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France The New Cutting Edge of Being Anti-Muslim

It would seem that for as much flack as the US get especially in international press for an anti-Muslim environment, a good chunk of Europe is not fare behind and is jumping into territory all but the most extreme in the US would be shocked to see come to reality. While in the US in some circles, usually the those of the religious right wing their is much vocal ant-Muslim sentiment raised over many issues especially that of constructing mosques, and banning them which a vast majority brushes aside as plain and simple bigotry with absolutely no basis in reality, the idea of actual banning any part of openly practicing their religion as an utter violation not only of their own rights as a human being but also a violation of their rights and freedoms under the constitution. Yet in France they have already passed a law banning Muslim woman from waring niqab which for some is a very important part of their religion.

Today french citizens Hind Ahmas and Najate Nait Ali became the firs two of 91 woman stopped by police to be fined €120 and €80(euros) respectively for waring their niqab out in public in defiance of France's new law. Both woman plan to appeal the ruling, working their way up to the highest court in France and eventually the European Court of Human Rights. On the same day (Thursday) as well A third women Kenza Drider who also openly flaunts the new law announced today that she is going to run for the presidency of France in next years election. This is not the first infringement on the religious practices of Muslims in France, as in 2004 France banned the warring of Muslim head scarves in the classroom. And this is not something exclusive to France ether, as Italy, Belgium, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands all have similar or are planing similar legislation. Legislation that is so clearly based in an anti Muslim sentiment, legislation that is not being turned against other religious groups, yet attempt to hid its self behind a false facade of Secularist.

Not only dose it try to hid behind the false facade of secularity, it also hides behind the even more insidious argument of preventing extremism, under the false premise that french citizens who ware them and happen to be of a more "conservative" religious view will some how become susceptible to extremism. (which is of course a code word for possible terrorist) It would seem that in reality this law could actually cause the very sort of thing that it purports to try to prevent, after all trampaling on and marginalizing formerly law abiding citizens is usually a pretty good way to drive them into more extreme views. It also seems to be oddly out of the conversation that this is based on irrationally budgeted views of a peaceful religion and law abiding citizens. It also seems odd from my perspective that if this sort of even conversation where to take place in the US the international community especially many of those in Europe that have or are actively working towards the same thing would be jumping all over the US for the shame that it is, but also painting the US as despicable and disgusting for even talking about it.
Maybe this is a clear highlight of the difference of view even between a liberal/progressive American and those that I am seeking to understand, but to me to have a secular government is to have a separation of Church and State, but just as church interfering with state is not desirable state should also not interfere with the affairs of church (outside of prosecuting crimes of rape murder etc) and most definitely in a truly secular society State should not interfere with the practice of any religion. That includes interfering with where they can and can't build their houses of worship how they can build it (outside of building codes that apply to any other type of construction) and on the most basic level what sort of religious attire or symbols that they can wear as part of the practice of their religion, let alone where they can and can't wear them. It would seem to me that to attempt to do so is to violate the basic unalienable rights of others, not the mention to unsecualrise the government because if it has say in religion then why should religion then not have a say in it?

It would also seem to me that as an American, I can't and would never defend the stance of the fringe anti Muslim groups in the US, but I can also see that even here the majority can agree even across political lines that to try to inhibit any part of the practice of the Islamic religion is inherently wrong, and inherently a violation of the right to freedom of religion. For my part I sincerly hope that these women can eventuly get these discrimitory laws overturned for the trash that they are.


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