At the beginning of this year the French government passed a law illegalising the wearing of a Burka in public domains. Although profoundly popular with the French general public, it has become a topic of great debate and controversy across the globe. Even further controversy beckons within France as authorities struggle (or even chose not to) enforce this new law.
Is this religious intolerance? Complete and total discrimination perhaps? Click on the links below to see what the Ninjas think. Don’t forget to add your comments and vote in the poll on the right hand side of the page.
Ninja 1: The Burka ban is a step in the right direction but it needs to be enforced fully
Ninja 2: The Burka ban is good idea but impossible to enforce
Ninja 3: The Burka ban backwards step for the French
Ninja 4: Muslims and the French government must reach a fair compromise on the Burka
Britain’s politicians may take fright at the idea, but Sarkozy’s move is both popular and right.
In 2005, a viral email began circulating claiming to show a transcript of a speech made by then Australian Prime Minister John Howard. The integrity and validity of this transcript has been hotly debated ever since and many believe the speech to have been exaggerated. Nevertheless it read:
‘IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture.. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.’
‘This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom’
‘We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society . Learn the language!’
‘Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.’
‘We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.’
‘This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom,
‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE’.’
‘If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE. We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country that accepted YOU!’
Now, whether or not this was actually said in its entirety, I believe it has hit the nail directly on the head and is a viewpoint that should be applied across the globe. This is exactly why I believe in the banning of the Burka. Need I say any more?
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
To this, I will say yes, a thousand times yes! And I strongly believe that this sentence is true in pretty much every situation: when you go to a foreign country, learn the language; when you choose to go and live away from home, respect the laws of the country you reside in. For the purpose of this post, I will only develop on the issue of women wearing the burkha and headscarves in France and the law that forbids it.
First of all, let me tell you that I agree with the fact that Muslim women should not wear the burkha in a secular country like France, just like I would not expect a Catholic girl to drag around an massive cross behind her. You will then understand that my motivations are not of racist nature. France, like most secular countries, guarantees the freedom of religion to everyone. I should hope so! Doing otherwise would just be blind intolerance and ignorance. So people are allowed to practice the religion they want, whenever they want. Yes. Just as long as it does not go against any fundamental French value, like women freedom and secularism. It is just like how France does not allow polygamy really, just respect the laws and customs! Easy. I wouldn’t expect people to adapt to me if I were to go live in a culturally different country!
Second of all and weirdly enough, to handle this issue, I don’t think that enforcing the law, or even the law itself is the best of methods. First because France might have to face nasty comments from the International Court of Law on the racist or sexist nature of the law. Ouch, we might want to avoid that. But also because I don’t think it is going to solve anything, it is just going to create more and more tensions. I would suggest (don’t get me wrong, I don’t know much about laws, governments and politics in general…) a stronger socialisation process when entering the country, to make sure that people adapt themselves to the customs. Not through force, but through education. I think it would be smoother than a law, fines and the police escorting you to the station.
Now to conclude on this point, I do understand that the law is there to make a point as it has not been enforced since it got through, but I still don’t think it is enough.
We live in a multi-cultural world. We have allowed the migration of people, religion and culture allowing society to constantly evolve into what it is today. I believe this is a good thing, it has allowed us to develop sub cultures, groups and communities made up of different people from different backgrounds sharing ideas and beliefs.
Banning the burka is backwards thinking and France should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such a ridiculous law to be passed. France is not a country that is governed by a set religion but politics and capitalism, like many other EU countries.
I’m no expert on politics, especially European laws, leaders and past dictators making me not only a bad candidate for a pub quiz but uninterested in the topic. If I look at the situation as a whole however, I really fail to see an issue with the burka. Who is it harming? Surely a lot of time and effort has gone into creating this law but it really is insignificant on our lives. It’s time France start worrying about bigger problems like the Eurozone crisis, war, famine… the Eurovision song contest results! The list goes on.
If I think about the idea of such a ban being created in England, I would expect utter uproar from the Muslim community. My fear would be the worry that a ban would cause violence and extremism. Religion already causes so many problems for the world we live in; banning the burka shows France are ignorant towards the Muslim religion.
Respect the country, adhere to the rules, learn the language but at the end of the day, your religion is your religion.
Ban the Burka?
The banning of the burka is a very controversial subject, which needs to be looked at diplomatically. The burka ban in France came into play earlier this year, and prevents anyone from covering up their face in public. But is this right? Should people be penalised for following their religion and beliefs? Or should you adapt to the country you live in and will this stop the oppression of Islamic women?
Why should people be punished for practising a religion, surely this is a human right? If people are are allowed to wear as little amount of clothing as they like then why are people being punished for wearing as much clothing as they like. After all these people strongly believe in their religion and that they are providing a service to god.
But then again you also have to look at the other side of things. Why do women feel they have to cover themselves up with burkas? They can still practise their religion without going to such extremes and surely when entering a new country you should respect that countries views and beliefs. Apprentice star SAIRA KHAN states that; “Nowhere in the Koran does it state that a woman’s face and body must be covered in a layer of heavy black cloth. Instead, Muslim women should dress modestly, covering their arms and legs.” So if, as some people feel, the burka is a way of brainwashing and oppressing the Islamic women then why should this be allowed?
My feelings on the subject are as follows; if the burka is not a necessity in the Muslim religious practise then why let it cause a security risk to streets around the world. If it offends and disrespects said country then I can understand the ban but I also understand the right for people to practise whatever religious beliefs they have. I think it’s all about comprise and if a little more is given on each side then both could be happy.
Last week saw a considerable amount of trouble break out in Parliament Square where several people were injured and many other arrested. The reason – squatters rights.
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has called for an end to squatters rights, to be replaced by a £5000 fine or even imprisonment. These proposals are gathering heavy support and look likely to go ahead in some form. Click the links below to see what the Ninjas think about these reforms and what they believe should be done about squatters.
Don’t forget to vote for who you agree with in the poll on the right hand side of this page.
Enjoy the controversy!
Ninja 1: Squatting should not be abolished
Ninja 2: Squatting should definitely be abolished
Ninja 3: Squatters need an alternative
Ninja 4: Squatters should be dealt with on a case by case basis
Squatting in the UK does pose a massive issue. I admit that. But so far, it is an issue without a solid solution. I personally think it’s about time we showed just a little compassion to the human race.
First things first. Let’s consider exactly what circumstances would lead to someone becoming a squatter. It certainly isn’t by choice – that is just a ridiculous suggestion. We are living in a recession. People are being made redundant on a regular basis and work is hard to come by now more than ever. Slowly but surely no income leads to not being able to pay rent or mortgages. A lot of this goes under the radar, but entire families are being forced into homelessness all over the country.
So what next? Start living on the streets? What kind of a life is that for a family with young children and no other options? I will tell you what kind. It is dangerous, demoralising and just plain wrong. Squatting may not be the perfect solution, but it is undeniably better than living on the streets. Not only does it provide shelter but it allows groups of people to form communities that can support, motivate and keep each other safe.
I can see how a lot of people would be against squatters rights – based on some of the atrocious stories that have received coverage in the media in recent years. But it must be realised that these are in the minority of cases and most squatters can go completely unnoticed for long periods. So much so, in fact, that the government have found it difficult to even estimate the number of squatters currently ‘residing’ in the UK. The last figure released was in 2003 and estimated a total of 15,000 – just imagine how this has increased as the recession has taken its toll.
So what now? Imprisonment? Fines? Way to solve the situation. These propositions from the government literally make no sense. I say we allow the majority to continue living in houses and building which have long been abandoned and deal with the minority of troublemakers on a case by case basis. Can you honestly justify stripping families and established communities of shelter, safety and hope?