Thursday, May 14, 2020
In Your Face Hypocrisy in France?
What we call "the news" can be a hodgepodge of the bad, the ugly, and a smattering of good which is often presented as though it's all of equal value. Skilled presenters can move deftly from item to item and if your brain is like mine (God protect you) I can receive what I hear passively and often catching the absurdity of certain stories only after they fly by.
This morning I heard on the radio that in France citizens are required by law or edict to wear masks in public to help address the transmission of COVID-19. Then the newsworthy part of the story that Muslim women are not allowed to cover their faces with religious garb. Wear a mask, or be penalized, but don't cover your face because you're religious.
I've been convinced by Muslim scholars and observers that the hijab and niqab are cultural aspects of some expressions of Islam rather than directives from the Quran. I've always been suspicious that these requirements are more about male control of women than about modesty. I feel the same is true about wigs on Orthodox Jewish women, or hats on conservative Christian women . I also reluctantly concede that religious groups have the freedom to choose what I might consider in error as long as it isn't harmful, that there is a degree of participation by those women, and that they have the freedom to make other choices.
In the case of the Muslim women in France there is a sense of hypocrisy rooted in anti-Islamic sentiment which also prohibits them from wearing modest bathing apparel, sometimes called the burkini, on public beaches and some have been ticketed by police for doing so. Canada is certainly not exempt from this with racist, Islamophobic regulations there as well. In the US armed men iare able to walk around in masks with impunity while women are harassed for wearing religious attire.
What are your thoughts about this? Are the regulations in France racist and Islamophobic?