Campus News Blog: Belgium, France, and the Islamic Faith

April 30, 2010  

Posted By Kathryn Sharkey

When people think of diversity, race is the first thing that usually comes to mind. However, there are many other attributes that add to diversity, such as religion and culture. As the U.S. starts facing more battles addressing racial diversity, countries in Europe are facing a battle over religion.

According to a recent article in The Washington Post, Belgium and France are drafting strict legislation to ban the face veils Muslim women often wear. The countries explain their reasoning for the legislation, saying that they believe the veil is oppressive and demeaning towards women.

But Muslim women who actually wear  the traditional garb, usually do so because they believe that for religious reasons they have to. Banning a religious practice seems like a risky legal step to take because it brings together two hot button issues: politics and religion.

With this case there is another, even more potent ingredient in the mix: racism. The article quotes European legal minds citing Muslim extremism as part of the reason for their actions. Punishing the whole for the minority doesn’t seem to be the best way to try and temper violent extremism.

Belgium and France send a clear message with their new laws: religious diversity is not welcome here.

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