There has been much controversy around the world concerning France’s decision to pass a law banning the wearing of the niqab and burqa in public by Muslim women in France. There approximately 2,000 women in France that this law would directly affect and most of them are converts to the religion who are French born citizens. Obviously there will be many opinions on the matter by various political figures, news reporters, Muslim men, French citizens, but what is the opinion of the Muslim woman on the matter? Reading through articles and searching through YouTube, there is a feeling
that the vast majority of women who choose to wear the niqab do so of their own choosing and find it appalling that they would be forced to remove their veil. Women argue that is a violation of their religious freedom and see it as an attempt by the government to control them. These women reject the idea their head scarfs are oppressive; in fact many feel it is liberating. Wearing the niqab or burqa frees them from being sexualized and itemized for their bodies. By wearing the head scarf, one is forced to deal with the women’s brain and personality; in a sense, she is more in control of her sexuality with the scarf. However, to this debate, it is critical to first understand why a woman chooses to wear the veil. Only then can we understand the argument and perspective of the muslim woman who chooses to wear a head scarf.
Though the vast majority of Muslim women choose to cover their faces and bodies, not all do. In this great CNN report of the debate over head scarfs in France, one Muslim woman spoke out in favor of the ban, calling head scarfs oppressive and stripping of a women’s existence. In the video, there are two women who spoke out on the matter: both Muslim, but could not have had more opposing views. This goes to show that not all Muslim women are in favor of the niqab and burqa. It is a personal decision made from individual to individual. Critics of the burqa argue that it is not the woman’s decision really, that she is coerced, even forced, to wear the scarf. Outsiders believe the woman does not really have a choice in the matter. Either way, the major debate is not over the women’s struggle to have rights among her family, that is a private battle. The issue is whether or not it is right for the French government to step into the world of religion and ban a religious tradition based off of political motives.