French and the Veil

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Yellow House in the U recently posted about the French proposal to ban the Burqa and the veil. Only in public, the irony of which cannot be emphasised enough.

I thought I'd re-post my comment here:

Western society tends to see the veil as a sign of repression and lack of power and choice. Like with the abortion debate, women should have the option to choose.

Cultural Anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod has worked extensively with with muslim women and writes about the demonisation of muslim women and how the Bush administration used images of veiled women to drum up support for war. An article by Abu-Lughod on this and on why women aren't throwing off their Burqas now that they are 'liberated' can be found

Abu-Lughod -
'we shouldn't reduce the diverse situations and attitudes of millions of Muslim women to a single item of clothing.'

'Choices for all of us are fashioned by discourses, social locations, geopolitical configurations, and unequal power into historically and locally specific ranges. Those for whom religious values are important certainly don't see them as constraining – they see them as ideals for which to strive.'

Surely banning the burqa and veil will lead to more extremism not less?

I thoroughly recommend you read any of Abu-Lughod's work you can get your hands on!

1 comment :

  1. Thank you for your comment on the yellow house and the link. I did respond over there but it was before reading the article, so I thought I'd share my thoughts over here too!

    It was a really interesting read and I think it is a shame that there aren't more articles like this one available in the mainstream press, because goodness knows there needs to be more balance in what is being written and debated.


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