Dr. Marranci: Burqu’ing freedom: the danger of ‘moral civilizing’
May 18, 2010 Leave a comment
It’s been a while since I posted any articles from Dr. Marranci (in part because, like mine, his blog’s been a bit in active due to him being busy with various other things). He’s recently put up a nice article regarding the recent global trend seen with “democratic” places banning the face veil. It’s a great read for anyone interested. Here’s a bit from the beginning of the article:
The year 2010 appears to be marked by the ‘war on burqas’ (the Switzerland minarets being an exception). While Belgium has formally moved to ban niqabs and burqas, Italy used regional laws to fine Muslim women using niqabs, and Quebec has imposed a ban for anyone wearing one to enter government places, including hospital and casualty departments (see this article for more information). The majority of European nations, such as France, are still debating the matter. Both politicians and experts recognize that the number of people who wear a face veil (click here to avoid any confusion about them as often happens) on European streets are very few, and in Belgium they are even less than fifty. It would not be so unimaginable to suggest–even starting from my own observations–that today in the west there are more Muslim women wearing miniskirts than face veils.Many have been the opinions over whether the niqab or burqa are an Islamic requirement, innovation, or just one of numerous other styles of veiling. Al-Qaradawi has suggested that niqab is neither a requirement nor an innovation. In other words,it is a style within the tradition of Muslim dress. In another post I have discussed how increasingly, Muslim women, both by non-Muslims as well as Muslims, have been reduced to the ‘material culture’ of their dress styles. In this case, I wish to observe another aspect of the ‘war on burqa’.
The reasons provided for the direct or indirect ban of the face veil are of two orders: the first, quite hypocritical, suggests that the ban is imposed because of security legislation, often ‘rediscovered’ after decades, which forbids citizens to cover their faces in public. An example of this legalistic approach is Italy, which has rediscovered fascist left-overs that impose fines and prison time for those who disguise their face in public. The second is more honest and direct. Like the case of France, the ban is justified in terms of the traditions and morals of a country. In essence, the first case is nothing other than a camouflage of the latter. I think that it is reasonable to suggest that the attempt to ban face veils should be read within the discourse of ‘values’ and ‘morals’ rather than ‘security’ and ‘legal tradition’. In other words, we are entering the realm of ‘civilizational discourse’ and ‘ideology’.