Is banning Hijab protecting women or is an attack on individualism and freedom of expression?
Hijab is a traditional worn scarf that covers the head and neck and it is linked with the religion of Islam. All over the world some women believe it is a religious obligation; therefore, they made it part of their daily wardrobe, others believe it is unneeded due to their personal freedom. Unfortunately, France has made a ban against it in all public schools and workplaces in 2004. (The Economist Newspaper, 2014). Muslim women in France should be allowed to wear the hijab because it is considered one of the personal freedoms that a person should enjoy in a democratic society, it promotes cultural diversity and it is an expression of individuality.
Unfortunately, the western media have portrayed the minority of females who are oppressed into wearing a hijab in certain countries as a majority. These misunderstandings have made the citizens of the world regard Muslim women as victims of men’s aggression, while in reality Muslim women are simply practicing their personal freedom and expressing their individuality. By limiting the visibility of their physical features, Muslim women urge people to judge them for their personality, views, knowledge and not by their physical appealing attributes. However, as France declared a ban on the Hijab in all public schools and workplaces this has made it hard for Muslim women to practice their freedom and keep their modesty.
Hijab can be regarded as an aspect of a different culture to the French society, it provides the French society with a cultural diversity. In return, cultural diversity promotes the understanding of different views, beliefs between members of a society and it prevents homogeneity. Cultural diversity is important, as it will enrich the society with knowledge and ideas, in order to shed light on problems that the society or nation as a whole is facing (Axner, 2015).
Muslim women in France should be able to express their religious and personal freedoms, they should be able to display them at all times and places, as it also promotes multicultural diversity; moreover, France is a democratic nation. If certain people believe that female Muslims are subjects of oppression, then they should embrace them and not pressure them. All over the world people should know that stereotypes are always released and absorbed by individuals; therefore, the public should judge or comment on issues with accurate knowledge.
Finally, a religion or an ethnic group should not be judged, discriminated or restrained by the law because of the acts committed by a minority of individuals who are supposedly part of that group.
Hamda Yaser Al Awadhi
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