SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

Should Burqas Be Banned?

Should Burqas Be Banned?

You may have heard about the latest controversy in France that was brought on when French president Nicolas Sarkozy said that he would ban the popular Muslim covering known as burqas as well as face veils.  Sarkozy stated, "In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity."

With France being home to 5 million Muslims it is no wonder that a raging debate over women’s rights has begun.  The body coverings worn by many Muslim women has, in the past, been a required garment under the laws of such extremist groups like Al Qaeda.  An article from Paris’ Associated Press reported that since Sarkozy’s recent public statement, the National Assembly in France has put together a committee of legislators to study the wearing of burqas and face-covering veils, known as niqabs.

Jean-Francois Cope, head of the governing conservative party UMP, has also called for a ban on veils.  Cope was quoted as saying, "These clothes exclude women from the national community, deny their identity."  Cope believes the ban on burqas and niqabs should be done slowly in stages.

Still others believe a ban on burqas would be counterproductive for women’s rights.  Suraya Pakzad, executive director of the Voice of Women organization, told Reuters that she understood why Sarkozy disliked the idea of the burqa, but felt a ban on the clothing would be a mistake.  Pakzad said, "I am against the burqa being imposed by force.  But what Mr. Sarkozy is saying is another type of enforcement on women.  No one should be able to compel someone to dress in a certain way."

What do you think of French president Sarkozy’s threat to ban women from wearing burqas and niqabs?

Do you think this kind of ban would be counterproductive for women’s rights?


 

Make a Comment

Comment  *
 
 
  • sbfair By sbfair
    07.14.09  

    Difficult issue as I'm not so sure that this is an issue of women's rights only as the burqua carries with it deeper cultural significance beyond simple fashion.

  • maurasmiles By maurasmiles
    07.14.09  

    I completely agree that Muslim women need a stronger voice to stand up against the mental & social abuses they suffer if they do not conform, especially since they don?t have ANY rights under cleric law. The burqas & niqabs take away women's right to be seen as a whole person who is entitled to be treated with respect, dignity & equality. There is something really inherently wrong with being forced to cover oneself from head to toe just to make sure you don't get into trouble. Abuse is Abuse...

  • NICSMOM98 By NICSMOM98
    07.15.09  

    Isn't banning it actually taking away a woman's right to chose? Not sure how to approach it to make it an option for Muslim women, but I certainly don't think the government should force a dress code.

  • jemappel By jemappel
    07.15.09  

    Sarkozy sounds like an imbecile..."cut off from all social life"?! Women who wear burqas still have family and friends! Aside from that, burqas should not be banned...what if we American women were suddeny told "sorry, it's now illegal for you to wear shirts" and we were supposed to walk around shirtless?! It's the same thing to tell women to not wear burqas.

  • rockermom By rockermom
    07.15.09  

    its a cultural thing! if the women don't mind wearing them then let them be! you go girls!

  • resa1320 By resa1320
    07.16.09  

    I understand what he was trying to do, but I am for giving people all the info and facts and then letting them make their own decisions. Maybe these women still wear them because they believe in what it stands for and maybe not but that should be their decision.

  • CrystalBurgard By CrystalBurgard
    07.16.09  

    Banning them is just ridiculous. There isnt any good reason to ban them. Are they degrading to woman? In my opinion, yes, they are, as I feel no woman should have to "hide" herself from the public. However,I am not muslim and my beliefs may be different from theirs and if they chose to wear a burqa, no one has the right to tell them they cant. This is a FREE country afterall :)

  • littleme By littleme
    07.17.09  

    I agree with crystalburgard a woman should not have to hide herself it is a free country

  • Kimimaro By Kimimaro
    07.17.09  

    Each women should be free to choose how she wants to dress period!

  • debahadi By debahadi
    07.17.09  

    A woman should not be required to wear a burqa or niqab But neither should she be prohibited from wearing them, if wearing them is her choice. Someone who believes that women should dress in this way would say that it is dressing like this that permits a woman to go out into the community and participate actively in the life of the community, and that by wearing it, she will be treated with respect and dignity. If a woman is compelled to wear a burqa by her husband, father, or other person, a law making the apparel illegal could result in that woman not being allowed to go out in public at all, and thus would have the opposite of the intended effect. When I was in the Middle East, I always wore a scarf over my head, because it led to people treating me with kindness and respect, and resulted in a very good first impression. Of course, that was in an Islamic country, not in the West. These are only outer garments--underneath, the woman is free to wear whatever she wants.

More stories like this