2008 July 19 Saturday
Muslim Woman Denied French Citizenship Over Religion

A French high court decided that at least some forms of Islam are incompatible with French citizenship. Political correctness prevents US courts from seeing this obvious truth.

“I would never have imagined that they would turn me down because of what I choose to wear,” Ms. Silmi said, her hazel eyes looking out of the narrow slit in her niqab, an Islamic facial veil that is among three flowing layers of turquoise, blue and black that cover her body from head to toe.

But last month, France’s highest administrative court upheld a decision to deny citizenship to Ms. Silmi, 32, on the ground that her “radical” practice of Islam was incompatible with French values like equality of the sexes.

It was the first time that a French court had judged someone’s capacity to be assimilated into France based on private religious practice, taking laďcité — the country’s strict concept of secularism — from the public sphere into the home.

Faiza Salmi's wearing of burqa figured largely in the decision to deny her citizenship.

A Muslim member of the French Government has attacked the head-to-toe Islamic dress as a prison, applauding a court decision to deny citizenship to a Moroccan woman who wore it.

“The burka is a prison, a strait-jacket,” Fadela Amara, the Minister for Urban Affairs and a longstanding women's rights campaigner, said yesterday. “It is not religious. It is the insignia of a totalitarian political project for sexual inequality.”

Not all cultures are compatible with each other.

Seoul South Korea-based journalist Shim Jae Hoon argues the burqa is a sign of cultural exclusivity.

Wearing a burqa, however, is a different matter. As a religious practice, it represents an extreme form of discrimination against women, even a hint of sexual bondage, as a burqa is mainly intended to keep its wearers from the gaze of males. It's more than a simple matter of religious practice or ethnic custom. In Malaysia once, I was startled by the sight of an Arab woman whose black figure in a burqa dispelled many people. Some Muslim friends told me a woman in a burqa would be the best way to keep their own women from accepting the fundamentalist form of Islam. Cultural diversity is today taken for granted in many countries, but fundamentalist Islam in the form of burqas -- we have seen what it did in Afghanistan under the Taliban -- is a sign of cultural exclusivity, not accommodation.

This woman and her husband follow the Salafi form of Islam.

Now the Conseil d’Etat has rejected her appeal on the ground that she “adopted a radical practice of her religion, incompatible with the essential values of the French community, and particularly with the principle of sexual equality.” This is the first time the court has refused nationality on the grounds of religious expression. The court heard that the couple followed salafism, a radical form of Islam. The woman adopted the burqa at her husband’s request in France, where she “lives in total submission to the men in her family”.

One French Muslim leader claims religion is personal as if that makes it unpolitical. But religion - especially Islam - is very political.

M'hammed Henniche of the Union of Muslim Associations in the Seine-Saint-Denis district north of Paris, fears that the ruling may open the door to what he considers ever more arbitrary interpretations of what constitutes "radical" Islam.

"What is it going to be tomorrow? The annual pilgrimage to Mecca? The daily prayer?" said Henniche. "This sets a dangerous precedent.

Religion, so far as it is personal, should be kept out of these decisions."

Islamic countries are politically just that: Islamic. They enforce laws about many aspects of life that are considered abhorrent in the West.

A 2004 poll of Muslims in Britain shows substantial support for very unBritish Sharia law courts. Doesn't sound personal to me.

A special Guardian/ICM poll based on a survey of 500 British Muslims found that a clear majority want Islamic law introduced into this country in civil cases relating to their own community. Some 61% wanted Islamic courts - operating on sharia principles - "so long as the penalties did not contravene British law".

Many civil cases in this country deal with family disputes such as divorce, custody and inheritance.

A 2007 poll of Muslims in Britain found stronger support for Sharia law among the young.

In the survey of 1,003 Muslims by the polling company Populus through internet and telephone questionnaires, nearly 60% said they would prefer to live under British law, while 37% of 16 to 24-year-olds said they would prefer sharia law, against 17% of those over 55. Eighty-six per cent said their religion was the most important thing in their lives.

Nearly a third of 16 to 24-year-olds believed that those converting to another religion should be executed, while less than a fifth of those over 55 believed the same.

A 2006 poll found that a fifth of Muslims in Britain sympathized with the Muslims who carried out bombing attacks in Britain on July 7, 2006.

Forty per cent of the British Muslims surveyed said they backed introducing sharia in parts of Britain, while 41 per cent opposed it. Twenty per cent felt sympathy with the July 7 bombers' motives, and 75 per cent did not. One per cent felt the attacks were "right".

We should not let people into our countries who will resent us and seek to impose a repressive religion on us.

David Pryce-Jones points to another European country where local attitudes toward Islam are not submissive. In Geneva Switzerland the City Fathers rejected a request to build a second mosque.

A mosque already existed in Geneva, but when the Muslim community sought to have a second mosque, the City Fathers replied that this would be possible when the Christians were allowed a church in Saudi Arabia. There is no record that outraged Arabs consequently withdrew their petro-dollar millions held in the local banks.

The Swiss are going to hold a referendum on whether to ban mosque minarets.

The Swiss Peoples' Party (SVP) has raised a storm by collecting more than 100,000 signatures on a petition calling for a ban on minarets in the country. Minarets, according to the SVP, are "symbols of political-religious imperialism." A spokesman for the party pointed out that, "Many women, even socialists, signed this petition because not one Swiss woman can tolerate the way that Muslim men treat their wives." By law, a national referendum is now obligatory.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 July 19 12:10 PM  Immigration Culture Clash

Stephen said at July 19, 2008 6:41 PM:

Randall said: "Political correctness prevents US courts from seeing this obvious truth"

Maybe its because there's some mention of religion in the Constitution...

cb said at July 19, 2008 9:27 PM:

"Maybe its because there's some mention of religion in the Constitution..."

It would be interesting to expand on where the founding fathers saw religion end and politics begin, but the point is that integral to Islam is the command to conquer empires. Save for State senator elections, much of our federal republic's diffusion and separation of power remains in tact to prevent tyrrany of a domestic plurality with designs on us. However, socialism also being naturally totalitarian, that won't last long.

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