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Banning Islamic Veils Spark Controversy

When cultural differences spark controversy, how should one determine when a line has been crossed?

In at least two publications, a recent story about France banning Muslim women to wear veils in public has ignited heated opinions about its legitimacy. Muslim women wear burqas or niqabs(veil that only exposes the eyes) in public and have never been targeted until now. According to Interior Minister Claude Gueant, this law defends “two fundamental principles: secularism and the principle of equality between man and woman.”

Although this law affects about 2000 women in France, it has created a rift between the French and the 5 million Muslims who reside in that country. Women who refuse to follow this law are fined $215 or forced to register for citizenship classes within a month.

Is it really a question of providing equality to all women who live there, or is it racism? Is this law really protecting the rights of women or denying them freedom of expression? Women who wear these veils do so out of respect for their culture and religion and should not be subject to discrimination.

This ban is outrageous and should not be condoned by any country. How can this law be acceptable when it forbids women to exercise their right to express themselves? Have we regressed so much that we have resorted to taking away women’s rights based on what they wear? Having this law passed in France makes me wonder how this will affect the rights of women in other countries. Will there be a backlash that could endanger women’s rights and how much it could affect women all over the world?

As a woman, I am grateful to be living in a country where freedom of expression is not just encouraged, but nurtured. Undermining one’s ability to exercise this freedom is censorship. This law should be overturned in order to stop the discrimination of Muslim women in France, as well as in other countries. That’s my take on this, what’s yours?

To read the articles regarding this post, visit:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_FRANCE_VEIL_BAN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-04-11-06-35-28

http://www.npr.org/tablet/#story/?storyId=135309228

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