What We Should and Can Regarding The Burqa Ban!

France banned the Burqa, and women there are deprived from the right of covering their faces! Some are happy to be finally able to see the faces of these mysterious women by the power of law. Others are unhappy about forcing people to give up parts of their life-style which, after all, is no one’s business - as long as these women don’t object to uncovering their faces when needed.

I personally dislike the burqa, very much. I wouldn’t marry a women covering her face in public, because I know it’s not an Islamic requirement, because I don’t like it, and because, according to my own understanding of my religion, I even believe it to be un-Islamic. Another man might not want to marry a woman who doesn’t wear a burqa, because he thinks it’s un essential manifestation of chastity, or because he lived in Saudi Arabia long enough to actually believe it’s an Islamic requirement! Me and him are free to choose our wives, and our own likes and dislikes are no one’s business but ourselves. Me and him shouldn’t dictate our opinion on women either! Women choose their cloths and their husbands as they wish; while men choose their wives and their beliefs about women’s cloths as they wish too. Simple, isn’t it?! Not really, because we, the human race, insist on complicating the simplicity of life!

I guess we’ll have to live with that, while striving to simplify things as we complicate them. That’s what being human is about: creating problems, then doing our best to fix them!

It’s probably clear, from the above statements, what my personal position is regarding this ban: I do not support any form of forcing people to do or not do (in this case wear or not wear) anything, no matter how much I personally dislike what they’re doing (or wearing, or not wearing!), as long as their choice doesn’t in any way threaten the rights, safety and freedom of others. Period. That’s my universal rule and I apply it to any and every form of human behavior (or so I hope!).

The point I want to make is, in many cases, or most cases when it comes to governments and laws and nations, our personal opinion isn’t the issue, not that it won’t matter in shaping reality, that’s already clear, but it’s not even the issue on a personal level!

We need to be clear, with ourselves, on the many levels of the problem or piece of news we’re dealing with. We need to put it in its context, that is.

One level is our personal conviction and opinion; this has to be clear to start with. We need to know what to think, to decide why we believe what we believe, and to be consistent with all of our values and other beliefs. In my case, I did clarify, clearly (in my opinion!), what that is!

But the context is more complicated. I will throw in some thoughts that put this ban in some context, in order to help us decide how we can and should react to this ban.

1. Most Islamic scholars agree that covering the face is not required. Most agree, based on one hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) that the proper Islamic dress for women means uncovering the face and two hands. While some argue that even this most widely accepted interpretation is not accurate because it’s not clearly mentioned in the Quran (which is true), therefore even covering the hair is not required.

2. The ban, based on #1, does not forbid Muslims from doing anything essential to the practice of their religion, even though it does interfere with the freedom of the women who want to dress this way. Therefore we should be clear that, if we disagree with the ban, it should be based more on civil freedoms than on “defending Islam”.

3. We, and this is very important, should be just as critical of forcing women to uncover their face as we are of forcing them to cover it. Otherwise we would be practicing what we, Muslims, sometimes blame the West of doing (rightfully, at times): double standards! If we’re angry that a Christian European country forbids our Muslim women to dress according to their beliefs, we should as well be angry at Muslim countries forbidding non-Muslims to dress according to their beliefs. If you happen to believe that it’s ok for a Muslim country to require non-Muslims to respect its traditions, then you should also believe that it’s ok for France to require Muslims to respect its traditions too. Consistency is all I’m asking for!

4. It’s ok for Muslims and non-Muslims to fight and speak against this ban, as long as it’s done in the context of a consistent effort of defending the rights of everyone, and especially as long as it is done in a proper, peaceful and calm manner.

5. it’s the duty of Muslims living in France to respect the laws of the land they’re living in. This is an Islamic rule. Muslims should encourage women affected by this ban to obey the law, while working against it according to the rules and laws and democratic tools of their society. Any senseless ranting and expressions of anger should be clearly condemned.

6. And finally, we Muslims should get our priorities straightened up!

A Muslim leader in Libya or Yemen who is killing his people and depriving them from their basic human rights and freedoms is more dangerous to Islam and Humanity than any ban in France!

The fact that hundreds of millions of Muslims are illiterate, live under the poverty line and don’t have any voice in their own homelands should be far more alarming to us than a ban on a burqa!


Numbers

Number in this week’s Time:

17,074 Bosnian Serbs named as participants in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

How many Muslims participated in Nine-Eleven ?!!


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