Friday, June 20, 2008

Headscarves in Germany

For information on the continuing problems of showing a personal understanding of modesty - er, wearing a Muslim style head scarf - in secular Europe, consider taking the time to read the article mentioned yesterday regarding the headscarf in France, and the article, "Muslim Headscarves Test the Limits of German Tolerance," By Thomas Darnst├Ądt, of SPIEGEL ONLINE International. He begins:
For years, Germany's legal experts have been arguing about whether Muslim public officials have the right to wear headscarves. The issue raises difficult questions about religious tolerance and constitutional rights in Germany.
This is a thorough article, relating the controversy in the various states in Germany and for the people of the country. The article asks, over and over again: So what IS a headscarf? It means so many different things to different people. What is a country to do?

(PS - I couldn't help noticing that the German court, pictured in the background of the headscarved woman in the photo used in the front page of this article, are wearing bright red head gear.)

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Did you pick up my attitude in the opening sentence there? I'd rather just report the things being said and done about head coverings, and let you, the reader, draw your own conclusions and attitudes. But I just wanted to share a thought I have. I read a question somewhere else which read, "How did we let the Muslim head scarf become the new swastika?" And that is what it has become, in some ways. Interesting how that comparison came up the same day that I came across this article on headscarves in Germany. (Portrait of German countess and fashion model Veruschka wearing a headscarf, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 1967. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Let's not forget that the hearts of many in this world that are turning towards a greater orthodoxy, in whatever faith, are in fact intelligent people who are researching and making conscious and difficult choices - sometimes against family, childhood beliefs, and - yes - even their community or country. I do not propose to guess why others are wearing headcoverings in obviously secular or non-orthodox jobs or countries. But to sit on the outside and declare that they are doing so just to show contention for the powers that be, as if this is some new hippie generation throwing off the "shackles" of those who went before - is just kind of closed minded, isn't it?
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