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Cultural Anthropology Article


In an extensive capacity, anthropology entails hypothesis formation and testing whether it holds grounds in various situations. Anthropology seeks to find a balance between the social, political and environmental justice. This is because individuals from dissimilar communities upholds diverse cultural practices thus the need for a common ground, in order to promote unity and integration.

Therefore, in this article under study, the ideology is that social organization and cultural practice must receive at most respect for a unified coexistence. The passed law was political in nature because it targeted only the Muslim group, a community considered a minority in the country (France).

It came into force on a time when the association or relationship between the French Muslim group and the state was incredibly sour (The Gazette). Therefore, it is highly likely that politics played a central role in the formation of these laws. Additionally, it is normal that when a law is passed, it should have clear and absolute guidelines on enforcement protocols.

However, in this case, the enforcement of this law was at the discretion of the people and not the police. It was for the populace to decide whether to unveil their faces or not; thus, there was no any enforceable forceful mechanism. Additionally, the imposed fines were theoretical and unenforceable to women who refused to uncover their faces in public.

The French president feared that the French culture was under threat from the Islam, which was an excuse for gaining votes from ant-immigration supporters. Such laws, which target the marginalized communities or minority groups, often encourage activism or formation of activist groups (Miller, Barbara, Esterik, Penny, and Esterik John, 248). These formed groups often aim to change certain unfavorable conditions, which include violation of human rights, violence and political repression.

To a significant extent, this enacted law had some significant shortcomings thus making it ineffective. Among the various problems included the fact that the police had no capacity, to compel any person to remove the veil or head covering (The Gazette). This argument received a confirmation from the law enforcing entities within the nation stating that they had no power over the matter.

Therefore, it promoted a resistance nature in various immigrant districts. In addition to the limited powers granted to the police, the imposed fines were theoretical thus never applied on offenders. Ultimately, the police also felt embarrassed to persuade veiled women in public due to pride in men.

In a critical examination, the enacted law clearly brings out the abuse of power; the president is using his prerogative powers to bring desired results by luring political alliance from the opposing group (Miller, Barbara, Esterik, Penny, and Esterik John, 256). The president does this by trying to show that he shares the same concerns as the other group that does not support him.

Social cohesion should be maintained by protecting every social stakeholder’s rights and guaranteeing their safety (Miller, Barbara, Esterik, Penny, and Esterik John, 257). This must also include the Muslim minority. The government should not neglect or marginalize any group in any way.

The president should not target any group in an ill manner without having real and valid reasons; in fact, he should represent or act as a symbol or emblem of leadership and moral integrity, which are values enshrined in the presidential office.

One of the chief reasons that the French state is putting forward in support of this law is there should be secularism and inequality in both genders. They advance to add that these were two areas, which could not be compromised. The French state also claimed that lifting of the veil is necessary for security reasons (The Gazette).

They thus proved their seriousness by imposing fines of up to 150 Euros and attendance of re-educational classes. Moreover, the penalty might be even heavier, up to a fine of 30,000 Euros with a conviction year on people forcing women to wear veils.

Comment on the soundness of these reasons

This law aims at intimidating the Muslim minority, since the reasons brought forth in support of the law are extremely outrageous. This is because Islamic religion upholds the wearing of veils and thus the French women are simply practicing their religion. Moreover, they had the right to exercise their freedoms including their religious practices. It is thus clear that this law undermines the minority group (Islam).

The reasons given by the state were not the real reasons behind the implementation of this law. One of the key pointers, which indicate that this law targets the Muslim minority is that the law started being operational at a time, when the relationship between the Islamic religion followers and the state was extremely nasty.

Political agenda behind this law

In a political perspective, it is clear that the president intends to frustrate the Muslim minority, in order to gain votes from the anti-immigration supporters (The Gazette). His argument, therefore, is based on allegations that the Islamic religion poses a threat to the French culture hence he wants to show the anti-immigration supporters or voters that they share the same concerns.

The feminists argue that the veil is demeaning to women, and they totally agree with the French government’s position (The Gazette). While, on the other hand, the religious community argued in contrary to the state, they claimed that the law targeted only the Islamic community.

Therefore, they fought against the law stating that the French state was infringing or violating on religion and expression freedoms. The religious community further argued that, it was part of the Islamic religion for women to put on veils; thus, there is no point for the French state to impose the law.

The citizenship’s argument was that the law was politically engineered to target the Muslim minority and further work in favor of the French state, in accomplishing its mandate of getting votes from the anti-immigration voters, on the basis that they share the same concerns about Islam being a threat to the French culture.

Since culture is based on religion in this case, the argument of practicing this law remains valid. The Islam religion is a culture to the Muslim community and thus they have every right to exercise freedom of expression and religion. The cultural argument is clearly against the law, since it restricts the practice of the Islamic religion and culture.

This law is a direct violation of the freedom of expression and religious practices among the Islamic community. The Islamic culture should be practiced freely and in a similar capacity as other communities. The French state has shown massive disregard of these freedoms and rights by going defiantly against them and thus passing a law to frustrate the Muslim minority.

France, as a country, is going against its own principles of upholding the freedoms and rights of its own populace. For example, in this case, the French state arrests women wearing veils yet do not charge them (The Gazette). This clearly shows that this law is in itself lacking basis and does not hold any ground in ethical and even legal terms.

It is simply a tool for intimidation and frustration to the Muslim minority based on selfish reasons spearheaded by the French president. The president is simply finding ways, which he can use to gunner votes from those who are against him. Enforcement of this law is posing to be a challenge following the underlying ill motives of their formation.

The French president is using the law for to spearhead or support his own interest (The Gazette). I strongly believe that this is a complete violation of the very essence of creating laws. Law should be equal and apply to all; they should not sideline to any group. As an anthropologist, I consider religion as part of culture as brought out by Barbara miller in his book cultural anthropology; therefore, it should receive at most legal and political protection.

In conclusion, religion as a form of culture, should receive at most care and respect. Every national organ, whether significant or insignificant, should also uphold every religion practiced the citizens for the betterment of a country.

In this case, the French state has gone against the very essence of fundamental rights and freedoms of the Muslim minority. In an anthropological perspective, such disgraceful acts should be strongly discouraged at every governance level, to promote social, cultural and religious integration.

Works cited

. France arrests two niqab-wearing protesters. 12 Apr. 2011. Web.

Miller, Barbara, Esterik, Penny, and Esterik John. Cultural anthropology. New Jersey, NJ: Person education, 2010. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Cultural Anthropology Article'. 17 July.

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