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2 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I July 2009
the Passion - By Majed Iqbal
Sarkozy calls for burka ban
A Superiority Complex?
Not enough with banning the that they did not like Muslims and pay for equal work the 2008 Country
headscarf from government the figures for Poland and France Reports on Human Rights Practices
institutions and buildings including were 46% and 38% for those holding report highlighted that there was a
schools, colleges and universities, unfavorable opinions of Muslims. gender pay discrepancy of around
the French President Nicolas Sarkozy The survey mentioned “Opinions 25 percent. According to a 2007
sparked off deeper controversies by of Muslims in almost all of these survey by the government’s statistical
calling for the burka to be banned. (European) countries were more agency, fewer than 20 percent of
The comments were aired in negative than are views of Jews,” private sector executives were
the first presidential address in 136 analysts said. While Americans and women, despite comprising 58.5
years to a joint session of France’s Britons displayed the lowest levels percent of the public workforce.
two houses of parliament where the of anti-Semitism, one in four in both French women comprised
French premier described the burka, countries were hostile to Muslims. approximately 50 percent of cabinet
a veil, worn by many Muslim women Despite the French premier glossing ministers in the government and were
as part of their Islamic attire as a generally underrepresented in
“debasement” of women – and not the legislature and in other levels
welcome in France. of government leadership.
He added: “In our country, we The War on Terror has now
cannot accept that women be re-defined its focus to addressing
prisoners behind a screen, cut off what are acceptable Islamic
from all social life, deprived of all ideas and practices and what
identity. The burka is not a religious are not such that Muslim women
sign. It’s a sign of subservience, a are now being questioned on
sign of debasement”. even their dress code and role in
“I want to say it solemnly; it will Society.
not be welcome on the territory The unprovoked debate of
of the French Republic. We find it the burka to be brought into
intolerable to see images of these the limelight only once again
imprisoned women when they serves to show the efforts in the
come from Iran, Afghanistan or last years in many European
Saudi Arabia.” French Secular values as the ideal countries actively pursued by
MEP Chris Davies from the North for any society, a quick track record governments to force feed secular
West added more fuel to the fire at Frances record towards women values to Muslim communities which
when he stated that the burka does is one worth considering before themselves are questionable and
not belong in 21st century Britain. embarking on the debate of treatment open to scrutiny and debate. Hence
“In my experience, the burka acts of Muslim women. Sarkozy confirmed this when he said
as a mask, reducing identity and According to 2008 Country Reports “I tell you, we must not be ashamed
discouraging women from developing on Human Rights Practices report, of our values, we must not be afraid
their own skills and personality.” there was a 21 percent increase from of defending them.”
Europe has witnessed rising rates of 2006 to 2007 in the number of women It seems that the French Premier was
intolerance against minorities which killed by their spouses in domestic towing a similar tone like the Italian
have most often been ascribed violence disputes (from 137 to 166) Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi did
to right wing parties. However, whilst current figures have shot to in 2001 when he cited that “Western
many statements like the French 400 a year. Approximately 38,000 civilisation is superior to Islamic
Presidents have signaled a very fine women are raped each year in the civilisation”.
line line between right wing parties country. The French Premier talked about
and ‘mainstream’ ones in Europe Sarkozy was keen to highlight “Debasement” of Women who wore
especially related to tackling Islamic how secular values must be the a burka but has yet to answer for the
and Muslim related issues. benchmark for France and seemed divide in gender opportunities, sexual
According to a survey of global to gleam at the achievements made harassment at the workplaces and
opinion released in September in France in ensuring equality for all. the rising rates of domestic violence
2008, it found that more than half of However, despite laws which that are carried out by men against
Spaniards and half of Germans said require that women receive equal women in France to this day.
Write to: Editor, Passion Islam, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD
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This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran
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