07/14/2010, 00.00
ISLAM-FRANCE
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Muslims say the total veil ban violates human rights and religious freedom

The Muslim world reacts to the first approval of the French law which prohibits the covering the face in public. The Islamic Human Rights Commission talk about Islamophobia and racism of the state. Most media look with hope to a possible declaration of unconstitutionality. And there are those who evoke the Holocaust.
Beirut (AsiaNews) - The French law banning the veil covering the face (burqa and niqab) could give rise to a new wave of Islamophobia and state racism. This is the harsh condemnation of the President of the 'Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), Masood Shadjareh, to the initial approval by the French parliament of a law that requires women to have their faces uncovered in all public places.

Shadjareh’s reaction, in an interview with official Iranian agency IRNA, is the harshest yet from the Muslim world that criticizes the violation of religious freedom and respect for Islamic culture, but above all which seems to be waiting for the Constitutional Court or European institutions to condemn these violations, although there are those who evoke the memory of Nazi persecution.

Shadjareh, however, argues that France has denied Muslim girls the right to study and work, having banned the hijab in schools since 2004 and that the Muslim community feels increasingly insecure due to continuous attacks.

Other reactions have been far more moderate. The Al Jazeera, Estelle Youssouffa, stressed that "the State Council warned the government that the French and European law could prove unconstitutional because it violates human rights and religious freedom”.

Even the Saudi Arab News argues that "the greatest obstacle" to the law, which will most likely be approved in September by the Senate, "will probably be when the Constitutional Court will examine it. Some scholars say that there is possibility that it will be declared unconstitutional. " The same paper also reports the view of the majority of French Muslims, who deem that the complete covering of the face is not required by Islam, but the law could affect Muslims in general.

In an editorial entitled "The veiled threat in Europe," the Dubai newspaper, Khaleej Times, asks "what is happening on the continent that gave the world the Magna Carta, the first charter of human rights and democracy? Not long ago Europe and the brilliant t EU experimenwere seen by the rest of the world as models of progress, political freedom and civil liberties. "

"All that appears to be a thing of the past now.  Maybe this is a natural reaction to the recent phenomenon of extremist violence by some Muslims. Maybe it has something to do with the sense of insecurity that haunts some Europeans because of the growing tide of Muslims – and other immigrants—around them in a white, Christian continent.  Whatever the explanation, this Muslims-coming hysteria, fanned in this case by governments and politicians, is disturbing, to say the least."

And although the veil is not a religious duty, but only a matter of costume, "measures like these are only fuelling the already strong anti-Muslim sentiment in the West.  Let’s not forget that not long ago, Europe witnessed a similar campaign against the Jews that eventually resulted in thousands of them being sent to their death by the Nazis. European governments, lawmakers and the media must therefore desist from once again unleashing a monster that cannot be coaxed back into the bottle. It’s in their own interest". (PD)  

 

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