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France’s burqa ban: women are effectively under house arrest Essay

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Updated: May 28th, 2019

This article appeared on the online publication of “The Guardian”. The article addresses the recent ban on burqas in France. The article’s author follows up on the experiences of several Muslim women within France. According to the article, the ban on burqas has almost put some Muslim women under house arrest. The women whose experiences are used in the article concur that while they still faced some discrimination before the ban, the situation has worsened since the ban became effective.

The article quips that the new law can be challenged in a higher European court. In addition, no fines have been handed out to the women who have been caught wearing the niqab in public places. The article notes that there has not been any substantial protest against these laws even from Muslim groups. Moreover, the little protest that has been forthcoming is not sufficient enough to initiate any changes to the ban. The author is quick to note that the new law can potentially ‘embarrass’ France on the global front.

This article is effective on many fronts. First, the article gives personal accounts of at least two defiant women. This takes the reader closer to the issue at hand. Most people react to this issue using their own experiences. For instance, only someone who has worn the niqab can accurately describe how wearing this piece of clothing feels like. The architects of the burqa ban argued that this mode of dressing was like a ‘walking prison’.

The author of this article is able to bypass several opinions and go straight to the opinion that matters. This mode of research is able to exempt this article from the scourge of sensational journalism that dominates the 21st century. It is not easy to tell how people who have never worn a niqab are able to deduce that wearing it feels like being in a prison. According to this article, the comfortableness of the niqab is the least concern for these women because they have to deal with other problems like discrimination and assault.

Conflicts that stem from religious beliefs are not common in this century. The burqa ban in France provides an interesting insight into the dimension taken by religion based conflicts. The article states that the ban on burqas was instituted with the aim of liberating women. The lawmakers felt that by issuing a ban on burqas in public places they would potentially provide a reprieve for the women who were ‘forced’ to wear this type of clothing.

This was also the general notion among the public. However, the aftermath of the ban indicates that this reasoning might have been misguided. The feeling towards the niqab-wearing women is supposed to be that of sympathy. However, the article reveals that the women are subjected to ridicule, abuse, and even violence.

These incidences indicate that there are hidden agendas behind this legislation. The agenda was not to liberate the women but to vilify them. The article details different forms of this vilification from both the public and the state organs. The fact that no woman has been fined for wearing the niqab indicates that even the government is not sure about its actions.

The article offers subtle support to the Muslim women who are most affected by this ban. The article also personalizes the debate on this ban instead of generalizing it. Sympathetic reactions are also likely to follow the publication of this article.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "France's burqa ban: women are effectively under house arrest." May 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/frances-burqa-ban-women-are-effectively-under-house-arrest-essay/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'France's burqa ban: women are effectively under house arrest'. 28 May.

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