April 5th, 2011
This is a frightening time to be a practicing Muslim in the Western world especially in Europe and the U.S. President Nicolas Sarkozy’s governing conservative party of France, in its attempt, to promote secularism held a politically charged conference. The conference was infused with a sense of worry that these moves would stigmatize millions of French Muslims. France is soon to pass a law that will ban the wearing of a burqa by Muslim women as this is seen to be taking religion to the extreme especially in the context of subjugating women. Under the measure, which takes effect on April 11, ‘women who wear the face-shrouding veils risk a fine, special classes and a police record.’ The UMP leader Jean-Francois Cope insisted that “the practice of Islam in France is not the burqa [or] prayers in the street.”
While France has promoted the ideals of secularism over the decades and has been vehement in banning the appearance of religious symbols such as the Christian cross from public sphere, it has been especially enthusiastic in ‘cracking down’ on any form of Islamic expression. In my opinion, this is something to be afraid of rather than something people should support. It would have been understandable if such events had taken place before 9/11 but for these measures to be put into effect only after 9/11 is a clear indication that the French government is trying to avoid being a victim of Islamic extremism rather than promoting secularist mentality aimed towards cohesion in French society.
One must remember that this has started to resemble the persecution of Jewish people in Germany during World War II. The lowest form of prejudice is antilocution in which a certain sect, people, object or place are attacked verbally but it is serious when this prejudice is institutionalized in the form of laws. This is what is happening in France and to people to actively support it, not just in France but in the U.S. too can very well lead to, for the lack of a better word, another Holocaust. After all the international community did not realize the gravity of events that took place during the Holocaust well after they were done and dusted.