came after a recent call by a number of French MPs to create a parliamentary commission to study the trend of wearing the full-body religious garment in France.  Some of them have also called for a ban on burkhas, reportedly calling the garments an “ambulatory prison” for women.

“A debate has to take place and all views must be expressed,” said Sarkozy. “What better place than parliament for this? I tell you we must not be ashamed of our values, we must not be afraid of defending them.”

The remarks have drawn some ire in the country; the French Muslim Council has said that even convening a special inquiry commission would “once again seriously stigmatize Islam and French Muslims,” reports Canada-based The Globe and Mail.

However, Dalil Boubakeur, head of the main mosque in Paris, said that the president’s remarks were “in keeping with the republican spirit of secularism”, reports Uk-based The Times. Moderate Muslims also saw full face-covering as a symbol of submission, he added.

France has five million Muslims, the largest number in Western Europe.

In 2004, France passed a law banning the use of “conspicuous” religious symbols such as Islamic headscarves at state schools. The move was severely criticized by bodies across the world including Human Rights Watch, which called the law an “unwarranted infringement on the right to religious practice.”

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  1. Hasan on June 23, 2009 6:13 pm

    u idiot the burkha is not a sign of lowering. WOMEN HAVE A CHOICE OF WEARING IT. It doresnt supresss freedom u freak.

  2. Anonimous on June 23, 2009 6:17 pm

    i think it should be personal choice

  3. J B Nair on June 24, 2009 6:04 am

    Just as North Korean kids are indoctrinated from childhood about “Great Leader” and “Dear Leader” stories

    Organized religions follow the path of indoctrination. This is why we see some women supporting the Burqa. Normal men do not jump on a lady just because she dresses herself in rainbow colours or in a suit for increased efficiency at office work. For the men with a criminal outlook, a Burqa doesnt matter, except when burqa protection is part of their own dogma. Thats another story.

    Like in the Iranian elections, real freedom comes from real democracy and free thought. You tend to support the authority when the authority’s iron fist is seen in the horizon.

    Men dress as they want. I have seen that many burqaed ladies have their husbands in jeans. Why dont men wear a black outfit and go out in the sun! After 2000 years of Burqa, now let the women have the choice too. The sky wont fall down.

  4. Aslan on June 24, 2009 8:02 am

    To JB Nair:
    ‘Indoctrination’!! What about women who in the name or art and culture are told to pose naked, are they not indoctrinated? exploited?.

    You cant go that path brother. Freedom to choose is everyones choice.

    Surely there must be more important issues in France then burqas which the president should be worried about!!

  5. Dr. H on June 24, 2009 8:38 am

    There is no such thing as a traditional muslim burqa… The burqa as referred to here is a combination of traditions mainly used in Pakistan and Afghanistan. These are surely not very representative of the “muslim world” especially since Arabs believe that these cultures are slightly “off path” and need tutoring on Islam. Second, and to the knowledge of very few, the covering of the face is a pre-islamic tradition. If we want to be accurate, covering the face it is part of a sexual ritual performed by ancient cultures of the region and any polytheistic practice is in fact forbidden in Islam. Another point is that doing more or doing less than what is written in the Holy Koran is not up to humans but up to Allah. Covering the face or hands is NOT written in the Holy Scriptures. Taking these two points together, we can conclude that covering the face is in fact Haram. But then again, those who practice them have very little knowledge about their own religion…

  6. Suhail on June 25, 2009 7:49 am

    Agree with J B Nair totally. Religion is a form of indoctrination and that is why women support them. I am sure women across the world want to be weighed equally as men, however we men treat them as objects. Dont u think its stupid to hide women faces just bcoz it can provocate men. A few mullas from the mosque has twisted quran in the way they liked and we find the whole muslim community supporting buqua, including some women who want to maintain an identity of the religion islam, which they fear would otherwise be lost. Islam has many good preachings, first follow that, be pure from your heart, respect people. Promote equality and not discrimination and suffering.

  7. Amin on June 30, 2009 6:12 am

    To ASLAN – May ALLAH shower wisdom to you to judge right from wrong, give you courage to walk the talk and finally let the ladies be free to decide whether they are , as alleged, indoctrinated … its their fate if they can;t see the light. However, lets not IMPOSE any (read western) values on anybody. Peace to all.

  8. Roro on July 14, 2009 1:44 am

    The Burqa is a choice, however since I reside in the heart of Europe (London), I can say that the policies against women wearing the veil and the burqa is becoming very severe. A veil is seen as a threat, however, the tolerance is still far more than they have in France. It is absolutely disgusting to see a problem stem every other day against Muslims. With the brutal death of Marwa Sherbini, this raises several questions to the Muslim states and Muslims in the West, should we be punished for being Muslims? A peace loving nation that coexists with the West and respects its principles and live in harmony why is there so much hate wave occuring? and what is the solution? What is the stand of Muslim states? Don’t you think Muslims are suffering far too much in the West for things that are not their fault at all?

  9. Raju on January 27, 2010 8:40 am

    “When in Rome be a Roman” when in Iran and in Saudi Arabia wear a Burqa… it is forced. No questions and no answers. But when in other country respect that other country. You are a visitor and a guest and be so… a guest and a visitor….


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