I have been following the various feminist, political, and racial debates that the French proposal for ban on the Islamic full veil or hijab has fanned. Read the latest on it here.
My feelings, stance and opinion remain unsorted and confused. A lot of questions diffuse my attempts at any kind of understanding, and I share them here.
- Does Islam really mandate the wearing of a veil that covers the face in its entirety? Doesn’t the holy Quran refer to the hijab in its broader sense of modesty and not necessarily a physical piece of clothing to be worn? If it is modesty and social propriety, is a piece of cloth enough to ensure the same?
- Is the enforcement of the mandate of the full veil a fanatic religious measure to keep women entrapped in the dark shadows of illiteracy and ignorance - do the extremists actually believe that women need to be protected, or hidden, or maybe just put away?
- Is the proposal to ban the wearing of the full veil in France pro open-faced democracy, and in the interest of the security of the nation, and the feminist endeavor for greater rights and freedom for women?
- Is the problem with the veil that it covers the full faces and hence poses security threats? Have there been incidents of misuse of the veil by criminals?
- Is the proposed ban against the institution of secularism? Does it indicate religious intolerance and racial bias of the xenophobic “west”?
- Do Islamic women see the burqa or the hijab as a cultural identity that empowers them as unique individuals or thwarts their efforts at any kind of progress?
- Do Islamic women wear the veil out of coercion or of their own free will? Is their will free or conditioned?
- Is the hijab the only form of expressing religious belief? Why should only women carry the burden of religious identity?