Nixing the Niqab

France Bans Face-Covering Islamic Veil

The law went into effect today. Several women defied the law and wore their niqabs in front of Notre Dame cathedral. Good for them. I’m not too keen on governments telling people what they can and can’t wear.

But the security risk! There are ways around it, like having a female officer check out who’s under the veil in a separate area.

But they’re not assimilating! Assimilating into what? Religion? A lot of French people are Catholic. Are they supposed to convert? Society? Do all French women have to be the same? People use the terms melting pot. I prefer salad bowl. We can all contribute to the whole without breaking down the individual ingredients.

But it’s extreme! There are different flavors of Islam. There are women who choose to wear the veil. Just because a woman is wearing one doesn’t mean she’s going to go all suicide bomber on you.

I’ll be the first to admit I was taken aback when I first saw one. When I was poolside in Bahrain and feeling rather naked in my bikini, there were many women wearing the niqab. Bahrain is (or maybe was at this point) the KSA weekend getaway. They were sitting by the pool umbrella-less watching their kids in the midday sun. In 105 F heat. I felt bad for them thinking, “Jesus, how have you not spontaneously combusted in this heat?” Maybe they’re used to it. It’s not my place to say anything.

Of course, since it is France, it’s their rules. As an observer, it will be interesting how this will play out.

13 responses to “Nixing the Niqab

  • lbwoodgate

    I agree that the government shouldn’t dictate clothing attire as long as it’s too much rather than too little and even then I think they should show some restraint on enforcing morality laws on clothing worn.

    But if I recall, part of this ban on niqab was to validate the rights of women and though it may interfere with Islamic law, the French authorities wanted to let all women know that though their religion may dictate what they wear, if they so choose to do otherwise, the state would support their rights as free women.

    • Spinny Liberal

      I definitely believe in validating the rights of women. I just don’t know if banning something that some women choose to wear is the way to go about it. I think this is what made me cringe from the article:

      Sarkozy said he wanted a ban, and that the veils are not welcome in France.

      To me, that’s messed up.

  • astrawally

    It’s the French, they will eventually surrender!
    It’s the chain reaction a law like this can cause
    Much Love
    Astra Wally

  • nonnie9999

    as much as i think burquas and veils are meant to ‘keep women in their place,’ i don’t think any government should dictate what religious practices are okay and which ones aren’t.

    • jaxibella

      But Nonnie, the burquas and veils aren’t seen as oppressive, or meant to keep women in their place. The veil is actually the women’s choice, and has a lot to do with modesty and being proud of who you are *inside* and letting others see that without appearances getting in the way. The women who choose to wear the burquas/veils/niqab usually wear them with great pride – it is a choice, it isn’t meant to oppress them or cause anymore gender inequalities than those that already exist.

      • Spinny Liberal

        Thank you for reading and commenting! 🙂

      • nonnie9999


        i probably wasn’t very precise with my language. i didn’t mean to imply that anyone who wears a burqua or veil does so under duress.

        i guess what i should have said is that, in a lot of cases, religion is used as a tool to control people. that can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing. i’m not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination, so i look upon it with a sense of wonder, not in the sense of being in awe, but in the sense of not understanding why people would want to have to jump through hoops in order to be considered spiritual or a decent person. to me, religion should be a means to an end, and that end is to be a good person. i don’t think we need much more than the golden rule in order to have a peaceful and fair society. ritual and tradition are fine, and they are things to be cherished, but one should not be punished if they don’t follow them. however, people do get punished, and it seems that it’s always the men who decide what the punishment is going to be. most religions are male dominated. if women held the reins in the major religions, would they have chosen to ban birth control, wear long sleeves and wigs, or wear burquas and veils? symbolism is fine, and it was useful in olden times, but i don’t know if it’s really necessary as much today. i’m finding it hard to convey what i really mean. i’m not against religion, and i’m not against tradition or ritual. however, i think people have reached the point of sophistication where they don’t really need to rely on those things in order to be ethical or moral. i think religion is being misused as a way to make people feel guilty.

        let me try this a different way. i’m jewish. like i said, not religious at all, but i respect my heritage. when i was a kid living in the catskills, a lot of hasidic jews would come to my town for the summer. the women had to wear wigs and long sleeves. just as in islam, it is supposed to be all about modesty. however, i view it differently. it’s all about men being able to keep their libidos in check. men write the rules, and it’s so much more convenient to blame women rather than to take responsibilities for their own shortcomings. you see the same thing in a lot of societies–women are raped, because they flirted too much or wore a really short skirt. it’s also a matter of control. if a man can dictate what you wear, what you can eat, where you can go, etc., he feels powerful.

        if a hassidic jewish woman or a muslim woman want to be modest, then that should be their choice. if it is, then i have no problem with that. however, if they feel like they must be modest for fear of being ousted from a society, then i do have a problem. how much input did women have in writing the rules that tell them that they must cover their faces or their arms or not take birth control?

        sorry for the length of my reply. i know what i want to say, but i think i keep botching it up.

  • Hopeful

    I am the woman behind the niqab.I made a decision to wear niqab when i was 25 years old .I was attracted towards it since i was 19.I was discouraged by own mother(birth muslim)however the thought lingered. So much so that i felt it was my calling.And i had to take it on.
    Your thoughts are refreshingly hopeful. I can understand why a western mind would initially find it shocking. Its simply cultural shock.I went through the similar process when i migrated to australia in early teens. I found the skirts or clingy clothes or even jeans so reveaingly that when a women walked by me in those garments i would feel exposed. However,as the shock wore off i came to realize that women in fishnet stocking,skirt,tubes or whatever are nonetheless individuals with all sorts of virtues and good moral values. They are just brought up in different culture than mine. I think that if things were left alone a lovely harmony could evolve .Many stereotypes would be shed and many prejudices challenged.
    I also absolutely agree that security concerns can be addressed without outright banning niqab and thus making a minority feel persecuted and unwanted in a country. I hope in time that the good sense that every human being is endowed with -will prevail.
    Its just the current sociopolitical climate is so tense in fact that it appears much will be lost in the process.
    So you can understand that words that your write in your blog, that obviously manifest your thoughs on the matter are actually something hopeful for me.Because when one is a part of a minority and someone from the different yet dominant culture makes a stand,it is invaluable.
    So cheers for brightening my day .

    • Spinny Liberal

      I think that if things were left alone a lovely harmony could evolve .Many stereotypes would be shed and many prejudices challenged.

      Absolutely. People will learn about each other in their own time without laws reinforcing stereotypes.

      It is really neat to get the perspective from a woman who wears the niqab.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! 😀

  • amillionblogs

    if there was a like button, i’d press it. i like this post and the comments here. i never wore the niqab but as a muslim woman, i did cover my hair “religiously” and attempt to dress modestly from the age of 18 to 28. it was always a very personal decision — i could go on and on — but suffice it to say that for someone who’s been on “both sides of the veil” it is one of those things that can be very simple or very complicated and everything in between on any given day. just wanted to express my appreciation for the thoughts/sentiments voiced hear.

  • amillionblogs

    i found the button. 🙂 duh

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