When in France, You Do as the French Do

The European court has said its final word; the French “burqa ban” does not violate the human rights of Muslim women. Despite their efforts to ease the ban, the Muslim women are now obliged to walk in public with their heads uncovered. But is this really necessary for the mutualism the French wish to achieve?

There are numerous ways to deal with multiculturalism and the course France has taken towards the total amalgamation of cultures is uncompromising. Despite having the same goal, Finland and presumably other Nordic countries have taken a more immigrant-friendly approach, with the native citizens giving up their traditions in order to give way to the immigrating cultures. Unsurprisingly, the main target is still religion and schools and other organizations are compelled to get rid of their morning rituals and education. Logically, the ever-growing crowd of atheists welcomes these changes cordially.

The French, however, expect their immigrants to make the sacrifice. In many aspects this is the arrangement makes the most sense; after all, it is easier enforce a law on a minority. Everything comes at cost and one can’t expect similar treatment from a country that serves as a refuge as from the refugee’s country of origin. Right!?

The French also imposed this ban to guarantee safety. The person under burqa remains unrecognizable until an official requires for an identity check. For this the Muslim women have naturally agreed to, but predictably this is not enough as most eye-witnesses cannot recognize a burqa-wearing person from another. This creates vulnerability in security which can be exploited by anyone, whether they are Muslim or not.

Despite having given enough time for most religious Muslims to leave France, there are probably still many women who hoped the ban might be lifted. For these women the ban might now be equal to a house-arrest. Even if France may have hoped to improve conditions in which Muslim women live in, it may have done the opposite.

It appears the French are under the impression that to ensure intercultural communication both parties must reveal their faces. Albeit it may reinforce cultural stereotypes, this shouldn’t stop intercultural communication as long as both parties are willing to communicate.

The European countries seem to have a desperate urge to amalgamate cultures to the point in which cultures cease to exist. Admittedly there are several countries such as Sweden that are suffering from unsuccessful integration but does that mean that the country will ultimately fail with its high immigration rate in its efforts to protect as many lives as possible? What is it exactly that is making it so difficult for us to be able to live with each other? When can we finally stop considering multiculturalism as a hindrance and when shall we finally see it as a resource?

Further reading:

The Guardian: France’s burqa ban upheld by human rights court


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