Our friends at Al-Jazeera report that “an international human rights organisation has condemned France for attacking freedom of religion.” Thanks to nicolei.
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights said on Wednesday a proposed new law which would ban Islamic headscarves and other religious insignia in schools would contravene the most basic human rights. The stinging criticism came after French President Jacques Chirac backed the proposed law because he said France needed to safeguard its secular identity.
But the IHF said wearing the hijab is an essential part of a Muslim woman’s religious identity, and the state cannot tell people how to dress unless others’ human rights are being violated. ‘For many Muslim women wearing a headscarf is a deeply personal choice and a sign of their religious conviction and has nothing to do with Islamic fundamentalism,’ the IHF said in a statement.
Contrast that statement to this one from Islamic-world.net:
The Qur’an clearly and directly asks all human beings to surrender to God(Allah) in complete submission and accept His guidance in every field of activity. ‘Oh you who believe! Enter into Islam fully and whole-heartedly, and follow not the footsteps of Satan, for he is to you an avowed enemy,”(2:208). Because Islam is a complete way of life this Divine Guidance is for all matters private and public, political and economic, social and cultural, moral and legal. In the Godless secular nations they require a separation of religion and state. Politics is to be made free from religious influence. In Islam politics is a necessary element of the religious domain. Allah has told us He is to be the sole determiner of what is right and lawful. ‘Command is for none but God; He has commanded that you obey none but Him – that is the right path,’ ([Qur’an] 12:40). And, ‘If any do fail to establish and rule by what God has revealed, they are the unbelievers, the unjust or the evil doers,’ ([Qur’an] 5:44,45,47).”
(Thanks again to nicolei.)
In light of this, French secularists are right to be concerned. As Al-Jazeera puts it, “ardent secularists fear the headscarf is an outward sign of a refusal to assimilate fully into French society.” Indeed it is, for it is just one manifestation of a vision of Islam as a total way of life that also asserts primacy over the political and cultural spheres.