Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lifting the veil on Europe

By Marwan Bishara

"....It is clear that the fight for the right to wear the face veil per se is neither considered desirable by most Muslims nor winnable among most Europeans.

Unlike the headscarf, it is too difficult to defend covering the face on security, civic and even religious grounds.

I am no religious scholar, but it is clear from my reading that the absolute majority of Muslim scholars and citizens consider the face veil a matter of personal choice not religious duty.

Instead of concentrating their energies on defending the right to wear the face veil - which is hardly defensible in Europe - Muslims and non-Muslim Europeans alike need to prioritise and realign their energies and activities towards the bigger questions affecting their common future on the continent.

Reducing continent-wide challenges of coexistence, equality, development and freedom to the right of wearing the face veil will prove self-defeating at best. Only cynical populists from both sides would stand to benefit.

For those trying to veil discrimination, battles over face veils are paramount."

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