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Dilemma: Should We Ban The Burkha?

In my opinion, yes.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has raised an interesting debate within France, and the rest of Europe. Should the burkha be banned? In an address to Parliament he said, “It will not be welcome on French soil. We cannot accept in our country, women imprisoned by mesh, cut off from society, deprived of all identity. That is not the French republic’s idea of women’s dignity.”

The concept of secularism is sacred in France — the separation of church and state is guarded by everyone from school teachers to ministers. But it’s not the first time the issue of Islamic dress has come up. Five years ago “conspicuous” signs of religion — including headscarves — were banned from schools in France — it caused huge uproar then, but is now law.

I’m not a Muslim myself, but some of my closest friends are… And when some of them became devout Muslim it was a huge learning curve for me. I could no longer meet my good friend Mohammed for coffee without someone else being there, and we could no longer hug when we met or said goodbye. My friend Hannah began covering up and wearing a hijab (headscarf) when we were out and about. I respect them both for their choices, and incredibly proud that they were able to make such hard decisions. Especially seen as they were both my regular raving partners back in the day.

But having also talked to other young British Muslims women about the issue of the burkha — they appear to be mostly in agreement. It’s not something they would ever choose to wear, and women who do wear them tend to have had the idea of it pushed upon them by the men in their lives.

Having previously read the Koran, I’m not aware of it stating that a woman’s face and body must be covered in a layer of thick black cloth. Instead Muslim women should dress modestly, covering their arms and legs. The issue of the burkha seems to be a Saudi Arabian tradition, which has arrived in our society — and could be a sign of creeping radicalisation.

I have Muslim friends who work in Pakistan – and even they see the idea of the burkha as regressive, oppressive and potentially dangerous.  Women who wear burkhas tend to claim that they choose to wear it. But I’m not sure it is. When you have girls as young as four wearing the hijab to school, you have to ask yourself at what point in their short four years did that then become their choice?

My friends who have become fully emersed their Muslim faith have done so in adulthood. Their parents made them aware of their faith, but did not force it upon them. When they became old enough to make their own decisions, they chose their own paths… But for my female Muslim friends, it was not a path that made them lose their identity.

As hard as it is for me to say… I agree with a ban on the burkhas. Yes we are a modern and culturally diverse nation here in the UK, but we also believe in equal rights for both men and women. And we also believe that it’s wrong to have radicalised men who love to control women.

What do you think?

Miss London is an original Parlourista reppin London to the fullest. Catch up with her here.

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