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TOK Final Presentation

Burka Ban!
by

Erin Peterson

on 20 August 2011

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Transcript of TOK Final Presentation

For more then 100 years, France has been a Secular country. But what does France being a secular country mean? Many years ago France passed a law that enshrined the idea of laïcité - a concept that is essential to the modern French Republic and still a powerful force in current politics. In essence laïcité means the strict separation of state from church – in other words to have no state religion. Although most French people are Catholic, in the administration of the state, the Catholic Church has no such status in the French Republic. Following the law is not always straightforward, however. While the French state does not fund religions it does oversee the maintenance of existing churches. These are classed as historical monuments though worshippers are still allowed to use them in the practice of their faith. But, in an anomaly, religions new to France, such as Islam - which is growing fast - are not allowed access to public money to build new places of worship, as that would be against the principle of laïcité. In practice, this means that while the state maintains existing Catholic churches, it does not fund the construction of, for example, mosques. Under the 1905 law civil servants and especially teachers in state schools across France are expected to observe strict neutrality in terms of religion in the course of their work. Crucially, the notion of laïcité has broad backing across the political spectrum in France from the centre right to the centre left. Whenever there are debates about the role of religion in French society the division of church and state is widely asserted as one of the fundamental principles of French republicanism – and a principle to be defended. This has been seen most recently in the debate about what pupils can wear to state schools. In the 1980s and 1990s there were a series of high profile cases involving female Muslim students expelled or excluded from school for wearing headscarves or the veil. After much political debate a controversial new law was passed in 2004 that outlawed the wearing of ‘conspicuous’ religious symbols in state schools. This was widely described as a ban on Muslim headscarves and veils though in fact the law does not refer to any particular items of clothing or symbols and applies to all faiths. Many Muslims in France were opposed to the law, feeling it was targeted at them. However others have supported the move saying that it ‘liberated’ young Muslim women. This year the Burqa Ban came into effect in all of France making it illegal for anyone to wear a Burqa or any clothing similar to that which covers the face. Knowledge Issue Question: How does culture change the way we view the Burqa as a symbol? The burqa, a style of dress worn by some Muslim women, covers the entire body, including the face and head. Unlike hijabs (head scarves) or niqabs (facial veils), burqas conceal the eyes with a mesh netting. Islam and Burqas: Not all Muslim scholars agree about whether the Quran says or implies that women should wear burqas. The term "burqa" does not appear in the Quran. However, the Quran does mention in 24:31 that women should cover their chests. Some Islamic scholars and followers disagree over the meaning of words in this passage, as well as others. Like Christianity and the Bible, different interpretations of the Quran lead to different conclusions and practices. Enforcing Burqas: While no national government in a Muslim country legally enforces the wearing of burqas, radical Islamic groups such as the Taliban within Afghanistan require that women wear this form of dress and religious police in Saudi Arabia, known as Mutawwa, have reportedly harassed women for not wearing niqabs. In the future, we can expect the burqa to feature prominently in countries where tensions exist between religious and secularist groups. Since the wearing Burqa is not stated clearly in the Quran The banning is not seen as an offense to the Islam religion by most who are not Islamic, and since the Taliban enforces the wearing of the burqa with threats, fines, and on-the-spot beatings, the Burqa is symbolized as a sexist symbol and an offense to the rights of Muslim women. Being an American citizen during the war against terrorism in the Middle East Because of our Patriotism and the attack on 9/11 The burqa has become a symbol of fear for some making Americans uncomfortable with the Burqa and with the religion of Islam, also due to the fact that Islam is not a major religion found here In the States. Since France allies the Americans fighting the war in the Middle East, the ban was also created for protection due to the concealment of the face and identity And, Since the Burqa and other forms of this veil are not necessary to practice Islam, countries such as Turkey have banned the veil as well. This shows that eventually many countries will be banning the Burqa creating tension in the religion of Islam since it is a very strict and radical religion. this will also create tension in secular countries since once again secular means the complete separation of Religion and Government why? Because this all leads to the interpretation of the Burqa which changes within cultures. and since cultures will view the burqa as either religious, sexist, or a symbol of fear, or simply piece of clothing The burqa will be a major topic in many countries, creating tension within them. Being an American, I personally believe that the burqa takes away the natural rights of women, and and may be used as a tool of concealment. Also, due to my religious bias I am unable to fully understand the importance of the burqa in these radical religious groups. THANK YOU
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