Why France’s stance on the Burka is to be applauded

[Selena Hills, Women’s Rights Contributor]

This week, France became the first country in the world to outlaw the Burka.  As from now, it is illegal to wear a full-face veil in public in the country.

Whilst the law has provoked much controversy in the country, many western nations are considering making similar laws and are being urged by human rights groups to do so.  The main reason for that is because the burka is widely accepted in the Muslim world and outside it, to be a symbol of a man’s domination over a woman. As such the practice which is not supported by any religious norms, is considered to be repulsive and concerning to women in western societies who cherish their equality with men.

Female Genital Mutilation

Another powerful symbol of men’s domination over women, female genital cutting (FGC) is practised in most of Northeast Africa, the far east and southeast Asia  (includes: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Cambodia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, East Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore).

In these countries most of the victim’s genitals are cut away to make her more attractive to her future husband. The procedure is savage and causes much distress to the women, most of whom never recover psychologically as well as physically from the ordeal.

Guardian.co.uk reports that Lancashire midwife Cath Holland  had first went to Kenya back in 1998 as a midwifery tutor at a nursing school in Pokot.  Soon upon her arrival, she discovered that Pokot practised the most extreme form of female genital mutilation (FGM) whereby the entire outer genitalia, including the clitoris, are literally hacked off whilst the woman is still conscious.

Later on, in her professional duties, she witnessed the effects of the brutal practice when women suffered horribly when giving birth as their vaginal openings, due to the mutilations, were too narrow to let their babies out.

She comments: “In that area, they say there are three sorrows of womanhood. The first is when a girl has her genitalia removed, usually in her teens. The second is when she gets married, and has to have her vagina opened so she can have penetrative sex, which is usually done using an animal’s horn. And the third is when she gives birth, and has to be cut again so the baby can be born”.

After witnessing a FGM procedure for herself, she was so traumatized by the event that she became a committed advocate against the practice.

Women’s rights groups worldwide consider France’s move on the burka to be the right one for women and want it to go even further so that FGM/ FGC too can also be criminalised as they have no place in any civilised society based on equal rights for all.

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One Comment to “Why France’s stance on the Burka is to be applauded”

  1. Great article 🙂

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