Saturday, December 6, 2008

Muslim Head Scarf in Europe and the US

Because what affects those in one part of the world affects all of us.

"French Headscarf Ban Not Discrimination, Says European Court"
05.12.2008, in DW-World.de
Copied article:
Europe’s top courts have ruled in favor of a French school that expelled two Muslim girls for refusing to remove their headscarves for physical education classes. The ruling fuels the debate over secularism in France.

The European Court of Human Rights has dismissed a complaint by two French Muslim girls that their school violated their freedom of religion and their right to an education. The girls were expelled after repeatedly refusing to remove their headscarves for physical education classes.

photo: "Headscarves have been banned in French schools" from website

The teacher had said that wearing a headscarf was incompatible with physical education classes. The girls, Belgin Dogru and Esma-Nur Kervanci, are French nationals and were 11 and 12 respectively when they were expelled from the school in the north-western town of Flers in 1999.

For secularism's sake

Based in Strasbourg, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday, Dec. 4 that the school's move to expel the girls was not out of line, emphasizing that the girls had been able to continue their education via correspondence classes.

"It was clear that the applicants' religious convictions were fully taken into account in relation to the requirements of protecting the rights and freedoms of others and public order," the court said in a press release.

A Muslim woman adjusts the headscarf of a young girl Bildunterschrift: Gro├čansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Religion has no place in France's schools

The court also observed that the purpose of the restriction on the applicants' right to manifest their religious convictions was to adhere to the requirements of secularism, a hot topic of debate in France.

Secularism is taken very seriously in the country's state schools, and in 2004 a law was passed that bans pupils from wearing conspicuous signs of their religion at school.

France is home to Europe's largest Muslim minority.
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"Morocco moves to drop headscarf"
By Richard Hamilton, BBC News, Rabat; from MoroccoBoard.com
From the introduction to the article:
Morocco is making major changes to religious education, in particular regarding whether young girls should wear headscarves.A picture of a mother and her daughter wearing headscarves is being removed from the latest editions of a text book.A verse from the Koran that says girls should don veils has already been taken out of the books.Other Arab countries have made similar changes, worrying that the veil could be used as a symbol of extremism.

photo of picture removed from text book from this website

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"Women’s Liberation"
in middle-east-online.com, 2008-12-06

Beginning:
As I witnessed the ensuing barrage on Islam, Islamic values and culture, and the infamous declaration of the ‘new crusade’, I started to notice something called Islam. Today I am still a feminist, but a Muslim feminist, says Sara Bokker.
Sara Bokker begins by telling where she comes from: "I am an American woman who was born in the midst of America’s “Heartland.” I grew up, just like any other girl, being fixated with the glamour of life in “the big city.” Eventually, I moved to Florida and on to South Beach of Miami, a hotspot for those seeking the “glamorous life.”" She also writes:
Most of the women I know wearing Niqab are Western reverts, some of whom are not even married. Others wear Niqab without full support of either family or surroundings. What we all have in common is that it is the personal choice of each and every one of us, which none of us is willing to surrender.

An interesting and insightful personal experience with the coverings that are now verboten in much of Europe. Will her rights to cover her head in North America also be taken away in our secular world? Will mine?
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