Now, President Sarkozy of France has commented as per the BBC:Sarkozy speaks out about the wearing of the burka:
Mr Sarkozy was speaking at a special session of parliament in Versailles
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken out strongly against the wearing of the burka by Muslim women in France.
In a major policy speech, he said the burka - a garment covering women from head to toe - reduced them to servitude and undermined their dignity.
Mr Sarkozy also gave his backing to the establishment of a parliamentary commission to look at whether to ban the wearing of burkas in public.
In 2004, France banned the Islamic headscarves in its state schools.
"We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity," Mr Sarkozy told a special session of parliament in Versailles.
"That is not the idea that the French republic has of women's dignity.
"The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic," the French president said.
But he stressed that France "must not fight the wrong battle", saying that "the Muslim religion must be respected as much as other religions" in the country.
A group of a cross-party lawmakers is already calling for a special inquiry into whether Muslim women who wear the burka is undermining French secularism, the BBC's Emma Jane Kirby in Paris says.
The lawmakers also want to examine whether women who wear the veil are doing so voluntarily or are being forced to cover themselves, our correspondent says.
Mr Sarkozy's speech was the first a French president has made to parliament since the 19th century - made possible by a constitutional amendment he introduced last year.
Later on Monday, Mr Sarkozy was expected to meet the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al-Thani.
In 2004, France banned the Islamic headscarf and other conspicuous religious symbols from public schools, triggering heated debate in the country and abroad.
Members of the French government have been divided over the issue.
The immigration minister, Eric Besson, has said a full ban will only "create tensions" while the junior minister for human rights, Rama Yade, said she would accept a ban if it was aimed at protecting women forced to wear the burka.
France's official Muslim council has criticised the debate.
"To raise the subject like this, via a parliamentary committee, is a way of stigmatising Islam and the Muslims of France," said Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Council for the Muslim Religion.
France is home to about five million Muslims.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Sitting in Saudi Arabia Sans Burka: Condoleezza Rice
People who follow fashion and haute couture will get a fright-night scare by checking out this webpage: ttp://www.alhannah.com/cgi-bin/avg?a;niqab. Thankfully, our United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was not interested in the latest Riyadh designs for the all concealing "burka" or Islam veil when she sat side by side with her hosts and Arab peers during a recent televised visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Congratulations and a heart felt "thank you", Madame Secreatary, for making a magnificent presence in Riyadh sans berka.
In my opinion, the berka (or burka) is symbolic of everything that is wrong with the Islam culture and prevents me from understanding how any good can come of out of this world dominant and growing religious faith. Can the Islam civilization be considered civilized when, by religious custom and via the writings of its founder Mohamed, women are required to hide themselves? We are talking about at least 50 percent of the Islam population who are required to put themselves behind scarves. This custom or practice defies modesty. It is plain suppression.
Suppressed women cannot contribute to the conversation at any level. Therefore, I submit, the Islam nations of the world are only hearing from half their constituents.
I expect Condoleezza Rice was not shown on Saudi Arabian television sitting next to her peers without wearing a berka. No doubt, this news was either ignored altogether or heavily censored, at best. Indeed, I suspect the snippets we saw on American television were clandestinely filmed. Did anybody notice Condoleezza Rice without a berka? It is a very big deal for a woman not to cover her head in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, it's even a much bigger deal to sit at the big guys table without any veil. Berka, indeed! Madame Secretary, you looked magnificent. Although your statements were muted in the report I saw, you actually didn't have to speak at all. Your presence sans berka was enough for me. You are a liberating image to women who must, at times, wonder why most of the world finds the berka to be repressive, disrespectful and a symbol of violent sexual oppression, based entirely upon the fact that a human being happens to be born a female.
Although I've never publsihed a prophecy in my life, my first attempt at this mystic concept is this: When Islam women shed the berka, we will see peace in the Middle East.
Thank you Madame Secretary Condoleezza Rice for going to Saudi Arabia sans berka.
Post Script: March 4, 2007 - BBC News: "Iran Women Arrested After Protest"
(Seventy people were arrested at last June's demonstration)
Iran's authorities arrested more than 32 women activists protesting outside a courthouse in Tehran. The protesters were showing solidarity with five women on trial for organising a protest last June against laws they say discriminate against women.
The five were charged with endangering national security, propaganda against the state and taking part in an illegal gathering.
US pressure group, Human Rights Watch, urged an end to the prosecution.
It said the women were exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
The five are organisers of a demonstration last June which was violently broken up by the police and led to the arrest of 70 people, many of them innocent bystanders.
The BBC's Frances Harrison, reporting from the demonstration, says almost all the leaders of Iran's women's movement were arrested.
The women held up banners outside the revolutionary court, saying: "We have the right to hold peaceful protests".
The aim of the women is to draw attention to discriminatory Islamic laws on polygamy and child custody that often cause great suffering to women, our correspondent says.
When the five women on trial left the court building they were arrested again, along with their lawyer.
Parveen Adalan, one of those on trial, said her lawyer had not yet seen any of the evidence against her, although she has been questioned five times by the intelligence agencies.
"They didn't give them our documents to read, so we don't know what's happening," she told the BBC.
One of the women demonstrators, Nahid Mirhaj, accused the police of trying to intimidate them.
She said the police chief was "using obscene words and describing us as 'misfits'".
Our correspondent says police and plain-clothes security men chased away journalists and onlookers and then loaded the women onto a curtained minibus and drove them away.
The women believe the authorities are trying to intimidate them to prevent any kind of protest during International Women's Day on 8 March.
Labels: Condoleezza Rice, Islam Berka, Islam women, Saudi Arabia
Postscript: I received several comments about this burka post; but, due to the prevalence of perversity on blogs, I choose to block comments. Please send me your comments at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org - if you would like to be posted on this blog. All comments appropriate to the subject of the blog will be posted unedited.