French Burqa Ban Addresses Radical Islam

Wednesday, 27 Jan 2010 12:12 PM

By Tawfik Hamid

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French lawmakers Tuesday recommended a partial ban on any veils that cover the face (the niquab), as well as the burqa — the full-body covering worn by some Muslim women or "total veil."

This ban, recently announced by a French parliamentary commission, would apply in public places such as hospitals and schools, and on public transport. It would also apply to anyone who attempts to receive public services, but it would not apply to people wearing such coverings on the street, the commission said.

French lawmakers believe the burqa is a growing phenomenon beneath which lies a not-so-subtle message of fundamentalism. In addition, the Ipsos poll for Le Point magazine found 57 percent of French people said it should be illegal to appear in public wearing clothes that cover the face.

This step, when seen in the context of banning the Mosque minarets in Switzerland last November, is indicative of the beginning of a movement to reject growing signs of Islamist superiority and radicalization in Europe.

It is fundamental to raise the issue that solely focusing on the burqa (Islamic dress that covers the face) may lead to ignoring the hejab (the Islamic head scarf). The latter is a much more powerful tool in promoting Islamism at the societal and community levels than the burqa as it is worn by many more Muslim women (compared to the burqa).

The focus on the Burqa without addressing the Hejab can be misleading as it is like a magician that makes you focus on one hand so that you ignore his other hand that will perform the trick.

Experience over the last few decades in many Muslim countries shows that the proliferation of the hejab has been pivotal in spreading Islamism and the desire to implement Shariah law.

Furthermore, this discriminatory dress makes Muslim women feel that they belong to the Muslim Umma rather than to their mother countries or to humanity which adds more salt to the wounds of segregation and divisions among humans.

The impact of the hejab on the psyche and mind of Muslim children who grow up in a hejab-dominated society or community and the possible role of this symbolism on their radicalization and its impact on their feelings of alienation in the West must be also addressed and studied.

It is important in this context to mention that the battle against the niquab, burqa, or the hejab must not be seen by Muslims as a war against Islam.

Indeed, the words “niquab” and “burqa” are not mentioned in the Quran and the term “hejab” has never been used as a code of dress in the Quran (the word hejab was used in the Quran ONLY to express several meanings, but not a dress code. See Quran 7:46; 17:45; 19:17; 33:53; 38:32; 41:5; 42:51).

Furthermore, the Hadith of prophet Muhammad that described how Muslim women should dress after puberty is a weak Hadith as its narration does not follow an unbroken chain of transmission from the time of the prophet. The Hadith is ranked as Hadith “Mursal” which indicates that it is not a Sahih (or accurate) one.

These theological facts may explain to us some of the foundations for the recent and wise decision of Sheikh Al-Azhar (Head of Al-Azhar Mosque and University) in Egypt who decided to ban the niquab or burqa in Al-Azhar University, which is the top Islamic University in the world.

It is both ironic and painful to see how the liberal values in France have been used for years to protect a discriminatory dress code such as the hejab that is described in Islamic Law as a dress aimed at making a distinction between free women and slaves. According to Shariah law, only the former are permitted to wear it as they are “precious”!

The burqa battle should not make us ignore the threat of the hejab, which represents — based on the percentage of Muslim women wearing it in France — more threat to the values of liberty in the West than the burqa.

The hejab as a widespread phenomenon in many Muslim communities represents a trend toward implementing Shariah laws. This can lead to civil wars in the future if Muslims reached sufficient numbers in the West to demand the implementation of Shariah laws or the use force to achieve an Islamic state in Europe.

Free societies in the West need to protect themselves from this situation by limiting the growth of radical Islam in their societies.

For those in the West who are ready to accept Shariah laws under the banner of ‘the will of the majority’, they'd better begin to collect the stones for stoning adulterers/adulteresses in public in Europe and the U.S. — as we already see in Islamic countries and societies that implement these laws!

It is also important to note that several Islamic organizations may be erected to collect money from the whole Muslim world in order to pay for the fines that will be paid by the “Munaquabat” (or Muslim women who wear the Niquab) when they break the law in France and insist on wearing the burqa! The lawmakers in France should be aware of this possibility and take proper decisions to guard against this.

Finally, the decision of France to start a partial ban on the burqa is a good step to protect France from the effects of Islamism; however, it is still not enough to prevent the Islamization of the country.

Muslims need to stop fighting for the hejab and the burqa and start fighting radicalism that has spread in many of their own societies and communities all over the world. The hejab must change from a physical cover for the body to be a cover of love that surrounds the hearts of individuals.



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