As many of you know the French government is dabbling with dress codes:
President Jacques Chirac of France has called for a law banning Islamic head scarves and other religious symbols in state schools, strengthening France’s commitment to secularism.
Sadly, at least one major Muslim cleric thinks that this is ok:
The grand sheik of Al Azhar, Muhammad Sayed Tantawi, told reporters that although wearing the head scarf, or hijab, was a religious duty, governments of non-Muslim countries had the right to pass any laws they liked.
He argues first that Muslims living in non-Muslim countries must follow the local laws even if they conflict with Islamic law. This is fine.
However his argument that governments have the right to pass any laws they like is false and we all need to speak up and say no when we hear arguments like this.
What folks wear as they go about their daily lives, even in tax funded schools, is not a legitimate interest of any government.
A French spokesperson says:
“You shouldn’t see in it a humiliation for anyone,” Mr. Sarkozy said. “You shouldn’t see in it a lack of respect for your religion. You must understand that secularism is our tradition, our choice.”
Sorry, it is a lack of respect for their religion and, more importantly, it is a lack of respect for the targeted individuals.