Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sarkozy's 'fatwa'?

What is the difference between Taliban and the current French President Nicolas Sarkozy in regard to their attitude towards Women's attire?
Not much.
Both have their own views about what women should not wear and want to impose them on women living under their political territory.
Both do not care much about a woman's right to decide what she should wear.
Both have their own views regarding what is Islamic and what is not.
Read what Sarkozy said .
"The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity," Mr Sarkozy told a special session of parliament in Versailles.
Mr Sarkozy also gave his backing to the establishment of a parliamentary commission to look at whether to ban the wearing of burkas in public.
In 2004, France banned the Islamic headscarves in its state schools.
Now the ban will be on burka.Tomorrow it may be a ban on wearing Turban.Then a ban on Tilak or bindi on forehead. Later it will be a ban on . . . . . . . .! May be some Islamic countries will pay back in the same coin and ban wearing of Crosses in public and this will go on and on.
Can banning a way of dressing ever help women get freedom from their "prisons"? Will it give the oppressed women a new "identity"? Are only the burka clad women suppressed?
The way of dressing should be a matter of choice.It is a matter of personal liberty. It should not be imposed by political or religious leaders.
State intervention in such personal matters will only trigger public protest against it and re-in force the burka system. The lesson from Turkey should be remembered. Ban on head scarves in Universities by the fiercely secular but unpopular military backed Turkish Government resulted in head scarves becoming a symbol of liberation from the autocratic rule.It also became a symbol of rural folks revolt against the urban elite.One of the major policy decision the new pro-Islamic Turkish Government took was to amend the Turkish Constitution to revoke ban of head scarves in Universities.
Why Sarkozy raised this issue at this particular time? The anti-immigrant right wing Parties are gaining strength in Europe as evidenced by the results of the recent European Union elections. May be Sarkozy wanted to ride that wave and make people forget the problems of the deep economic recession.
Sarkozy's 'fatwa' may gain him more votes but will it really help the Muslim women?


  1. I agree with you that banning certain types of attire will not free women...Sarkozy should think of setting up a parliamentary commission to look into the problems of Muslim immigrants and encourage them to send their children especially women to school...

  2. Well said Bones Instead of thinking abt banning burqa Sarkozy should ensure the individual liberty of Women so that they can wear what they want

  3. At first I thought it was a good idea but now I am confused... I think you are right, a ban is no better than a fatwa... and like Sraboney said there are more positive ways of helping women. This could be something like our Right wing parties proclaiming widow burning as saving a culture but harassing women who wear burka... You are right Charakan, a ban on choice is never a solution.

  4. I am pretty confused about this too,but more or less I support it - as in I imagine myself being a Muslim woman in France who wears Burqa - but doesn't really like too - wearing it just because of the 'unseen pressure'. In that case I will be pretty happy that Burqa is banned. I have a strong gut feeling that given a choice most gals would never wear a Burqa. Unless it is banned, they would be under tremendous pressure to wear one, allthough the pressure can really be an indirect and unseen one.

    Now - If I imagine myself being someone who really wants to wear a Burqa - but cannot because of the new law- in that case I would be a little pissed - but not for too long. Also, I strongly doubt someone would voluntarily wanna wear a Burqa - It is indeed a "a sign of subservience".

  5. Ihm. I was aware that the liberals were confused by the progressive mask worn by Sarkozy while suggesting a ban on burqa Actually it is an anti immigrant anti women right wing agenda Reading Sarkozy speech immediately after going thru your post on Women' attire made me realise that

  6. Chikki, I can understand your confusion. Think like this. Why do you want an attire banned in a country? Is that not against personal liberty and freedom? Banning a way of dressing or imposing a dress code are all the same right? What should be stopped is the coercion behind making unwilling females wear that attire.
    Many Muslim women claim that they willingly wear it and gets a feeling of identity and security with that attire. Why you should deny them that right?
    Kamaladas the noted Malayalam Poet's name [who passed away recently]come to my mind in this context. During her final years she converted to Islam and started wearing a burqa. Read about her here

  7. What I do not understand ever is why all kinds of things are "achieved" only by regulating women's attire. Protect culture, cover em up, protect democracy, uncover them. Where is the rule on how men should behave or how humans should behave... And all extremists sound the same.

  8. @lankrita,
    Women in Patriarchial society is almost like a private property that can be controlled and showed off.That is why such restrictions are imposed. But the society is changing......may be too slowly

  9. sarkozy, like taliban suffer from ethnocentrism, a dangerous diseasr in this era of globalisation!

  10. Thanks for the comprehensive post Doctor..

    I am least bothered about others bedroom business..But I have a concern ..wheather our kids and following generation will take up this as a fashion out of fascination or curiosity..

  11. aaaaaah..I read your first post,came back after a tea,typed and submitted comment on this one..Sorry ,my mistake..:)

  12. I liked Chikki's comment..I agree to all what is written,except that many many many women wear it out of their own choice..What appears irritating to one may not be the same to another...

    I am against imposing these kind of stupidities.. SIMI became militant once it was banned, and as you said,people began to wear scarf in Turkey out of anger,so bans or fatwas are acts of dumbos..Sort out things,have consensus and move along together...

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  14. KPJ, I think Sarkozy's statement was just a political gimmick to earn some votes. I do not believe that there will really be a ban on Burqa in France.

  15. Nimis yes I know many women willingly wears burqa and many unwillingly wear it. But for a country to ban an attire is ridiculous.

  16. Mr Anonymous['Sarkozy'] I will delete your comment now not because of your views but because you are not brave enough to comment with an identity of your own.I do not like to debate with masks.


Comments are welcome especially if you do not think like me. But anonymous comments behind masks and those not relevant to the post are not encouraged.