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General News    H4'ed 11/16/22

To cover, or not to cover, that is the question women are not allowed to answer

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In France, it is banned in schools, and in Iran it is mandatory. The French fashion police are interfering with women's freedom while criticizing their counterparts in Iran.

A piece of cloth used by women to cover their hair has become a point of contention. The Orthodox Jewish women and the American Amish women wear head coverings, but when a Muslim woman wears a headscarf (hijab) it becomes an issue.

"We constantly vilify these morality police in Iran and Afghanistan, but in countries like France, if you are wearing the full veil, police will tell you not to wear it and give you a punishment. How is that different?" said Semiha Topal, visiting assistant professor of religious studies at William and Mary.

She said, "The state telling them what to wear or what not to wear, it's a way of controlling the bodies of women. That's the main issue. It's not religion or Islam or any other religion."

The issue is not religious, but a question of politics and freedom. Women want to be free to make their own choices.

In 2004, France passed a law banning headscarves in state schools, government buildings, and universities. Public officials such as teachers, firefighters, or police officers are also barred from wearing a headscarf while they are at work.

France is home to the largest Muslim population in Europe with 5 million residents. There is a French ban on wearing the niqab, which hides the face and hair, and the burqa, which covers hair, face, and eyes, on the grounds of security.

According to research, the 2004 headscarf ban "reduces the secondary educational attainment of Muslim girls and affects their trajectory in the labor market and family composition in the long run." A UN committee ruled that France violated an international rights treaty by banning a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf from attending school.

The French phobia about head scarves has impacted cancer victims who may wear a head covering after hair loss due to chemotherapy. Some have been verbally challenged and humiliated in public.

The overly zealous policing of those wearing a headscarf in France is indicative of the polarization between Muslims and western European societies.

Since 2010 the niqab and burka cannot be worn in any public space in France, at risk of a ├ "Ü Č150 fine, the headscarf, however, is legal in public spaces including shops, cafe's, and the streets.

In contrast, the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand allow headscarves in the classroom.

In November 2019, demonstrations in Paris saw placards reading messages such as "French and Muslim, proud of our both identities", and "Don't touch my headscarf, respect my choice, no to Islamophobia" as part of a demonstration against Islamophobia

France also has a ban on the Burkini, which is a fully covered swimming suit, at beaches or public swimming pools. France's highest administrative court voted to uphold the countrywide ban in June.

The French senate in January voted 160 to 143 to ban the wearing of the hijab in sports competitions, even though FIFA allows them.

French politicians from the Left and the Right have rallied against Muslim-linked garments they view as challenging "laicite", which is France's version of secularism.

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Steven Sahiounie Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter Page       Linked In Page       Instagram Page

I am Steven Sahiounie Syrian American award winning journalist and political commentator Living in Lattakia Syria and I am the chief editor of MidEastDiscours I have been reporting about Syria and the Middle East for about 8 years

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