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16 I ORLD NEWSW Passion Islam I February 2010
US College veil ban draws fire
A Massachusetts college decision to
bar the wearing of face veils is drawing
fire from Muslim and non-Muslim civil
rights groups as an illegal move that
jeopardizes rights and targets religious
freedom of Muslims in particular.
“It’s a very strange policy,’’
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the
Washington-based civil liberties group
the Council on American-Islamic
Relations said.
“I don’t know where it came from,
the only thing we can conclude is
that it’s designed to specifically target
Muslims.’’
The College of Pharmacy and
Health Sciences issued a decision
to ban students or others on its
campuses from wearing clothing that
obscures the face, including face veils
and burqas worn by Muslim women.
Michael Ratty, a spokesman for
rule, which they fear sacrificing rights that stopping them from practicing
the college, which has campuses in
in the name of security. their faith remains “un-American.”
Boston, Worcester, and Manchester,
Civil liberties groups and campus “If this went to court I would feel
N.H., said “It is not directed to any
activists are also opposing the college comfortable the women would prevail
group or individual. It applies to all
decision as toeing the American because of the legal precedent that
students and faculty.”
constitution’s red-line of respecting has been set.”
But Muslims slammed the move
religious freedoms. CAIR says that the ban should have
as a form of religious discrimination
It is “puzzling and possibly an exemption for those who wear face
for Muslims, “I think they have two
illegal,” Sarah Wunsch, staff attorney veils for religious reasons, as is the
Muslim women wearing face veils,
at the Massachusetts American case with some Muslim women, so
that made them feel uncomfortable Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said that not to jeopardize religious rights.
and they had to do something about describing the new rule. As the college’s the policy includes
it,” said Hooper. Hooper affirmed he had not heard a medical exemption, it should also
Even security activists like of any similar policies adopted at any include a religious exemption, Hooper
Jonathan Kassa, executive director other US college. noted.
of Security on Campus, a nonprofit He added that a minority of “People should have the right to
that advocates for safer US college Muslims believe that wearing clothes practice their faith as they see fit, not
campuses, are not in favour of the that cover the face is required, but as others see fit.”
France insists on Islamic finance
French Minister of Economy, Industry In 2008, the French government December 2008, released documents
and Employment Christine Lagrade’s voiced willingness to adopt the Islamic on necessary tax amendments,
Advisor Thierry Dissaux said here financial system so as to draw more including a freeze on Islamic finance
Saturday his country was going ahead investments to the country, he added. operations, Dissaux pointed out.
with its plan to adopt the Islamic The government has already In its official tax guidelines on
financial system. introduced legal and tax amendments February 25, 2009, the authority
A strictly secular European with a view to matching the set out procedures pertaining to
heavyweight, France is seeking to requirements of the Islamic Sharia’ Murabaha Sukuk (Islamic bonds)
adopt the Islamic financial system just or law in terms of Islamic finance, the operations in the Islamic financial
as a prelude to becoming a European French official noted. system, he added.
center for Islamic economy. In July 2007, the French Financial But the French drive to open up
Discussions are being held in Markets Authority laid down conditions to Islamic finance is upsetting some
France for applying Islamic financial and terms for setting up a fresh politicians in the country.
operations to the field of banking investment fund in line with the Islamic Islamic Sharia’ forbids Muslims
regulation and settlement, Dissaux Sharia’, he said. from usury, receiving or paying interest
told KUNA. As for taxes, the tax authority, in on loans.
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