Last month, the Qatar Foundation’s Doha Debates took on the French niqab ban, discussing the motion: “This House believes France is right to ban the face veil.” Since the niqab ban (or the “burqa ban,” and we’ve dubbed it) has been a big media issue on MMW, a few of MMW’s ladies decided to get together to talk about this edition of the Debates.
You can read the transcript or watch video at the website.
Yusra: Was it just me or were the most recent Doha Debates the best installment so far? Series Seven tackled France’s ban on the face veil and free elections and democracy. The House voted in favor of the face veil, which in my opinion sends a signal to repressive Arab regimes in the region. In a free society women shouldn’t cover their face, so what does it say about the women in the Gulf who do?
Nicole: As a longtime Francophile who is used to typically French points of view on all things headgear, I had my bingo card out and ready for Jacques Myard to mark off the tired old excuses: from “In Britain, Sikh people have to take off their turbans to wear helmets because it’s the law” to defining the showing one’s face as a “common standard of French citizenship (i.e., how to retrofit Frenchness),” he did not disappoint in his weak and overused justifications against face veils. My biggest LOL was when Mehdi Hasan shut down both Myard and Farzana Hassan in asking them if, since you need to see someone’s face in order for everyone to be part of society, how they felt about sunglasses.
Yusra: I may not be in favor of banning the face veil in France or anywhere else, but I am in favor of the House’s ruling on this issue, solely because it pushes Muslims with archaic views on Islam and women toward retrospection: it’s not about covering up, it’s about waking up!
Sana: Mehdi Hasan and Nabila Ramdani are on point. And then some. They not only offer the most substantial challenges to the debate, but are able to completely undermine the already self-undermined arguments brought forward by Farzana Hassan and Jacques Myard. In a way, I am curious as to why Hassan and Myard were chosen when their points repeatedly proven to be weak and completely dismissed even by the moderator, Tim Sebastien.