Hmm, what do I think about the ban of the niqaab in France. Tempest in a teapot, that’s what it is. It is Sarkozy and other politicians pandering to a xenophobic base of citizens in order to score points towards reelection. It is a distraction from the miserable economy. It is a reflection of what is going on here in the U.S. with the mosque controversies and various states trying to make Islamic law illegal. It is ignorance on a countrywide level. And I’m not surprised in the least.
I think the main difference between what is going on here in the U.S. and what is happening in Europe is based on tribalism. Tribalism? In the 21st century? Indeed. Let’s just strip away all the nice talk about citizenship and equality and state the truth that no one seems to want to admit: If you are living in France, and you are not of French blood, you will never be French even if your birth certificate and passport say you are. If you are living in Germany, and you are of Turkish or Greek extraction, you will never be German even if you are fourth-generation. You are always going to be an outsider. You are always going to be an interloper. The “real” French and Germans, most of them, probably would be happier if you would just go on your merry way. You know, back to your home country. Back to Turkey or Algeria or Tunisia or whatever. You are not welcome there. Tolerated, yes. Allowed to do the menial work, wash the dishes, or drive the cabs, or gather the trash. It’s okay if some of you succeed and integrate, as long as it’s not too many. Enough so that the ruling caste can hold you up as a model of European equality, but not so many that their kids and grandkids are going to start being more, you know, brown. There are limits, after all….
Is it different here in the U.S.? I think so. Because we pretty much wiped out most of the indigenous population (sorry guys, didn’t know those blankets had smallpox), that means that at some pointalmost all of us in this country are immigrants. The WASPs may have gotten here ahead of the Arabs and Pakistanis and Chinese and all the other melanin-enhanced people, but they are not from here either. It’s harder, therefore, for them to claim that their culture is more suited to the United States or that the Judeo-Christian ethic has a stronger foothold here than the Islamic one. They still do say that, mind you, but the argument is much weaker.
So, bearing all that in mind, are you really surprised that the native citizens of European countries are becoming unsettled at having all the foreigners in their midst? Not just the color of their skin, but their different religious beliefs and cultural habits. They see themselves as the norm and everything else as the exception. Add to that the fact that many Muslims nowadays are ignorant of their own faith and bring backwards cultural practices with them, and you can almost understand why they are hostile towards Muslims and Islamic practices. The ban on the niqaab is only the most visible symbol of their unease. I mean, imagine if you are living in Saudi Arabia and an American wanted to walk down the street in a g-string. It would violate your religion and your culture, and you would feel perfectly comfortable seeing a police officer asking that person to cover up.
But that’s different, you say. Islam is the truth and it’s our faith and we have a right to practice our faith. Well, maybe in a Muslim country you do, but France is decidedly secular, with of course more rights given to the Christian faith because they don’t like Islam. That is the reality.
So, what does a niqaab-wearing Muslim woman in France do? As of yesterday, she either takes off the veil, stays home, or risks arrest and a fine. Or she can do what Muslims are told to do by Allah when they are not able to worship Allah openly. She can leave. She can leave France and go to a country that will allow her to wear the veil. Remember, when we cannot practice our deen, it becomes fard, required, for us to leave that country if we have the means to do so. The problem with this is, the oppression in the country she left was often greater than it is in France, so she would possibly be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. And not everyone has the means to leave. If you arrived in France as a refugee with nothing but the clothes on your back, you may be stuck where you are. In that case, you just have to do the best you can do, and ask Allah to make a way for you. In the meantime, sure, you can go out and demonstrate and try to work within the existing political structure to have the ban struck down, but don’t think for one moment that the majority of French citizens will support you. After all dear, you’re not actually French, now are you?