EU hijab ban – when religious freedom becomes politicking

SHAFAQNA – It must this time of year again … snow is slowly melting, the sun has more or less returned and our favourite – NOT, neo-liberals have come out of hibernation to throw Muslim women under the bus, hopefully minus their undesirable hijabs.

Europe you see is so bent on beating modesty out of us, out of a higher sense of puritan liberalism that it is willing to deny women, and in the process all people their most basic right: religious freedom!

A headscarf is not just a headscarf … and quite frankly even if it was just a piece of clothing I’m not sure a few yards of fabric plonked on someone’s head would warrant such a barrage of opinions, and condemnations.

What is it about women’s clothing that sends people in a frenzy. Whether on or off, women have been told since the beginning of time that their manner of dress can make or break society – shape morality, and potentially bring empires to their knees … Have we lost all sense of decorum?

Let me recap on the event of the day: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that employers can ban staff from wearing visible religious symbols at work in the first case of its kind before the EU’s top court.

The ECJ has ruled on the cases of two female employees in Belgium and in France, fired after they refused to remove their headscarves at work. In the first case, a Belgian woman working as a receptionist for G4S Secure Solutions, which has a general ban on the wearing of visible religious or political symbols, was dismissed for refusing to remove her religious attire. In the second, a French IT consultant was also let go when she refused to take off the headscarf after a client complained.

Seculars everywhere are cheering a grand cheer – they have won a decisive battle in outlawing not just Islam but essentially religion, and in one smooth sweep of the hand undermined the very foundations democracy was built upon: Freedom.

There can  never be Freedom where communities are denied to believe.

Call me crazy but attempting to beat God out of the public sphere out of a misplaced sense of entitlement really sounds like a euphemism for fascism to me . I get that seculars will argue until they are blue in the face that the whole separation of powers command that religion be kept out of the limelight – absolutely and systematically as to protect Democracy’s institutions, but frankly it makes no sense.

Fronting a religious belief does not make you an enemy of democracy, and it certainly does not undermine the sanctity of the state. Why would it? Has God become a matter of contention now? Will the EU seek to outlaw God next and maybe attempt to establish itself a little deity among man so that all would bow to the new secular order, and to laicity pledge themselves? What will you do Madam EU? Will you point your arrows to the sky and shoot at the Heavens? Will you indict God and demand he’d be made to bow to secularism?

What an interesting theory indeed! Ok let’s put this matter aside …

Here is where I believe most commentators will miss the mark – rather than see this decision as yet another slip towards secular-fascism and uber-liberalism, pundits will make the ban a Muslim  affair.

Forget Muslims and forget Islam for a second … yes the ban directly targets Muslim women but beyond that it is an attack against all faiths and all freedoms.

Muslim women were chosen as targets because of the prejudices running against them.  Haven’t you heard? Muslim women are submissive creatures in need of liberating. Us, Muslim ladies cannot possibly live without some tutelage and guardianship and so the EU had to step in and teach us a grand lesson in Freedom.

THANK YOU Governor! Thank you for oppressing us into feeling liberated. Thank you for forcing us to conform to what you feel is morally acceptable and what you defined as THE socio-political norm. Who knew democracy was that much fun?!

Ironically enough the EU today sat itself in the same camp as Daesh and those Takfiri devils, who, from behind their demonic black banner call on all women to be disappeared under layers of black fabric so that their humanity could be erased, and in chains shackled to their masters.

One wants women to lose some and the other wants women to add some … Let me see!

What about women be allowed to chose for themselves what path, if any, if at all, they would like to venture on. What about we stop defining women through men’s rules? What about we recognise that women are entitled to their individuality, their humanity, and their religious beliefs?

What about you stop seeing women as commodities to be traded off on the political market?

What about we consider – even for a second that there is no such thing as exceptionalism and that all people are entitled to their beliefs? And do not serve me platitudes arguing such “bans” aim to protect when really they ambition to vicitimise.

By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna


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