Burqa not welcome in France

French President Nicolas Sarkozy believes that Burqa (the veil worn by muslim women worldwide) “is not a symbol of religion, but a sign of subservience for women“.


Iam a great believer in democracy and freedom of choice.  If a woman wants to wear a burqa, she should be free to wear it and if she doesn’t want to, she shouldn’t be forced to,  even though her religion or elders in her family / society want her to wear it.

But then, how do you decide if the woman who has been indoctrinated all her life that the burqa is essential for her to project her religious identity wears the same even after she grows up?

Was reading the debate in CNN-IBN where Asaduddin Owaisi, the leader of MIM party of Hyderabad, India defended the burqa on the same lines as the Christian nuns who cover their heads and the Jewish men who wear a skull cap.

Most importantly, what i simply cant understand is to why only women have to wear it?  Why dont the men also wear the burqa if indeed the women are forced to wear it to protect their modesty?  Do men have no modesty? Or is it that the woman’s modesty is more precious that the man’s?  If yes, who decided that?

What do you think?  Do you agree with Sarkozy’s comment that “women behind the burqa are cut off from social life and deprived of identity?

PS: Comment moderation has been enabled as there is a chance of this discussion going out of hand.  If all that you want to comment is something hateful, you may as well forget it as i will never approve that comment.  Put your point forth sensibly and it will be posted.

Above picture courtesy: The Muslim Woman



  1. Your second para sums it up all.

    Religious believes should never be forced upon any individuals and this burqa issue also must be acc to the choice of the individual. With all due respect to religious beliefs, customs and practices, I believe that some of the things we do in the name of religion is nothing better than ridiculous. (not speaking specifically about the burqa here)

    But how long have we purposefully closed out eyes towards the fact that the high prevalence of Osteoporosis among Muslim women in the Middle East was directly linked to Vit D deficiency secondary to lack of sunlight to the body? And I’ve seen religious leaders flaunting this fact by preaching that “God doesn’t say anything which will be detrimental to us” and so on… Let the hapless women suffer, let the wrath lay with God.

    Forget Sarkosy, democracy and subservience, its about time people opened their eyes to see where some of our practices and customs are taking us.

  2. B K CHOWLA says:

    Though it is controversial,but I appreciate this man Sarkozy.He has a mind of his own and is not worried about reaction.He means business and has a clear mind.I wish,our Govt could express their views(any subject)as fearlessly.
    In France there is a seperation osf state and the relegion.
    Let them decide,
    Again,I appreciate Sarkozy’s frankness

  3. Ottayan says:

    It is pertinent to examine why Muslim women who never wore a burqa earlier are wearing it now.

  4. Chittaranjan says:

    Its difficult to take a stance…one one hand its the prerogative of the individual to wear or not to wear an apparel that mirrors their religious/cultural/social sentiments. On the other, one has to look at the issue of ‘equality’ – gender-wise or sect/caste/creed wise.

    Esp. in places like schools, colleges, institutions where all are alike, it can set a difficult precedent to allow some to attire differently than others. Turbans, might not be as contentious (few paajis in our office cover their patkas under a cap, rather than a turban) but veils and burqas can be.

    Of course, a line can’t be drawn as to where one can or cannot wear their choice of apparel….a balanced and rational thought/decisiion is the need of the hour.

    And yeah, I tend to agree with BKC….Sarkozy was indeed brave to take such a stance.

  5. Rashid says:

    Sarkozy is trying to tell people waht they should wear. This is a personal, not religous.In the name of freedom he is tring to curtail it.

  6. NK says:

    When in Rome do as the Roamans so. So if Muslims want to live in Christian countries they should follow their diktat. Else they should stay in their own countries. How many Muslim countries allow other religions to be practiced? None! So why this hue and cry over burqah. They want to go to non Islamic countries, get jobs, partake of their affluence and settle there. But they don’t want to follow their laws? How convenient!

  7. Liju Philip says:

    @Scorpiogenius, the laws have been framed by men. That’s why i asked if the modesty is something so private, why is it that the men also dont wear the burqa and only force the women to wear it? Sarkozy seems to believe that its a case of women’s oppression by men using religious beliefs.

    @Chowla, of course France is a different country and has its own laws of separating state and religion. And i admire Sarkozy’s guts at addressing this issue.

    @Ottayan, is it something to do with the ghettoisation of our mindsets and religion?

    @YC, it should at the end of the day be left to the woman to decide if she wants to wear it or not. But we see that there is a subtle encouragement / threat for the women to wear it from their own families, society.

    @Rashid, point noted. According to Sarkozy too, in the name of religious freedom, the woman’s freedom is being curtailed. That’s what he is pointing at. According to him, individual freedom is more impt than religious freedom.

  8. Ituki says:

    Because of the subjects I teach, and bescuae I’ve made an effort to teach writing by Arab and Middle Eastern women in my courses, I’ve got to know quite a lot of Muslim women students over the last few years, all of whom wear hijab of some kind. I have three Muslim women students at the moment and one of them sometimes covers her face, though not every day. I have to say I haven’t found it at all a problem to teach her and help her learn. She is a talkative person with strong opinions and she participates as well as anybody else. She projects a strong personality in the classroom.These women are ambitious university students and thus obviously don’t represent all Australian Muslim women, but you would only have to spend 10 minutes with any of them to see that they dress religiously entirely out of their own wish to do so not bescuae anyone’s telling them they have to. Usually indeed they are constantly being told not to veil by charming people on the street who call them terrorists, barbarians etc (one girl copped this from a mother who she was helping to lift her baby stroller down off a bus) and by their parents and older relatives, who are not as interested in religion and want their daughters to be Lebanese or Turkish first rather than Muslim (I don’t pretend to know what this means, this is how they described it to me.)For the past year I have also taught a student who is deaf and blind and have learned from her that no, you don’t need to see people’s faces to engage with them as human beings, if you really want to you can find a way.

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