Why Banning the Muslim Burqa Is Not Religious Persecution

The woman on the left is very acceptable in the West. the one on the right, is the problem.
The woman on the left is very acceptable in the West. the one on the right, is the problem.

Recently, France's President Skarkozy took a bold move and endorsed a banning of the "full veil" tradition of Muslim women while in public. Other members of the French government are pushing for a full ban of the Burka in France, which would impact over six million Muslim women now living in France.

The French often take a harder line on issues than their brothers in the UK or America, sometimes it is wrong, sometimes right. In both the UK and the US, there is a strong tendency not to offend by an over indulgence of PC, political correctness, spawned over the years by lawsuits against the government and private entities and one's individual rights, the separation of State and Religion, ad nauseum. The ultimate impact has been an "almost" anything goes in both countries.

What seems to be freedom is actually having an opposite effect. Think about it. One cannot put a religious symbol they believe in on a public site because it might offend another. One cannot call a gay, a queer or fag, if they elect to do so. What happen to freedom of speech?

France is banning the "full veil" approach to Muslim women wearing the Burka in public. And why not? If a Westerner lives in Saudi Arabia, you must do certain customary things expected in that society or be in trouble. Thus, the action of the French government is correct. The Burka is an offensive Muslim device to entrap women into being subservient to men. It is hard to believe that God women wanted to be so subservient to men, to be hidden from public eye, disgraced as if they were "not important" as men. It is a way to force women to always be a slave of a man.  The Full Veil further worsens this. It is like talking to a black blob alien thing, where one cannot see facial expressions, eyes etc.. It is very disturbing to Westerners. It is demeaning to women and others trying to communicate. The Islam religion indicates that women must wear a Burka for a host of silly reasons because women are cherished items of a man and other nonsense. The real purpose is to hide them, keep women inferior to men, isolate them and make them stand out in a negative way.

Most western countries have men and women fairly equal in most ways and the Burka simply has the opposite impact. The Full Veil Burka or niqab goes against all Western countries culture and values, whether in the US, UK, France, Germany etc. In France, the government is considering a fine of $750 for any woman found wearing  the " Full Veil" burka.

Skarkozy said, "The full veil is not welcome in France because it runs contrary to our values and contrary to the idea we have of a woman's dignity." He went on to say it is not racism unless you wish to put that spin on it, as many will. He said, "Let us undertake not to give opponents of democracy, dignity and sexual equality the chance for a victory which would put our society in a very difficult situation."

The full veil is more than an item of religious expression, it destroys any sense of identity and is simply incompatible with French values. It is a violation of a woman's rights and is often imposed by fundamentalist men. Additionally, the full veil gives poses a serious security concern. Covering your face in public should be illegal whether you were a niqab or a ski mask. People shouldn't be offended by such legislation, just as one Muslim should not offended if I can't walk around Mecca (Saudi Arabia) with shorts and a tank top ( if you  are NOT Muslim, you cannot even go to Mecca!).The veil is not always a symbol of piety. Look up news footage of Egypt in the 70's, you will find very few women covering their faces. Ditto Iran in the 70's.

The veil is more a symbol of female compliance and male supremacy.  A secular state that regards religion as a private matter should be able to insist that all religious trappings and forms of dress are banned from any publicly funded institution. Private life is a different thing. On the other hand, though, there is the the question of how much the burqah truly represents a "choice" for women who wear it. Some (probably most) will say that it's their own choice but we also know that most of such women have been subject to extreme familial and cultural pressure since birth so there's an issue as what "choice" really means here and, perhaps, a pattern to be broken so that future generations really do have meaningful choices. Many Muslims feel a fully-veiled women using the public space demonstrates her own piety and implicitly denounces the mores of any woman who is more scantily clad. The unspoken message is that men's sexual lasciviousness is a given and the way for a woman to indicate her unavailability is to hide herself. Yet, if this true, then there are no Muslim women available because all must where the Burka in public!

Obviously, cultures are clashing between the West and Islam. However, when one lives in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Mexico, one is expected to obey and comply with the core values of that nation and its culture, even if they feel it is offensive or stupid. If Muslims wish to live in France, they must comply with its rules and customs. No different than Americans living in Saudi Arabia. 

The war on terrorism has not help Muslims anywhere in the West. However, unfair it is, the fact is that wearing a Full Veil burka is not liked in the West. Even a Burka is not liked much. A women wearing such a thing and trying to get a job in any Western country would most likely not get it. It poses too many issues for business, all negative.

The Burka should stay where it belongs in most Islamic nations. That is just how it is.

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Comments 38 comments

SheriSapp profile image

SheriSapp 7 years ago from West Virginia

LOVED this hub. You should check out the one I just wrote about assimilation--it has much the same tone and points you made here.

perrya profile image

perrya 7 years ago Author

many thanks.

Theology4Reality profile image

Theology4Reality 6 years ago from Calgary

I agree with much of the hub, but there is still one major flaw in France's law, and that is that it punishes the women who are obeying there husbands out of fear. I agree that many Muslim women are forced to wear the burka by their husbands, but isn't this a form of punishing the victim?

svencill profile image

svencill 6 years ago from Florida

What makes you think that these women aren't doing this because they believe in their customs and religion. I saw this documentary once of an american woman who decided that she would like to follow the Muslim religion. So she began wearing the traditional Burka. Now do you think it would be right to ban Burkas for the people who truly believe that it is a necessary part of their religion? I think that would be wrong and would vialate any persons rights.

However, I am sure you are right in some cases. There probably are Muslim women who do not agree with this tradition who feel they have to follow it for one reason or another but I don't believe a ban is the right way to handle it. I think that it should not be required for any person to follow any particular religion or custom that they don't agree with.

magnoliazz profile image

magnoliazz 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Just think...these women never have to worry about fixing their hair and make up before they leave the house. It must save a lot of time. LOL! If you can take the heat and not pass out in that long black sack thing.

I wonder, does a guy ever see his inteneded wife before they are married? That would level the playing field if you are an ugly woman!

perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

Luv the comments, all valid, in their own way. when one lives in rome, they act like Romans. here, muslims who move to France must follow whatever French laws. They can always leave.

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

Interesting, and for the women there is nothing like women's fights in this country. I don't think we risked our life. Although I don't believe women will ever equal men here either,not really,it is not bad enough for me to want to scream about it. lol Such shameful things worldwide and Muslims com to America and have freedom of religion that means rugs and rooms we no doubt pay for after having our religion outlawed.

atifhameed profile image

atifhameed 6 years ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

I don't agree buddy. I am Muslim, & you must have to clear your CONCENT about burka / Veil.

Just read this hub (for all you guys) after that will give you your answers okay!! What is being implemented in France against Burka is totally again "Religion Freedom & Human Rights". In Pakistan no one can bound any Western women to wear a burka or veil. What she want.. can wear.. according to their religion & their choice…


Please read it very carefully


atifhameed profile image

atifhameed 6 years ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

@ magnoliazz:

Q: Just think...these women never have to worry about fixing their hair and make up before they leave the house

Ans: Who said? Our women enjoy everything you wrote but not for MEN in her surrounding. For your reference...

"Hence the Quran announced that pious ladies must be properly and modestly dressed so that when they go out of their houses people should recognize them as domestic chaste, pure and pious ladies and they should not be teased or chased"

perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

Just as atifmeed expects westerners to fully accept the islamic\muslim way as being the "only right way", if you live in a non-muslim\islamic country, you should,a s a muslim respect the laws of the country you reside and not become righteous telling others what is right or wrong. For those in france who wear it, if it bothers them that much about France's law, they should just live the country. There are plenty of others that do not have that law.

atifhameed profile image

atifhameed 6 years ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

1-Just as atifmeed expects westerners to fully accept the islamic\muslim way as being the "only right way",

Ans: @perrya I did not say any thing like this & I even don't expect any westerner to accept our islamic laws or what you said.

Look there is a word "Religious Freedom". Every country has its own laws & I think every country respect the religious freedom. In Franc this law was passed in 2004 & this is totally against the Human Rights & Religious Freedom. I won’t say anything more on it!

2ndly, we respect all religions & laws of other countries etc. I am proud that at least in my country we don’t bother any westerner women not to wear mini skirt that even taking our society to wrong way…

You said: There are plenty of others that do not have that law………

Why France do????

perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

Not all muslims respect non-muslim religions. take saudi arabia-westerners who work and live there are restricted in what they can do, wear, or where to go. Yet, SA is such a hypocrisy because most of those men or women have gone to Western universities, lived in the UK or USA. God forbid France in restricting what muslim women wear in their own country. In Iran, a western woman really cannot go into the public without a scarf over her head. Egypt is perhaps the least restrictive muslim country for non-muslim religions.

atifhameed profile image

atifhameed 6 years ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

Anyways perrys we are not here to fight each other. We are just here to share our opinions & views on any subject. I can't change the laws of France & vice versa… What you wrote I replied what my Quran & my religion teach us.

Take good care & be like good friends :)

perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

Okay, that is why America is great-freedom to express your views and remains good friends.

luabu 6 years ago

seems like you guys agreed to disagree as if there was no middle ground

can a man be naked in public /no why

what is different in this to a woman being totally covered

this thing can be resolved with bye laws and common sense

ie a restaurant owner should be able to choose his dress code

in my country for a while young people could not wear hoodies in shopping centres as the cctv cameras could not identify shop lifters

give people the legal right in situations to deny admission based on dress

in public places like airports etc make a call and stick to it and keep the legal system out of it

there is no reason why those black robes walking down the street should be offensive enough to be banned

i don't like them either but i don't like lots of things

it is dangerous to have a blanket ban on anything no matter how logical it seems/its conflicts in this situation with free rights in a modern democracy

ie we provide nudist beaches /strip clubs /etc etc /so we end up just picking the bits we like

this is fundamentalism by a different way


good topic and well done to all

Laurence 5 years ago

You're wrong - only around 2,000 women wear the burka out of a population of around 5-6 million muslims living in France.

thebrucebeat profile image

thebrucebeat 5 years ago from Nags Head, NC

perrya says that saudi arabia wouldn't allow western style wear there. what is the problem in outlawing the burka?

Is that what you aspire to? Saudi Arabia? We are like them in being one of the few countries left that have the death penalty, most of which are muslim or third world. You want to start this foolishness, too?

We are about choice and freedom. Assimilation is a word used as a tool to control people and homogenize them. It doesn't work.

Did you know that the bible forbids wives from speaking in church, and demands they keep their mouths shut until they get home and can ask their husbands their questions?

This ban on the burka would fail in the U.S., and rightly so.

perrya profile image

perrya 5 years ago Author

I think France did the right thing.

thebrucebeat profile image

thebrucebeat 5 years ago from Nags Head, NC

How could you justify it here in America? I mean legally, mind you.

You haven't made the case that banning the burka isn't religious persecution. You have made the case that religious persecution is ok.

Katya 5 years ago

Your article misses the point.

Covering your face has to do with Islam as much as burning witches has to do with Jesus. Covering your face is part of a culture- not a religion. Muslim women around the world, from Kyrgyzstan to Canada, don't cover their faces. Why? The Holy Koran doesn't say to. Women who claim they are covering their face because of their religion are on flimsy theological ground. They are also at odds with the modern, highly technological culture they choose to live in. The niqab and burka are antagonistic for the same reason wearing a ski mask would be: you are not able to be identified. This has nothing to do with feminism, religion or cultural supremacy. It's simply common sense.

"The Burka should stay where it belongs in most Islamic nations. That is just how it is."

There are very few Islamic nations where wearing a burka is popular, let alone accepted."

Adam 5 years ago

First of...this is very biased!

Second, this full Burka isn't religious and isn't an Islamic thing. It's more cultural than religious, the reason you're suppose to cover your hair to avoid an attraction from a married guy, or a guy in particular because you're not to be exposed before marriage. However, if you're on the bus with 20 other woman, and you're the only one wearing burka; guess who got all the attention? I fully support the ban of French full face cover, although covering hair should be optional!

ali 5 years ago

its a pity Islam is the fastest growing way of life in the world but yet people are clueless http://www.getdeen.com

Jazzer 5 years ago

Bugger only found this now.

Oh every word is true .

Come on Aussies. We all dislike this crap in private stand up and be honest and dislike the burka and the oppression of woman in public.


Melissa 5 years ago

Please pass this same law in Canada. I can't stand those people with full burka going to examinations in university. Honestly, they could easily ask some smart student or pay a graduate student to write their exam. At least, pass a law that requires these people to expose their faces every time identity needs to be confirmed.

Good job France! I would vote for the guys that passed this law if I was living there.

perrya profile image

perrya 5 years ago Author

Melissa, you have a good point I never thought of.

5 years ago

Of course, Skarkozy is a crusader ( no pun intended ) for human rights, not a crusader for French xenophobia... Sihks: cut your hair, Jews: take off the tassels, I mean, if the Saudis and Israelis are making people conform, why can't we roll in the ol' Inquisition? Of course, that's why those sneaky Muslims wear it: to cheat on tests! The brilliance and simplicity, man, what an ingenious plan! It's a cultural practice that predates Islam, and while within nations like Iran women are forced to wear them, in Western nations its optional and an expression of cultural freedom... Forcing someone to not wear it borders on forcing someone to wear it, like forcing you to not say the pledge of allegiance in school

Elani-Lee profile image

Elani-Lee 5 years ago from Los Angeles

I believe that in the western world, marriage is an outdated ritual designed to transfer ownership of women from their fathers to their husbands. You believe that a Muslim woman choosing to wear a burka is an outdated ritual used in the Muslim world to keep women inferior to men. My view on marriage may seem very extreme to you, in the same way that your viewpoint on the wear of the veil may seem extreme to Muslim women.

Saudi Arabi is a theocracy. This is not the type of system of governence that we should strive to emulate.

Adam commented that this should be a non-issue, because wearing the burka isn't even discussed in the Qur'an. I don't know, because I have never read it, but I do know that there are plenty of Christian "traditions" that are followed which are not in the bible. If someone truly believes that their religion wants them to wear a scarf over their face, let them. I don't see how it affects any one else.

perrya profile image

perrya 5 years ago Author

Elani, generally you are correct, but there are situations in the western world where it is an issue: getting a drivers license where the photo is full face or any other licenses , for that matter where it is required. the old saying, "when in rome, do as the romans" applies here. when living in the west, muslims should adapt to those customs of the home country, just as westerners in Arab countries must also do.

A Muslim Woman 4 years ago

No one forces us to wear the scarf we choose to wear the hijab and burka. We are not scared of our husbands or forced to do anything by him; he is our guardian and protector as our father is before we marry...I can't make you understand everything about Islam in one comment but please don't judge a bookby it's cover, it's not right...

perrya profile image

perrya 4 years ago Author

True, but a few bad apples creates a very bad impression on the contents of the barrel.

WhydThatHappen 4 years ago

I like the argument for being able to ban the veil because of a belief in the dignity of women, but I am a little skeptical of the argument "If they can do it we can do it." I understand what you are saying, but I don't want our laws to be defended by laws of other countries- it seems regressive to do it that way- like we're trying to find equilibrium with countries who do not hold the same standards as we do, when our standards stand apart from any other country's. Not that countries don't share our values, but our values are ours because we wanted them.

ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California


The most compelling argument you made in your hub was that when we go to a Muslim country they want our women to be dressed like their women, and that is exactly what France wants here. The other arguments about the equality of women is just a bonus.

perrya profile image

perrya 4 years ago Author

The issue is whether a country has the right to impose a dress code, in a sense, for what is viewed as extreme dress for their culture. Muslims state that is the norm in their home country, fine, then don't come to another country where it is NOT the norm and expect everyone to accept it openly. Especially, whether right or wrong, the dress manner is associated with terrorists. There have been women dressed in burqas with bombs. If I was conducting business, I want to see the face I am talking to. I do not want to see just eyes or at worse, nothing by a burqa. I agree with the French.

kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 4 years ago from North Carolina, USA

Men should be fined, not women. Those poor women don't have a choice--unless they want to be beaten or killed. Banning burqas means men who want to treat their women as invisible may NOT do that in a Western country where women are considered people with dignity and legal rights.

Every person deserves to have a face.

perrya profile image

perrya 4 years ago Author

Like I said, the woman on the left in the photo should present no problem in any Western country

violetheaven profile image

violetheaven 3 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

It concerns me more that Goverments are trying to control what people wear and how the wear it. Many of us women in the west look first to fashion and function when determing our wardrobe. I think that in a lot of ways banning the full burqa is just as bad as mandating it. I do not think it is the goverments place to tell me what I can and cannot wear. For a lot of these Muslim women it is a matter of faith and how they determine what modest dress is. I say if you choose as a woman to cover yourself up from head to toe than that is your business. If you choose to wear daisy dukes and a tank top that is also your business. It is also good to note that the Qur'an doesn't mandate Islamic women to wear a burqa. That is mans invention. Just like any Christian man wouldn't want his wfe running around with half her bossom hanging out a Muslim man doesn't like to see his wife dress in a way that says she is not modest according to their belief. Muslim women tend to be more submissive in this way.

perrya profile image

perrya 3 years ago Author

I agree, but not for conducting business. I would not like to have an attorney wearing it, not the full burqa. There are many other situations in business also, because of the terrorists and their tie to Islam, the burqa has bad PR and image issues.

perrya profile image

perrya 19 months ago Author

Thanks MK.

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