Fined for wearing a burkha?

Women wearing burkhas in France will be fined 750 euros.
Male members of their family could be fined double the amount for persuading them to wear it.
Reports say that the fine applies to anyone on the street whose face is entirely 'covered'.



Pranav..... said...

This is a very controversial issue and has generated intense debate in political and social circles worldwide.

This is a double edged sword - is burkha a symbol of oppression? Or more correctly, is it DEFINITELY, in ALL CASES, a symbol of oppression? Then it must be banned.

There are women who wear burkha because they are forced to do so by their family/social mores. This is the cause of concern. Then there are many women who wear it of their own free, absolute will. Here the advocates of a ban seem less righteous.

Now another question has to be raised - is a woman who wears a burkha out of her own will, never indoctrinated? That is to say, can we say that there are many women who wear burkhas voluntarily, but possess an objective mind that has not been indoctrinated since childhood? This is the moot question I believe. If a woman wears a burkha and believes in the inalienable right of other women not to wear it (and to think of it as an oppressive garment), then no ban can ever be imposed on the burkha. On the other hand, it is obvious that on several occasions, voluntarily burkha-clad women have indoctrinated, narrow views, and dislike and disrespect for other lifestyles. Then a ban, or at least an attempt to mobilize society against this garment, seems righteous.

However, on the practical side of it, how do we definitively determine whether a woman is being forced to wear this garment or whether she is doing it freely? And even if she is doing it freely, how do we determine if she is indoctrinated and brainwashed, or not? If a ban were to be imposed on the burkha, would we not unwittingly end up restricting women's freedom and making some of them uncomfortable on the streets, instead of ensuring that they get the rights due to them? This is the vital question...

Katheeja said...

I am not a big fan of burkha. Far from it. I come from a family where the first person to wear it was my cousin, by choice, amidst protests from my grandparents. And yes, I stereotype those women easily and assume they are narrowminded. But I have met NASA scientists, world class surgeons wear the burkha by choice and an international aid worker, fluent in six languages wear the hijab by choice.

She told me she saw the hijab as a part of her cultural identity just like salwar kameez or a dupattah or a purdah. While I wasnt entirely convinced with her point of view, I couldn't argue with her.

I am not comfortable with France's decision because I get the feeling that its more of an anti Islamic move than a pro feminist decision and I frightens me to think how many people are gonna be pushed into extremism because of this and the no minaret rule.

But motives aside, I honestly don't like seeing women wearing burkhas and can, to a certain extend, sympathize with the people who want the ban. But the fact remain that this is just a another form of a dress code and control. And it's a scary thought that 'liberal' countries like France are starting to impose them.