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Babri Mosque destruction anniversary observed as black day

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Business Recorder

The Communist Party of India (Maoists) joined Indian Muslims in observing the anniversary of the destruction of 500-year old Babri Mosque on Monday (Dec 6) as a black day.

The 16th century mosque, which the Hindu extremists claimed to have been built over the site of the birth place of the Hindu deity Ram, was destroyed by the activists of Sangh Parivar, under the supervision of their leaders on Dec 6, 1992.

The Maoists demanded that a mosque be constructed at the same site and the leaders of the Hindu extremist parties, who instigated the Kar Sevak mobs to bring down the historic mosque, be brought to justice.

In a signed press release issued by the central committee of CPI (Maoists), spokesperson Abhay said that the Maoists had all along maintained that the land on which the Babri Masque stood belonged to the Muslims and it should be given back to them.

The statement underscored the injustice done to the Muslims in the controversial verdict in the title case regarding possession of the Babri Mosque site.

“On 30th September, giving its verdict on the ownership rights of the controversial site, pending for 61 years, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court with its Brahmanical Hindu religious ideology, did injustice to the Muslims. Without any historical evidence and archaeological proof, it stated the controversial place to be the birth place of Lord Rama, ” it said.

The CPI (Maoist) asked all democratic and secular organizations to conduct meetings, take out processions and wear black armbands to mark the Babri destruction anniversary in order to register their protest against the rise of Hindu communalism in India.

India divided

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By: Swati Gauri Sharma

A powerful Hindu extremist party has held a firm grip on Maharashtra. But the people are starting to fight back.

ANTI-IMMIGRANT and anti-Muslim sentiment is spreading fast in Europe and the United States. In India, these sentiments aren’t new, and have long been a tactic used by Hindu extremists to retain power in the western state of Maharashtra. Their party, the Shiv Sena, also opposes the influence of Western culture, putting it at sword’s point not just with Muslims but with the growing cosmopolitan community in India as well. How this conflict plays out will be a test of India’s democracy.

Last month, the Shiv Sena, which means “God’s army” in Hindi, initiated aggressive protests and book burnings against a novel, Rohinton Mishtry’s “Such a Long Journey,” because the Sena claimed it made derogatory remarks about the party and its constituents. In a surprise response to the protests, the University of Mumbai has banned the book, which had been short-listed for the Booker Prize.

The Sena also recently protested against the two Pakistani participants of a popular reality show, “Big Boss,” which is India’s version of “Big Brother.” The protests resulted in many cable operators banning the channel that aired the show.

Now, the party has decided it would like to ban the burqa, a troubling issue for a secular country with at least 100 million Muslims.

Although the power of Shiv Sena and other Hindu fundamentalist groups throughout the country has dwindled over the years as India has prospered, the Sena always held on to their base by insisting on government jobs for natives of Maharashtra and denying them to immigrants from other parts of India.

Because of the Sena’s strong hold on Maharashtra and its largest city, Mumbai, the entertainment and financial hub of India, few have successfully spoken out against the party. But the country’s new urban and intellectual class became concerned that that the university and cable operators’ concessions to Sena pressure would institutionalize the party’s regressive and racist platform.

The secular community’s most recent successful push-back against the Hindu fundamentalists involved Shahrukh Khan, one of the most popular stars of the Mumbai-based film industry in India, known as Bollywood. Khan, a Muslim from North India, was demonized by the Sena for his comments supporting the inclusion of Pakistan’s cricket team in India’s Premier League and rejecting the party’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. In response to Khan’s statements, the Sena protested and threatened to use violence and political will to limit Khan’s latest Bollywood release, which was one of the most anticipated films of the year.

In previous such showdowns, Bollywood stars and filmmakers have often ended up apologizing to the Sena in fear of financial and social repercussions. But in a surprise move, Khan stood firmly against the party. Opposed by much of the film fraternity and the business community, the Sena lost this battle, and the film went on to be one of the largest box-office hits in Bollywood history.

In the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November of 2008, India showed the world that Hindus and Muslims can live peacefully together. Peace marches took the place of the communal violence that had been a usual aftermath to terrorist attacks. Today, while the Sena objects to Pakistani participants in the reality TV show, there are other musical shows dedicated to promoting peace between India and Pakistan by having Pakistani and Indian judges and contestants.

As other nations around the world are struggling with a growing vocal and often institutionalized intolerance of Muslims, Indians are beginning to stand up against religious extremists’ regressive campaigns. With luck, India’s economy will continue to flourish, and Hindu extremism will wane.

The Red Terror

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By Rohit Kumar

India’s operation ‘Green Hunt’ against the Communist Party Of India—Maoists- has become a red terror that threatens to engulf the entire north eastern part of India all the way to Nepal. There are disquieting signs that it could spread to other states that have grossly unequal growth, unimaginable poverty and minorities with grievances against Hindu fanaticism and oppression. Gujerat is one such state—there are others.

The Naxals ( Maoist insurgents) have used IED’s with deadly effect against CRPF personnel of India forcing them to leave their vehicles and move on foot– once dismounted they become prey to cleverly disguised anti personnel IED’s. Seeing their companions maimed and blown to bits the others are terrified to even move one foot forward. This is what the Naxals want because then they can attack stationary, exposed and largely paralyzed targets.

Right now gun battles are raging in Jagarkunda and Sukma districts of Chittisgarh. A deadly ambush has decimated an 80 strong CRPF contingent with more than 73 killed. There is no respite in sight because the Maoists are fighting with skill, determination and courage. India’s central and state police are no match for the Maoists.

State governments, CRPF—Central Reserve Police Forces and state police have avoided a confrontation with the Maoists preferring to accept bribes and have covert contacts. This is how the Maoists were able to terrorize the locals and force them to cooperate. The populations in these areas have serious grievances because of corrupt politicians and police forces. They have j0ined hands with the Maoists and give them cover and information.

India’s propensity to use force has led to disasters –as in the case of a ill starred intervention in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict that led to a humiliating withdrawal. Brutalized Indian forces have been operating in the disputed Kashmir area alienating the largely Muslim population. Hindu extremism and terrorism is also linked to the underworld and the predominantly Hindu armed forces and police.

Indian media has been reporting raids to pick up innocent Muslims particularly students. There are reports of inhuman torture inflicted on those arrested without due process. This has the inevitable effect of alienating people. The involvement of intelligence agencies further complicates the situation.

Right now world attention is focused on Chittisgarh but this is just the tip of the iceberg—the red tide that can sweep across wide swathes of India nullifying its economic gains and status.

Written by rohitkumarsviews

April 6, 2010 at 10:36 am

We can’t allow anyone to do this

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by: Afshain Afzal

Some Indians, in order to prove that they are liberal and open-minded, often cross all limits. The Meghalaya Police on February 18, seized around 120 books with blasphemous pictures of Jesus Christ from a distributor in Bara Bazar and the principal of Christian missionary School. The offensive picture was found in a cursive writing exercise book used by Class I students of St. Joseph Girls Higher Secondary School in Shillong, capital of Meghalaya.

The cursive writing book meant for Class I is a spelling tutor, where ‘Idol’ is used for ‘I’. Against this word, a picture of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and a beer can was shown. The picture was also printed in cursive writing books of Class II, III and IV. The publication not only deeply hurt sentiments of Christian but Muslims were also shocked and their feelings hurt. According to the details, some evil minded persons in India published pictures of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer can in the other. Jesus Christ, also known as Hazrat Eassa (Alhe Salam), was prophet of Islam whose followers include present day Christians. All the Muslims originations condemned the publication and demanded action against all those involved. National Council of Churches in India also condemned the publication and said that it will demand from Meghalaya government to install a mechanism to scan all school books. The Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM), Shillong Archdiocese, condemned the publication and demanded strict action against all those involved. The ICYM issued a press release in which it said “The publication of the despicable picture has deeply hurt our religious sentiments, and its publisher has manifestly breached the provisions of the Constitution of India.’

Although, the Meghalaya Police has registered a case against the publisher, Skyline Publication, under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but one wonders if this is sufficient for such sick persons. In the past, a number of times religious sentiments of the Indian minorities were badly injured but no stick action was taken against the culprits. The Indian newspaper Statesman’s Editor Ravindra Kumar and publisher Anand Sinha were also guilty of reproducing an article from the UK’s Independent daily in its February 5, 2009 edition. The article was entitled: “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?” The author, Johann Hari, writes: “I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a ‘Prophet’ who … ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.” Although the newspaper committed an offence under Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code which is non-bailable but court granted bail to Ravindra Kumar and Anand Sinha as if nothing has happened. Regrettably, when Muslims carried out protest demonstration in front of the offices of the Statesman, Indian Police used baton charges several times to disperse the crowd. The western media gave a lot of projection to the incident if some wonder has been done by the newspaper. In an interview to BBC, Ravindra Kumar instead to apologizing said “I admit it was an editorial misjudgment but it was never intentional.” India is also guilty of proving asylum to Bengali writer Taslima Nasreen who is guilty of writing blasphemous book Lajja, which has been banned by the Bangladesh Government.

In the instant case of publishing blasphemous material regarding Jesus Christ, the evil minded Delhi based publisher was quick enough to apologize but the question arises, is this sufficient. We need to punish such extremist so that in future no one dares to commit such grave crime again. In fact, it is a conspiracy to play with the sentiments of Christian and Muslims. It is not only the writer and publisher who are responsible for such criminal blunder but Indian Ministry of Education is equally involved. Indian Union Education Minister Kapil Sibal has ordered a probe into the incident but so far no one from Ministry of Education has been arrested. It is a general observation that countries in order to prove themselves a free and secular society trespass others beliefs and sentiments. India has right to give complete liberty to its people but no civilized nation can allow people to play with the sentiments of others in the name of secularism. It is not the first case of such a sinful attempt but due to the leniency of the Indian government such people have gained strength. If an exemplary punishment was awarded to all those involved in the past, no one could have dared to repeat such a satanic attempt again.

It is a test for India that what action is taken against those responsible for such blasphemous publication. One wonders what if India fails to respect the sentiments of all those hurt. No doubt, it was a conspiracy to put a scanner on Indian text books but one is shocked to see that the western agents can go so low to achieve their objectives. India has still time to preserve its culture and traditions of communal harmony and come out of the western conspiracy. We need to understand that there is hell of bloody difference between the western and eastern values. Though, the west is not that bad as good people also exist there but no one can deny the fact that presently the reins of the governments are mostly controlled by evil powers. India is a subcontinent of many nationalities and its government must respect all schools of thought. It is ironical that not only the minorities of India are suppressed class but Hindus too do not enjoy their complete rights. In order to pave way for western values, Hindus and other communities, who believe in vigilance of society, are considered extremists and are subject to criticism. Where all communities should be allowed to propagate their views freely, as they have the right to follow any school of thought, nevertheless, no one should be allowed to hurt the religious sentiments of others. In order to achieve this objective, India should abide by its constitution as well as the agreement between India and Pakistan over minorities.

Burqa issue misunderstood in Pakistan: French embassy

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by: Daily Times

* Spokesman says Salafist groups, who encourage wearing burqa, support terrorists’ ideology
* Says France has Muslim institutions who have been very vocal in opposing burqa
* Paris mosque cleric says burqa wrongly presented as an Islamic tradition * Fact sheet by embassy says current debate not about hijab

ISLAMABAD: Although the ongoing debate on wearing burqa is divisive, a vast majority of the five million Muslims and chairman of the French Council of the Muslim Faith in France do not recognise wearing burqa as part of the Islamic culture nor do they associate it with the dignity of women, hence incompatible with the values of the French Republic, according to a fact sheet issued by the French embassy in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Wearing burqa is encouraged by Salafist groups. They are the ones promoting the burqa, advocating that public schools should not teach biology, girls should not play sports, a male doctor – even in an emergency situation – treat a woman etc. The fact sheet further states, “We have been dealing with those Salafist groups for decades now, we know them well. They support the ideology of the terrorists groups which carried out several bombings in France in the 1990’s. Those very groups, who today claim their allegiance to the al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, are testing the resistance capacity of the secular French Republic.”

Vocal opposition: France is home to the largest Muslim community with 2,368 mosques and prayer rooms and two under-construction grand mosques. A French embassy spokesman says, “We have representatives-elected institutions of the Muslim faith. Yet, their position on the burqa is not known in Pakistan. But in fact, they have been very vocal in opposing the burqa. Why? Because they don’t recognise it as part of Islam. They work hard for a successful integration of the Muslim community into the French society.”

He says Muhammad Moussaoui, chairman of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, said to the National Assembly commission, “The council considers that wearing the burqa is not a religious prescription. It is an extreme practice that we don’t want to see growing on the national soil. We have also said the burqa prevents women from having a normal social life.”

Tradition: Dr Dalil Boubakeur, cleric at the Grand Mosque of Paris said, “It is, therefore, obvious that today the burqa is wrongly presented as an Islamic tradition.”

Through the fact sheet, the spokesman claims that the French did not have any issues with the hijab, saying, “We look at the burqa or naqab as a cultural practice coming from other parts of the world and we don’t think it is compatible with the French secular vision of women’s dignity.” He added, “Because it’s not a religious practice, it does not benefit from the protection of the freedom of religion, which France protects dearly. As with polygamy, we don’t think we should accommodate all cultural practices in France.”

The fact sheet further sates that a committee of the French National Assembly had recommended a resolution against the wearing of burqa in France, but no decision had been made yet. It said the ongoing debate was divisive: some members of parliament opposed the ban, some called for a general ban, while others wanted a partial ban enforced only in public places, where it would be compulsory for women to remove their burqa or niqab. It stated that there could be a resolution stating the opposition of the National Assembly to the burqa – without a binding strength. But, it added that, there could be a law banning the burqa, however, its scope would have to be determined by parliament in the next few days and weeks.

Debate: Dwelling further on the subject, the fact sheet stated that the current debate is not at all about the hijab. The hijab is allowed everywhere in France, there is only one restriction for the state primary and secondary schools where all the conspicuous religious signs – crosses, turbans, kippas – are prohibited. This law, which earned overwhelming public support, is aimed at protecting the country’s strictly secular state from religious influence religion. The debate only deals with the burqa and the naqab, the veils that entirely hide the women’s faces.

An all-parties committee from the National Assembly studied the issue for six months, interviewed hundreds of people, including Muslims scholars, clerics, academics, law experts, sociologists and prepared a recommendation for a resolution against the burqa and the niqab. No decision has been made so far. It will be for parliament to vote on a bill, if one is tabled before it. This is how a standard legislative process works in a democracy.

During a press conference on Wednesday at the Islamabad Press Club, Daniel Jouanneau, French ambassador to Pakistan, said France is home to around five million Muslims, and around 2,000 women wore burqa, most of them French. “Vast majorities of French people, including Muslims consider that the wearing of burqa is not compatible with the French secular vision of the women’s dignity,” he said, adding that this is an issue between a small group of French citizens and the French parliament.

The spokesman further stated that “In France, the state has the responsibility to defend human dignity, even sometimes against a citizen’s will and can limit one’s individual freedom.”

The insidious Indian propaganda

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By Dr S.m. Rahman

The internet has become a vehicle to fan preposterous propaganda by the agencies in India, in order to promote ‘Hindutva’ sensibility to raise scare and trepidation among the Hindus that Pakistan in collusion with Bangladesh and Indian Muslim are now planning for a second partition of the subcontinent to carve our a much bigger chunk of territory out of India, which they have named as ‘Mughalstan’ that will comprise Pakistan, Bangladesh, including all of North and Eastern India. The so-called Mughal Muslim state will merge Pakistan and Bangladesh through a large corridor of land running across the Indo-Gangetic plain – the heartland of India. Jinnah’s Pakistan was envisaged to have the whole of Bengal and the Punjab – besides a corridor which could provide land links between the ‘west’ and the former ‘East Pakistan’. The moth-eaten Pakistan was accepted only ‘temporarily’ as Jinnah thought it expedient to accept what was made available, under the exigencies of the circumstances, but the idea of ‘Greater Pakistan’ was shelved for an appropriate time, as a necessary outcome of the partition, which the Hindu India had to reconcile with.

For propaganda message to appear credible a source had to be identified. It was deemed expedient to select Bangladesh, where this idea of Mughalstan was conceived and covertly planned at Jahangirnagar University, jointly supported by the ISI of Pakistan and DGFI (Director General Forces Intelligence of Bangladesh). In propaganda parlance, this is called ‘Black Propaganda source’, which is based on total distortion as the real originators are operating from somewhere else. It is for our intelligence agencies to find out as to from where such “hate propaganda” is being disseminated. They have also concocted an organisation called Mughalstan Research Institute (MRI) at Jahangirnagar University. The objectives of the propaganda are focused on the following themes so that Indian Hindus see the so-called vicious game the Muslims are playing to further divide Bharat, and that they are not content with the creation of Pakistan – an Islamic Republic and Bangladesh though apparently ‘secular’ nourishes deep Islamic ethos:

Ø The Punjabis pronounce Mughalstan, i.e. what is against the usual Urdu pronunciation Mughalistan. This is to establish that the ISI (Punjabi dominated organisation of Pakistan) is the contributor of the name. Such little details are meant to establish the credibility.

Ø The Islamic jihadis in India are being funded and organised by the Muslim countries, like Saudi Arabia and others.

Ø Osama bin Laden is behind the concept of ‘Greater Pakistan’ to liberate the Muslims of India from the domination of Hindus. The Mumbai bombings of 1993 was led by Karachi-based Dawood Ibrahim (a fugitive who is very much wanted by India for the crimes he committed), besides Jamat-i-Islami, Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, Jaish-i-Muhammad and Hizbul mujahideen all are involved in planning a greater Islamic country in the subcontinent. The Indian mujahideen are also involved and the students of Islamic Movement in India (SIMI) are partners in this mission.

Ø Hindus are declared enemies by Lashkar-i-Tayyaba and Jaish-i-Muhammad, and besides liberating Kashmir they have vowed to hoist the Islamic flag atop the historic Red Fort after capturing Delhi and the rest of India.

Ø Establishment of an Islamic caliphate is the objective of SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) and as such they have launched jihad in the Indian States, as secularism, democracy and nationalism – the keystone of the Indian statehood, are antithetical to Islam. The Indian mujahideen have claimed responsibility for bombings in Lucknow, Vanarsi and Faizabad, Banglore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and New Delhi in 2007 and 2008. Their role models are Muhammad Bin Qasim, Muhammad Ghouri and Mahmood Ghaznavi. They consider ‘Hindu blood’ as the cheapest of all mankind, and taunt Hindu history as full of subjugation and humiliation.

Ø Muslims population is steadily rising in the UP state, as it has risen to 18 percent and in Bihar 17 percent. A vast number of mosques are disproportionately growing through excessive funding by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Ø Muslim Banghbhoomi comprises various districts along the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh borders. Bangladesh is craving for Taliban type militants and madrassas are teaching that the Muslims are the best in the world and that the non-Muslims are “to be converted, beaten, killed and their women are to be raped as maal-e-ghaneemat.” Atrocities against Hindus in Bangladesh can be seen from the fact that there is no single woman between the ages of 7 to 70, who has not been raped.

Ø Bangladeshis have succeeded in infiltrating into Maripur, Mizoram, Meghalaya. Arunchal Pradesh and Tripura. In other words, they are responsible for fanning fissiparous trends in many of the states of India.

The message, therefore, is loud and clear that Hindus must rise to stop this grandiose plan of the Muslims. Mughalstan is not a question of “If” or “but”, but “when”, unless we, “Hindus” stand up to counter the treacherous plan. Undoubtedly, all this implicitly carries a message of coercive policies against the Indian Muslims, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The ostensible purpose of the propaganda is to malign both Bangladesh and Pakistan. The whole propaganda is motivated by a typical Kautalian sensibility to use deception, duplicity and deceit to fan hatred against the Muslims. It is also aimed at frustrating all the attempts to bring peace and cooperation between Pakistan and India through much dramatically publicised Aman Ki Aasha. One should interpret the outlandish proclamation by the Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor that India was capable of defeating both Pakistan and China within 96 hours. Stereotyping Muslims justifies all actions to destabilise Pakistan and even to launch a war if necessary.

The hate against Muslims is a combined strategy of the US, Israel and India. Thus, the so-called War on Terror has a covert design to suppress the Islamic resurgence and undermine its identity through a well-orchestrated plan. Pakistan should not dismiss it as a ‘whimsical idea’. There’s a method in the madness. They have killed around 90,000 Muslims in Kashmir alone notwithstanding regular communal riots like the one in Gujrat, where Muslims were cut into pieces like vegetables. Besides Muslims, Sikhs have been killed to the tune of 250,000 in the operation against the Golden Temple. A significant number of Christians have also been slaughtered only in Orissa. Dalits are being most brutally treated at the hands of Hindus, and yet the propaganda is to whitewash the Hindu propensity for violence.

Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was indeed a man of great foresight. He saw through the game, the Hindus were playing that they were the true inheritors of the British Empire and everyone else was to be left high and dry.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world is uncritically accepting the Indian propaganda that it is a vibrant democracy, quite oblivious of the reality that India is notoriously following its apartheid repressive policy against its religious minorities. They are covertly planning to destabilise through subversion in Balochistan, tribal areas and extending it to Punjab and Karachi.

George Orwell said very rightly: “In time of universal deceit, telling to truth is a revolutionary act.” The truth must be heeded to and our countrymen must rise against Indian machinations.

The writer is secretary general, FRIENDS.

France moves closer to banning full Muslim veil

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Critics argue proposed move would be violation of basic rights

Faiza Silmi, a 32-year-old Moroccan, walks in a Le Mesnil-Saint-Denis, France, on Tuesday. Silmi was refused French citizenship for what authorities said was her failure to assimilate into French culture.

LA VERRIERE, France – The man she married is French, her four children were born in France and she speaks French with only a trace of her native Arabic tongue. Faiza Silmi contends her clothes – a head-to-toe robe and filmy tissue covering her face – are the reason France has denied her citizenship in her adopted land.

The 32-year-old Moroccan may soon be facing an even fiercer blow. A top French lawmaker submitted a draft law this week that would ban such Islamic dress anywhere in public, a measure that would set a European precedent and trap thousands of women between their religious convictions and the law of the land.

“They say I’m too attached to my religion,” Silmi told The Associated Press at an empty restaurant near her home southwest of Paris, her large eyes peering from a slit in her veil. “Lots of Christians live in Morocco and we don’t make them wear scarves.”

Unlike Muslim headscarves, full-body, face-covering robes are a rare sight in the streets of France, home to an estimated 5 million Muslims, the largest such population in western Europe. France’s main Muslim leaders have declared that Islam does not require women to cover their faces with niqabs or burqas.

In a country whose national emblem is Marianne, a bare-chested woman, there is deepening concern over the all-encompassing garb, often black or brown and worn with gloves, attire typical in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Here, it is widely viewed as a gateway to radical Islam, an attack on gender equality and other French values, and a gnawing away at the nation’s secular foundation.

‘Not welcome’

President Nicolas Sarkozy opened the door to a possible ban in June, telling a parliament session in Versailles that such dress “is not welcome” in France. A parliamentary panel set to work in July on a six-month mission gathering information on the garments.

On Tuesday, the head of Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party in parliament’s lower house, Jean-Francois Cope, jumped the gun before the panel’s report was finished, and filed draft legislation on a ban. “No one may, in spaces open to the public and on public streets, wear a garment or an accessory that has the effect of hiding the face,” the draft text reads.

The document cites public security concerns, thus includes all face-covering clothes, in a bid to head off challenges from those who might claim such a law would violate constitutional rules on individual rights – a major concern along with how such a law would be enforced. It foresees fines for those who break the law.

The initiative, unlikely to go to debate before spring, would be the second time France targets Muslim dress. A 2004 law born in acrimony bans Muslim headscarves and other “ostentatious” religious symbols in the classrooms of French public schools. Sarkozy’s party dominates parliament and the president reiterated Wednesday his wish for a law on full veils, though it’s too early to say whether it will pass.


Europe’s growing Muslim population has bred tension across the continent. Wariness is pervasive since deadly attacks in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005 by Islamic radicals living in Europe. And some non-Muslims sense a threat by a foreign culture to their way of life. It took only four minarets on Switzerland’s 200 mosques to push the Swiss to vote “no” to minarets in a November referendum.

However, France, which wants an Islam tailored to the West, would be the only western European country to target the all-enveloping robes and niqabs, the cloth hiding the lower face. “We’re going to become the laughing stock of democracies” should France ban the clothing, said Raphael Liogier, a sociology professor who runs the Observatory of the Religious in Aix-en-Provence.

He is among critics who say a ban would be a violation of basic rights and “transgression of the fundamental principles of our republic.”

Written by rohitkumarsviews

January 18, 2010 at 8:05 am