Saturday, March 24, 2007

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Religion In Schools In England

You can be Muslim, you just can't look Muslim, or so seems with new government guidelines that were published on Tuesday that would leave it up "to individual head teachers to decide what pupils should and should not be allowed to wear in class, a DFES spokesman said." the AP reports.

Critics of the niqab claim that the scarf interferes with learning and causes security threats. Critics site the unique examples of Turkey and Tunisia in the Muslim world as having outlawed the niqab, although Turkey only loosely enforces the ban.

So does the niqab interfere with learning and does the niqab in itself cause security threats?

Before I answer that I was to elaborate that I view preventing Muslim woman from wearing religious clothing is a blatant violation of freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

I am not from England. My country rebelled from Britain, so I know little of the intricacies of British law.

What I do know is this : in America we have freedom of religion and freedom of expression and that is part of what makes it great.

I am obviously not a Muslim woman, I am a secular woman, but I will stand up for Muslims woman's right to wear a veil.

Why? Because, I believe to ask a Muslim woman to remove her veil is the same as asking a Christian to remove their cross or to ask a Jew to remove his locks or his Star of David, and I would stand up for their rights as well.

It is hypocritical to try to spread "tolerance" in the Muslim world but exhibit so little of it in the West. How can the West ask Muslim countries to treat it's Christian minorities with kindness and respect it the West cannot treat it's Muslim minorities with kindness and respect?

Do I think the niqab interferes with learning? No. But I believe asking a pious young woman to remove the veil because it is "bothering you" would interfere with her learning and her ability to be at comfort with her surroundings and her religion.

For a conservative Muslim woman wearing the niqab is the moral thing to do, thus asking her to remove it is asking her to be immoral in her own eyes and what she views as the eyes of God.

Why the controversy over being modest? Why does it offend a Western person more to see a modest woman in a veil than it does to see a 15 year old wearing cleavage and thigh baring clothing?

That is part of what is so absurd about this whole situation. In the West your free to show your skin, but apparently your not free to cover your skin. Who would've thought "daisy dukes" are more acceptable than veils??

Currently, Muslims are in the spotlight. Because of 9/11, because of the mess in Iraq and our relationship with the government of Iran, many in the West have allowed themselves to become discriminatory towards all Muslims people, and feel completely justified in doing so.

But I ask, is this really the kind of reality and history we want to make?

Do you want our ancestors to look back and call us discriminatory and see us as overreacting and contributing to these problem rather than solving them? Or see us as bunch of hypocrites who try to instill tolerance on other nations while failing to exercise it at home?

Or do we want our ancestors to be able to look back and see that we exercised tolerance, restraint, and above all logic in a time of hardships and clashes between our worlds?