Burqa Ban In France
By Amanda Morse
History of the Burqa
• Although there are many variations in women’s
Islamic headdresses, the most concealing is the
Burqa. The Burqa covers the entire body and
face, leaving only a small slit open for the eyes
(which is even sometimes covered by a thin
transparent fabric). The wearing of the Burqa pre-
dates Islamic religion, but it’s use is most
common among Islamic followers because of
stipulations in the Islamic Holy book, the Quran,
about women being modest and covering
Burqa Ban in France
• In early September of 2010, a law was passed in France that banned the
wearing of the Burqa and the niqab-the two most concealing Islamic
coverings-by women in public.
• French lawmakers claim their reason for the ban was to “ensure the
dignity of the person and equality between sexes” and that the Burqa
imprisoned women, prohibiting them from expressing themselves freely.
• According to the ban, people could face fines for concealing their face in
public (Although the law does not specifically mention the Burqa or niqab,
French President Nicolas Sarkozy openly said that “veils are not welcome
[in France].”) and even steeper fines and possible imprisonment for
anyone who forces a woman to wear a veil.
• In 2004, even before this ban was put into effect, French law makers
passed a similar law banning the wearing of Islamic headscarves in the
• Despite advice from the French Council of State to
reexamine the ban-as it potentially violates not just
international laws, but the countries own constitution-the
ban was passed almost unanimously.
• Since the ban in September many devout Islamic followers
have out rightly protested it, saying it prohibits them from
freedom of expression of their religion.
• 61 people have been arrested for unlawful protests against
the ban, and many women have openly admit their plans to
continue to wear the veil despite it.
• Other countries, including Belgium and Italy have moved to
make similar bans of their own, spurring growth of both
opposition and support of the ban across the UK.
Secularism in the UK
• France and all of UK are considered to be a
secular union, meaning that they separate their
government and state from religion.
• Supporters of the ban say that the veils violate
the freedom of expression of the wearer and go
against the secular beliefs of the union.
• However, many Muslims and opponents of the
ban feel that they are losing their freedom of the
expression of religion and that their basic human
rights are being violated.
• The banning of the veil in public as well as in
schools in France and the UK has left many
Muslims feeling stigmatized and outcast. With
Islam being the 2nd largest religion in France
and worldwide, the ban against these veils is
just another way to establish fear and
ignorance of the religion.
Muslim Women Speak Out
• Kenza Drider, a Muslim woman from the UK, believes the bill violates her
rights, and she plans on continuing to wear her veil despite it.
• “I will under no circumstance stop wearing my veil.” “[the veil] is a
submission to God.”
• Nesrine Malik, a Muslim woman who lived in the UK all of her life with no
veil or Islamic garment, moved back to Saudi Arabia when she was 18. In
her 3 years in Saudi Arabia, Malik wore full dress and Islamic veil, and talks
about how her feels about the veil changed from dread to delight.
Expressing the sense of empowerment and control she felt over herself
when wearing the veil, Malik comments, “Once social status or physical
beauty cannot be established, all sorts of hierarchies are flattened.”
• In her opinion, and evidently in the opinion of many other Islamic women
refusing to unveil themselves, “To force a female to remove her veil is just
as subjugating as forcing her to cover.”
• By creating this ban, France and UK are only widening
the ever growing gap between the East and The West.
• The ban supports religious ignorance and fear, making
religious tolerance less acceptable and forcing
conformity within a country that prides itself on dignity
• Although much Islamic attire is still legal to wear in
these areas, if the right to wear the Burqa and the
niqab is not fought for, it would not be unlikely that all
Islamic clothing could be banned in the future.
Islamic Veils and Attire.