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France and Head Scarfs - varnamvarnam
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France and Head Scarfs

The French have decided to ban the wearing of any religious symbols by people in public places and the main focus is on the head scarfs worn by Muslim women. Democracies like United States and India do not enforce any ban on public display of religious symbols worn by people. But France thinks this ban is required to assimilate Muslims into the mainstream. So when such an issue comes up, “the question is”:http://www.sulekha.com/redirectnh.asp?cid=324469

bq. Thus the issue has become, in large part, who controls women? Are they subject to French laws ? and the deeply held principle of church-state separation ? or to their fathers, husbands, brothers and mullahs? Are they free? And a second issue is even broader: Do religious citizens of a democratic country owe first service to their religion or their nation?

The second question is more important. And here is the answer given by the Grand Sheikh of the al-Azhar mosque in Egypt, “Mohammed Sayed Tantawi”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3358363.stm

bq. He said Muslim women had to obey the rules of the host country in which they live, under what he described as dire necessity.

I think this is a very important statement, which sets the order of loyalties very clear. But as “Niraj”:http://www.nirajweb.net/mt/niraj/archives/002057.html notes, such a measure would be considered as a violation of both freedom of speech and freedom of religious statutes in United States.


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