The Veil Debate - is it a prelude to eliminationist politics in Europe?

Category: Europe, World Affairs Topics: Belgium, France, Nicolas Sarkozy Channel: Opinion Views: 6893

Belgium is all set to become the first European nation to ban the Burqa (the face-covering veil that is worn by some Muslim women). The move will affect an estimated 650,000 Muslims in Belgium - 6 per cent of the population. Belgium's lower house of parliament banned burqa-type Islamic dress in public. But the measure may face a challenge in the Senate where Christian Democrats and Liberals questioned the phrasing of the law, which says no one can appear in public "with the face fully covered or partly covered so as to render unrecognizable." 

Belgium, like many northern European countries, has a cold climate with daily temperature minimums of 7 C (44.6 F) and maximums of 14 C (57.2 F), based on the averages for the years 2000 to 2006. The average temperature is lowest in January at 3 C (37.4 F) and highest in July at 18 C (64.4 F). It does not take a genius to see the hypocrisy in the bill. During the winter season most Belgians end up using some forms of headscarves and face-masks (similar to ski-masks) to fight the cold, blistery winds blowing from the North Sea to render them unrecognizable. The text of the new law does not specifically mention Burqas but makes it illegal for anyone to wear clothing 'that covers all or most of the face' in any public place. And yet, the law doubtlessly will racially profile Muslim women for wearing burqa and niqab (face-covering). Under the proposals, Muslim women could face a week in prison or a fine for wearing a veil in public.

The Belgian move against Burqa comes as debates continue over banning the Burqa in France, Switzerland and Italy. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France is the European lead dog leading this crusade. As I have shown elsewhere, while most European leaders are racists by nature, very few are as hostile to Islam and Muslims as Sarkozy has been. As the grandson of an opportunist Jew from Salonika (in today's Greece and the old Ottoman empire) -- the homeland of many Donmehs (that lived there since the time of Sabbatai Zevi, a 17th-century Jewish kabbalist who falsely claimed to be the Messiah), the Young Turk movement and the Free Masons that brought down the fall of the Ottoman empire -- and a Free Mason himself, Sarkozy's hostility to anything Islamic is simply unbelievable. It is rabidly eliminationist and extraordinary. 

Sarkozy is also very close to Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel. It goes without saying that Sarkozy's enthusiasm to punish Iran and deny her the legitimate right to develop nuclear energy is rooted in his bigotry and Zionist heritage; he is doing the pitching for his eliminationist friend Netanyahu and the rogue state of Israel. In a May 10, 2007 issue of the Jewish Journal, Raanan Eliaz wrote something that escaped most people's attention but given the fact that both Sarkozy and Netanyahu are the leaders in their respective countries, it is important that we revisit it. Raanan Eliaz, a former director at the Israeli National Security Council and the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. wrote, "Although Sarkozy's family roots will not bring France closer to Israel, the president's personal Israeli friends may. As interior minister, Sarkozy shared much common policy ground with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two started to develop a close friendship not long ago, and it is easy to observe similarities not only in their ideology and politics but also in their public image. If Netanyahu returns to Israel's chief position, it will be interesting to see whether their personal dynamic will lead to a fresh start for Israel and France and a more constructive European role in the region."

It is not difficult to connect now the dots in Sarkozy's crusade against Muslims in France, in particular, and Islam and Iran, in general.

The essence of Sarkozy's new paradigm, if we are to switch Jewish author Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's (the author of the book - Worse than War) terms from the German scene to today's France is 'eliminationist anti-Muslim'. We see a good parallel in Goldhagen's depiction of German anti-Semitism with today's anti-Muslim campaign by Sarkozy and his European ilk. At one extreme of this new spectrum is the French and European perception that Muslims are vaguely different. At the other extreme is the perception that Muslims are distinctly violent who, if not stopped now, will one day impose their 'shariah' on the French or European society. Between these poles is the perception that Muslims are more or less flawed. As we know from history, moving from one end of the spectrum to the other, the complementary German desire to eliminate an unappealing feature of the Jews rapidly yielded to the desire to eliminate Jews altogether. "The eliminationist mind-set", Goldhagen proclaims, "tended towards an exterminationist one." Through their speeches and acts today's Sarkozy and other European leaders - closet and open bigots - have unmasked their own evil mindset. 

President Sarkozy has said more than once that the face-covering veil is not welcome in France, and that he wants a law restricting it. In January, a French parliamentary committee issued a much-anticipated, 200-page report recommending that women be banned from wearing the full-face veil in public office buildings, schools, hospitals and while using mass transit. The full-face veil is viewed by many in France as a sign of extremism and a threat to gender equality and secularism.
Sarkozy began the debate in June 2009 when he said that the full-face veil was "not welcome" in France, currently home to more than 5 million Muslims, the largest such population in Europe. At present, fewer than 2,000 Muslim women wear the full-face veil in France, according to Interior Ministry statistics. Lawmaker Andre Gerin, the president of the 32-person, multi-party parliamentary panel, has called the full-face veil in France "the visible part of the iceberg" and warned that "behind the iceberg is a black tide of fundamentalism."

Last week, a school in Spain - Instituto Camilo Jose Cela at the Madrid locality Pozuelo de Alarcon -- banned headscarves for Muslim girls. The school board's bigoted decision is forcing the 16-year old Najwa Malha to not attend class while wearing headscarf. Like many places in Europe these days, the regional government (Comunidad Autonoma de Madrid) is held by a right-wing Fascist party - the Popular Party. As expected, when the student's parents appealed against the school decision, it upheld the school decision. Interestingly, the national government, held by the left-wing Socialist Party (PSOE), has a dubious position. While the Minister of Education has stated that the right to religious freedom and the right to an education should prevail over the prohibition to use the headscarf, he, like many hypocritical Christians, differentiates between the presence of a Christian (Catholic) Cross in a class-room as a collective symbol and the headscarf as a personal symbol. Obviously, to closet bigots like him, too afraid to appear xenophobic on the religious ground, headscarf worn by a Muslim girl is symbolic of women's oppression and not of her religious freedom. Not surprisingly, Christian female students in the catholic convents are not prohibited from wearing headscarves.

A vast majority of Muslim women consider hijab (headscarf) a religious obligation, mandated by the Qur'an and the Sunnah. A small section within this group consider wearing niqab and burqa as necessary, bringing them closer to their faith, much like old practices in many countries from India to Byzantium. Consider France where fewer than 2,000 are said to wear full-body veils or burqa. It is silly to believe that they pose obvious threat to the French identity or security. It is ludicrous to say that when a Catholic nun uses headscarf it is progressive and kosher, however, when a Muslim girl or woman wears the same headscarf it is oppressive and/or symptomatic of her fundamentalist leanings. It is worth adding here that many of those wearing niqab and burqa in Europe are white reverts to Islam. It is folly to suggest that they were quiet, suppressed women.

Lest we forget it is Europe which at one time preached the wisdom of religious tolerance against bigotry. But hypocrisy has always been Europe's trademark; thus, more often than not it has failed to live by its own standards. In many European countries, liberty and freedom are often misconstrued as licentiousness that allows unwed girls and women to give birth outside of marriage. No wonder in places like Iceland and France more than half the population is born out of wedlock. 

Many European politicians seem willfully blind to the violation of individual liberties. They are looking for cheap ways to sidetrack public anger over high unemployment. It is hard to produce jobs and far too easy to fan anti-Muslim prejudices. These bigots have turned the hijab and burqa/niqab debates into menacing "national debate" on European identity. No political gain can justify hate-mongering, much less eliminationist trends so visible these days in Europe. Unfortunately, their bigotry is paying dividends, much like it did in the periods leading to the eliminationist pogroms and holocaust. Muslim-bashing has been an intoxicating vote-getter for far-right politicians in Europe, the likes of Jean-Marie Le Pen.

However, probably not everything stemming the resurgent eliminationist mindset and tide in France, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Holland, Italy and other European states is lost. Following the fall of Premier Yves Leterme's government April 22, Belgium faces early elections that may delay the passage of the anti-burqa ban. France's top administrative body has advised the government that any total ban on face-covering Islamic veils could be unconstitutional as well as against the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. "It appears to the State Council that a general and absolute ban on the full veil as such can have no incontestable judicial basis," it said. 
The State Council, which is required to give an opinion before any major piece of legislation, added that rules requiring faces to be uncovered in public places such as schools, hospitals and law courts could be justified for security reasons to combat fraud and to meet the needs of some public services. That is, according to the State Council, a ban could be justified in some public places. Prime Minster Francois Fillon had asked the council for a legal opinion before drawing up a law on the subject. However, Jean Leonetti, the deputy parliamentary leader of Mr Sarkozy's UMP party, said a ban "needs to be complete or else it is misunderstood". 

It is easy to see that a woman's human rights are violated when a government requires her to wrap her body and face in an all-concealing veil, as the Taliban used to do when it ran Afghanistan. It should be just as easy to see the violation when a Belgian parliament recommends, as it did this week, or a French parliamentary panel recommended few weeks earlier, barring women who wear such veils - the burqa and the niqab - from using in public places, including schools, hospitals and public transportation. It is worth recalling that Muslim head scarves have been banned from public school classrooms in France since 2004.

Women must be free to make these decisions for themselves without any imposition from governments or enforcement agencies like the police. As I have noted some years ago, an overwhelming majority donning hijab, niqab and burqa does it on its freewill and is not forced to put up. A simple interview of these women and girls is enough to dispel the claims made by Sarkozy and other closet bigots and secular fundamentalists. 

Instead of condemning the parliamentary panel's recommendation, President Nicolas Sarkozy seems determined to outdo it. The Taliban would be pleased with Belgian Parliament's decision and French parliamentary panel's recommendation. The rest of the world should declare its utter disgust to Europe's intolerance and eliminationist trends.

  Category: Europe, World Affairs
  Topics: Belgium, France, Nicolas Sarkozy  Channel: Opinion
Views: 6893

Related Suggestions

Related posts from similar channels:

The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Older Comments:
To - Romesh Chander:
What if Muslims are NOT playing politics ?! :)

I fully agree with the article.

Interesting, Ban on minaret, niqab and banning of hijab in schools are done not by "backward" and "fundamentalists" Muslims rather by the champions of "secular democracies". Thanks to Allah SWA that He is exposing us their "lies" of so called human rights and democracy. Funny thing that (due to enmity of Islam) "West" is becoming so blind that they themselves throwing their values out of the window.

It is worth pointing that during the time of "Khilafa" non-muslims had more rights than Muslims have in now a days in "Civilized" countries.

Wake-up Muslims! Convey true nature of Islam to the mankind.


Where is Saudi Arabia today? My friends, no point of blaming others, when the kernel and the innermost part of Islam is deceiving or backstabbing. Imagine, if any of the Royal Saudi .. member is demonized by Belgium, Saudi Arabia would have destroyed that country by delinking all the relations. What happened to the investigations to the Saudi Government's involvement in the greatest kickback involving Prince Bandar when they procure the 25 billion arms deal with British government? What happened? One telephone call from the Saudi Government to Blair has derailed all the investigations. Today, everything is closed. We don't have to demonstrate on the roads. Where is the most powerful nation by any yardstick, the Saudis, who is controlling the nerve center of the world. Why are they hiding in Ghotras? Why don't they talk? Why don't they make a telephone call to stop this process? How can we blame others my friends?

Obviously muslims are terrible at playing politics. They are trying to defend 2000 veiled muslims and in the process jeopardizing the millions of other muslims and their livelihood. Won't it be better to 'reform' those 2000 muslim souls.

Too much of hyperbole. Eliminationist and Exterminalist concept. Come on. If Europeans wanted eliminate muslims from their countries, why are they still letting them in on a daily basis and still paying their benefits? Makes no logical sense.

Exterminalist. Well Europeans know that too. They will be happy to re-enact 'Holocaust'. Germans are not the only Nazis in Europe; all of Europe has a Nazi mentality (and so does US; after origin of US population is Europe). If they wanted to exterminate muslims, they will not be admitting anymore into Europe.

The article is makes no logical sense to a thinking person. Unfortunately, muslims will be convinced with every word of the article.

This is a political world. Learn to play the game. Appealing to principles and sensibilities is not going to achieve anything.


I wouldn't be against a woman's right to choose were it not for the fact that it is men who are more often demanding what a Muslim woman should wear. It is hard to argue against the power of acid throwing enforcers in the most Islamic countries effect on what is called "free choice of women". One can hardly blame Belgium for resisting the imposition of this standard before it gets more widespread.