Thursday, August 13, 2009

Comment by Br. Saifullah Badar: French Value And The Honour of Muslim Women


Saifullah Badar is a good practicing Muslim Brother whom I have known personally for past few years. His views on Islam/Muslim related issues have some time made me feel proud to have him as a comrade in Al-Islam. I am going to share with you a very insightful comment that he made on the topic at hand.

It is often that a Muslim woman wearing a veil or head scarf is asked how does she feel being subjugated to observe strict dress codes and having no freedom of choice as far as dressing is concerned. Not to surprise mostly answer that they do it out of their own choice and not coercion from the family or because of social pressures. One recent incident was while I was watching a documentary by Channel 4 named 'Seven Wonders of the Muslim World'. A young Iranian woman was among the people interviewed, she lived normally like any of her counterparts all over the world except that she avoided the vices and wore a head scarf. She was asked the same question and she replied that she does it because of her own choice. Even then the interviewer was quite reluctant to admit her freedom and went on to label it 'lack of freedom of choice' because she couldn't remove her headscarf in public even if she wanted so!

Now I ask the proponents of Freedom, where is the 'Freedom of choice' in France - supposedly the most secular and Free state?? If we analyse the happenings in France in the same light as Muslim societies are analyzed I don't find them any better in fact, much worse! France has recently denied a Muslim revert from using a full-length swim wear in public pools (see here:French pool bans 'burkini' swim). Freedom to chose entails every citizen to exercise his/her choice of clothes and if France wants to be free then a person has the same right to cover up his/her body as much as he/she has to bare it. Freedom doesn't only include removing clothes from the body but also putting more according to one's choice. Why can't France get out of its narrow Islamophobic mentality and accept Scarves, burqa and, as in this case, 'burqini' as just another piece of garment that people may or may not wear according to their choice.

About a 'burqini', its just a loose fit full length swim suit with a head cover attached and I don't think that should be of any controversy as most of the competitive swimmers use full length swim suits and a head cap for better performance. It is one of the many efforts the Muslims are making to integrate into the western society while balancing their Islamic duties but people fail to acknowledge it and only see them as backwards, subjugated and terrorists.

If a non-Muslim wears a scarf its fashion (European women have been wearing scarves from ages) but if a Muslim woman does it then it is against 'secularism' and must be banned! I don't see France any better than what they see the Muslim societies as. In France freedom is restricted, even if you chose to cover yourself in public you can't!

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