Saturday, August 27, 2016
So, Who is the Oppressor?
I am so angry that armed French police accosted a Muslim woman on a beach and forced her to remove items of clothing, then fined her. A number of municipalities in France have instituted a draconian law prohibiting Muslim women from swimming in what is being called the burkini, a full length swim suit which corresponds with supposed religious requirements for modesty. I say "supposed" because there are Muslim scholars who argue that many of these rules are cultural rather than required by the Quran. Then again, many restrictions in certain expressions of Christianity related to modesty, past and present, have more to do with patriarchy than biblical directives.
The point is that the government is targeting Muslim women in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks which have been perpetrated by Islamic extremists. The irony is that these have been carried out by disaffected men, most of whom were not strongly observant Muslims. The women who are now the subject of this ridiculous law are not terrorists. They want to go for a swim or sit on the beach on a hot summer day, or go to the pool with their kids in clothes which suit their views on modesty. Since when is that a crime worthy of intervention by armed police?
It's crazy that "the powers that be" have deemed that virtually naked women on beaches represent French values but these Muslim women are antithetical to them.
At times I do wonder whether the hijab and other clothing requirements are repressive, yet when I see a cheerful young woman reporter on the evening newscast wearing a headscarf I don't have the impression that she is a poor repressed creature in the thrall of controlling men. And I'm glad that the RCMP will allow women officers to wear the hijab, if they choose.
What are your thoughts on this?