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Dr Abdullah Sahin on the Danish ‘burqa ban’

On the day that the Danish ban on garments such as the niqab and burqa comes into effect, Dr Abdullah Sahin, expert in Islamic Education, discusses the significance of this controversial measure.

“Today Denmark’s ‘burqa ban’ is coming into force. Despite denials, it is a reactionary blanket ban that unfairly targets Muslims. An unnecessary and disproportionate measure that will be largely counterproductive by further alienating and stigmatising European Muslims”.

“What is more concerning is that it will promote the false ‘us and them’ narrative actively propagated by the extremist Islamists and anti-Islam-focused rhetoric of the far right. Both thrive on manipulating people’s insecurities and imagined fear of one another. The ban’s pretext of preventing the perceived oppression of Muslim women and helping to integrate people living in the ‘ghettos’ into the wider society is deceptive. Renewing mutual trust by addressing crippling socio-economic conditions effecting minority communities would have been a more obvious and effective way of facilitating social mobility and preventing the formation of ghettos”.

“It is also a sad day for European democracy that prides itself on being inclusive, plural and above all protecting personal freedoms including the right to choose what to wear. None of this means we should be shy away from being open and critical of one another. It is common sense to argue that wearing the face veil (niqab), for whatever reason it is worn, may well be a hindrance in certain professions, like in teaching or in the medical profession. In a democracy, such personal and sensitive issues could easily be negotiated within the local and professional contexts. Besides its many impracticalities of implementation, this legislation cannot guarantee observing the democratic, civic values or achieve social integration. Such a blanket ban is simply against the spirit of secular democracy”.

“What we urgently need is to encourage ways of restoring mutual trust amongst the communities that make up our shared society by showing a firm commitment to the values of responsibly living with one another. We have a better chance to form a peaceful coexistence if we respect the dignity of difference and recognize the reality of our interdependence”.

Contact:

Kim Ingram

Assistant Press Officer

K.Ingram.1@warwick.ac.uk

Tel: 02476 (5) 75601