France's Burqa law will Challenge Discourse at Upper Crust

BURQA.jpgA new law in France in underway. This law will make Burqa unlawful and impose a fine on the wearer. Under the law, women who wear full-length veils (burqa) in public places will have to pay a fine of over £700 ($1118), while the penalty doubles for Muslim men who force their wives or other female members of their family to wear veils.

This law, brought by Jean-Francois Cope, president of Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP Party in the French parliament, is said to protect the dignity and security of women.

One of the main triggers is – as described – burqas intimidate and alienate non-Muslims in a secular country.

This law is sure to run negatively in the Muslim world, which is a sort of revival as far as medieval Islam is concerned. The new adherents and the revivalists are uncompromising and in many countries and societies, the distance between moderates and fanatics is vanishing. Moderates, in these societies, simply keep a “peace-loving” veneer. The below-the-surface reality is the same for the fanatics and moderates now in most Islamic societies. And, I believe that is the greatest threat to the peace and safety of many.

By lifting the “veil”, France is at least pushing to one direction – challenging moderates to come out in the open! For the moment the moderate comes out in the open and is challenged, he or she usually ends up at the same place – Supremacy of his religion and ideology and his book. And the book is relentlessly leaning against those who don’t believe in it. And there the two – fanatics, who can bomb; and moderates, who wont bomb (but may facilitate the recruitment) – meet.

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It is important for the world to challenge and discuss things openly. Given the stakes and the passion to kill from one side for upholding their belief and version of God, it is critical that mindsets be brought out of the comfort zones. Dealing at the just the upper crust in a discussion is self hallucinatory and bound to hurt peace and humanity.

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Desh Kapoor

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