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Europe is becoming Muslim

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  • ummyakoub
    Headscarf controversy in France ... [NOTE: The question of hijab to be a superfiscial and irrelevant issue when we consider that Islam is becoming a state
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2004
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      Headscarf controversy in France


      [NOTE: The question of hijab to be a superfiscial and irrelevant
      issue when we consider that Islam is becoming a state religion in
      many countries in Europe. This is progress in some respects.
      Obviously the state will try to act intimidating but they will not be
      able to control the Muslims. Islam is the only religion being
      enthusiastically practiced anywhere in Europe. Once the Islamic
      departments of the government are established, the increased
      citizenship power of French Muslims could perhaps make changes. The
      French are scared. Muslims should stand tall and be patient. - World
      View editor]

      Political Comment: France
      Saturday 20 December 2003

      This week the French President, Jacques Chirac, signaled his support
      for a ban on the wearing of openly `religious symbols' in state
      schools. While Chirac has tried to publicly argue that he has taken a
      neutral policy stance and that such a measure is against all
      religious symbols, it has been widely recognised that this policy is
      in reference to the wearing of headscarves by Muslim girls. Chirac
      has urged the French parliament to pass the law before the
      commencement of the new academic year in September 2004. Justifying
      this policy position, Chirac made reference to the underlying
      principles of the constitution, arguing that secularism itself was
      being undermined by the encroachment of religion, and should be
      protected to ensure national cohesion.

      However the debate surrounding this issue goes much deeper than a
      perceived threat to the secular nature of France from Muslim women in
      hijab, or indeed an unease over the growing number of Muslims within
      the country displaying their ideologically affiliation. Fundamentally
      the crux of the matter revolves around the status and future course
      of Muslims living within Europe: will the Muslims fully integrate
      into Western society, adopting their political and cultural norms;
      will they live in isolation in ghettos, or will they try and
      challenge the precepts of the societies in which they now find
      themselves living in? Policymakers currently fear Muslims across
      Europe becoming `radicalised', particularly by international events
      and the current wars taking place in Palestine and Iraq.

      As part of a broader attempt to seize the political initiative and
      address such matters head on, the French government has been seeking
      to establish its own standardised version of Islam. According to the
      French Interior Minister, Muslims living in France must conform to
      the principles of the secular constitution and practice Islam within
      the framework of the France's current socio-political climate,
      particularly its staunch secularism that is enshrined
      constitutionally. Hence the issue of headscarves can be seen in a
      broader perspective: Muslims would have to willingly conform to laws
      such as the ban on headscarves in state schools.

      In addition to this, plans are currently underway to create a French
      Islamic body that will regulate all masjids within the country, as
      well as recruiting pliant newly trained Imam's to pass fatwa upon
      issues concerning `French Muslims', within the aforementioned
      framework, akin to the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs. A
      number of prominent `Islamic' institutions in France have argued that
      such measures are welcome development, especially due to the
      perceived growth in `radical Islam' during the 1990s, as well as the
      after effects of 11 September. The rector of France's largest masjid
      in Paris has argued in October that Muslims living in France must
      accept the fundamental principles upon which the French republic is
      built, notably secularism and democracy. If Muslims wish to discuss
      or partake in political activities, then they are at liberty to do so
      providing that they choose from amongst the current French political
      parties, and have no reference to any form of `political Islam.'

      As part of a pan-European effort to create versions of Islam
      compatible with European society, a number of European governments,
      not just in France, have moved towards the idea of establishing
      official state control of Islam, masjids, and Islamic education,
      either directly or through government approved proxies. Unlike the
      confrontational approach that France has historically taken to other
      creeds it encountered since its colonial heyday, the British have
      taken a more hands off approach. For example when Tony Blair's New
      Labour entered office in 1997 they set about establishing a group
      from amongst the Muslims - the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), to
      assess the current political trends amongst the Muslim populace. A
      darker side to this policy was for this group to act as the official
      mouthpiece and go between of New Labour with the wider Muslim
      community in Britain.

      One may argue that the current battle against Islam, disguised
      internationally as the war on terrorism and radicalism, has a longer
      reach than thought, with European governments now working to
      introduce an alternative `moderate' versions of Islam that agree with
      the present socio-political climate operating within their respective
      national boundaries. The banning of `religious symbols' in French
      state schools does not begin or end with Muslim women wishing to wear
      headscarves. European governments, to varying degrees, are seeking to
      integrate Muslim communities into the wider mainstream on a more
      comprehensive level than they have pursued previously.

      This current climate creates opportunities and dangers. With
      President Chirac's public stance on the issue of headscarves, the
      Muslim community is not simply forced to address this issue, but
      required to take an active stance in opposition to this, and the
      wider process of assimilation in France and across Europe. This can
      be effectively done by deepening our own study of Islam, and
      rethinking new and imaginative ways in which to convey the Deen to
      European society at large. The comprehensive nature of Islam cannot
      be undermined through individuals entranced by the ideology and life-
      style that prevails in the West, nor can it be reinterpreted by such
      individuals to suite the whims of any liberal secular polity. A clear
      message of the incompatibility of Islam with the intellectual and
      political philosophy of liberal secularism needs to be articulated
      more clearly and succinctly. In tandem with this, Muslim communities
      across Europe must begin to re-evaluate their status and position in
      Western society. It is no longer acceptable to remain here as passive
      communities simply looking for economic improvement, cut off from the
      wider struggle that engages us.

      (Political Analysis from Khalid and Hakan)


      The proposed headscarf ban in France is institutionalised racism and
      religious discrimination

      Whilst there are French anti-semitic laws in favour of people of
      Jewish faith, President Jacques Chirac now proposes anti-semitic laws
      against Muslims.

      It is with great sadness that I have read the inflammatory comments
      made in the Metro newspaper, during the past few days regarding
      proposed Chiracian laws for the headscarf ban in France. To add
      insult to injury, by its very headlines, it is clear that the Metro
      is also inciting a case against Muslim women in Britain for such a
      ban in the UK as well - « Headscarf ban is fair » [Metro, 22 December
      2003]; « We should follow French example » [Metro, 23 December
      2003]; « Veil ban is no threat » « Why can Muslim men break all the
      rules? » [Metro, 24 December 2003]. Such headlines can also be
      easily interpreted as incitement to racial and religious hatred
      against Muslims among the population.

      The problem is that absolutely no one has explained the fundamental
      difference in the type of secularism practised in France since the
      French Revolution. This can only be due to a total lack of
      understanding of the subject-matter. The French secular system is
      called laïcité. Laïcité denotes the secularisation of the State, but
      a secular State is not necessarily laïc. A laïc is a Catholic
      Priest who does not belong to the monastery. In the 18th century,
      this term has been imported into French politics by French
      philosophers like Descartes, Voltaire, to deal with a specific French
      problem : to get rid of what the French called Catholic extremism and
      fanaticism and their grip on the French State. The religion of the
      French State was Catholicism. The French Revolution of 1789 changed
      all that, and adopted the politics of laïcité. Laïcité is a concept
      which is based on atheism as it does not recognise the existence of
      any religious beliefs in God. Laïcité is also a racist concept
      because it does not recognise the existence of races and
      communities. Under laïcité, a multi-cultural, multi-religious and
      multi-racial community cannot publicly exist because it integrates
      and treats people as homogeneous, hence the French philosophical
      concept of citoyenneté - the word 'citizenshipness' does not exist in
      English. On the other hand, although secularism (sécularisme in
      French) does not adopt any State religion, it recognises people's
      religions, races, communities and languages. Hence, there is a world
      of difference between a secular country (e.g, India, Britain) and a
      laïc country such as France. The term laïcité is a French exception
      and is not strictly translatable in English and most other
      languages. Without even offering the definition and true meaning of
      laïcité, the Stasi Committee proceeded to its redefinition by
      officially institutionalising racial and religious discrimination.

      For decades, laïcité has been used in France as a weapon against
      mainly Muslims. The French have always discriminated against Muslim
      women wearing the headscarf (hijaab) in State Schools and the Civil
      Service to such an extent that those women are scared to wear them.
      Then, they contend that Muslim women are 'forced' to wear them when
      they do wear them. Although the Virgin Mary (Bibi Mariam) wore the
      hijaab, Muslim women also tend to wear it because it gives them a
      sense of security in their own faith, and improves their performance
      in life. This is not up to Chirac to decide. Forcing them to remove
      their hijaabs before entering schools or the workplace will handicap
      them in more respect than one. The hijaab also gives the Muslim
      woman a sense of purity and righteousness. Why do judges wear wigs,
      for example? In a free tolerant society, any ban on the wearing of
      the hijaab, or the crucifix or the skull cap, can only infringe
      fundamental human rights. What liberté President Jacques Chirac is
      talking about then? He does not seem to understand the meaning of
      the word. There are also people who wear and use various items due
      to their own personal dispositions, for example, dreadlocks (for the
      Rastafarians), crutches, wheel-chairs, and so on. Under the French
      laïc system, visible signs of prostitution, homosexuality,
      indecency, proxénétisme, immorality, atheism, appear to be more

      The French have also always derogated from laïcité at their pleasure
      whenever it suits them, mainly in favour of Catholics and Jewish
      people. Although the proposed Chiracian law outlaws the visible
      signs of all items of religious significance in State Schools and the
      Civil Service, it accepts the crucifix and the star of David if
      worn "discreetly". But has President Chirac not worked out how the
      hijaab, or the Sikh turban, or a Hindu married woman's sindhour and
      tika, can be worn discreetly? The deliberate word 'discreet' is
      merely used to discriminate against Muslim women, most of whom in
      France are of Arab and semitic descent. Whilst there are French anti-
      semitic laws in favour of people of Jewish faith, President Jacques
      Chirac now proposes anti-semitic laws against Muslims. Laïcité
      institutionalises racism and religious discrimination at government
      level, with direct consequences in the private sector. It also
      incites the public against Muslim men, women and children. This
      abhorrent Chiracian law, if passed, goes against the laws relating to
      Human Rights and natural justice, and has no place in British
      jurisprudence. Muslims are also discriminated against in France
      simply because they have Muslim names, or have beards, again under
      the French intolerant religion of Laïcité.

      M Rafic Soormally

      Colchester, UK

      25 December 2003

      Europe is becoming Muslim_

      WZO: Europe is becoming Muslim

      By Amiram Barkat

      "Europe is becoming a Muslim continent," a new public relations
      booklet prepared by the World Zionist Organization warns.

      The booklet, a Hebrew-language copy of which was obtained by Haaretz,
      was prepared for a conference of leaders of Orthodox communities
      worldwide that opens today in Jerusalem, and will be distributed to
      all of the approximately 200 rabbis and community leaders in
      attendance. Entitled "A Guide to Anti-Semitism and Terror for
      Diaspora Communities," the booklet was prepared by the WZO's
      Spiritual Services for the Diaspora unit, "with the goal of raising
      awareness of the issue," according to unit chairman Rabbi Yehiel

      The booklet states that dialogue on the basis of mutual concern for
      religion is impossible with Muslims, even moderates, because Islam
      has no common theological concepts with Judaism.

      Regarding the dangers posed by Muslims in Europe, the document states
      that "what began 40 years ago as an innocent migration by the
      unemployed" has become "an attempt at conquest aimed at changing the
      face of the Western world and history."

      The document warns in particular against contact with young, Western-
      educated Muslims, claiming many have been "born again" as extremists.

      Wasserman said the booklet is still undergoing revisions and that
      some of these statements will be "softened."

      Muslim anti-Semitism is expected to occupy a prominent place at the
      conference. Rabbi Yitzhak Haleva, the chief rabbi of Turkey, said
      yesterday that the attacks on two Istanbul synagogues last month was
      the first evidence of the existence of Muslim anti-Semitism in
      Turkey. Immediately after the attacks, he added, some people began
      blaming the Jews, but these accusations died down following the
      bombings five days later of the British consulate and the Istanbul
      headquarters of the HSBC Bank.

      The French rabbis attending the conference, meanwhile, were divided
      over a recent statement made by the country's chief rabbi, Joseph
      Sitruk, in which he urged French Jews to wear hats rather than kippot
      (skullcaps) in "sensitive" areas, such as subway stations, in order
      to avoid anti-Semitic attacks. The chief rabbi of Paris, David
      Messas, said yesterday that Jews "should be proud of their Judaism"
      and simply avoid places where a kippa might endanger their lives.

      With regard to the French government's decision to pass a law that
      would forbid students to wear kippot, headscarves or large crosses in
      schools, Messas and the other French rabbis said that if the law
      passes, they will tell their congregants to obey it and go to school

      However, although French rabbis have joined Muslim leaders in
      opposing the law, Messas believes that it will ultimately aggravate
      Jewish-Muslim relations, because "the Jews, unlike the Muslims, will
      accept the law, and therefore, we will again find ourselves on
      opposite sides of the fence."



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