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Written by Student Rights on 12 May 2010 at 12pm

Freedom? Equality? Not for Muslims.

This is a cross-post from Anila Baig writing for The Sun on Wednesday 12th May 2010

FRANCE has declared the full Islamic face veil an affront to French values - presumably it is against the values of liberté, égalité and fraternité.

Sorry, but where is the equality, the égalité, in targeting a tiny group of Muslim women? Where is their liberty in not being able to choose what they want to wear? France pretends it is a bastion of equality. This shows it is anything but. To show it is not targeting poor Muslim women on sink estates, France exclaims it will also pick on the super-rich Muslim women who flock to designer shops. Oh, good. So not prejudiced against poor Muslims, just ALL Muslims. That makes me feel better.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the burka. No one in my family has worn one and I associate it with the women in villages back home who want to escape the prying eyes of lustful men. But that's back home. I agree that when I see women on the streets in Bradford in full black, flowing gowns I am taken aback. I believe it probably doesn't even have Islamic roots but was worn in the desert to keep the sand out of people's eyes. I can see why mainstream Brits find them offensive but, to be honest, I feel equally uncomfortable when I see people bearing neck-to-ankle tattoos or body piercings. Or people who do the unthinkable... and wear socks with sandals. Those who wear the burka don't criticise me for wearing mismatched clothes, and I don't criticise them for their interpretation of Islam.

Of course, if there is a security issue, then that comes first. Veiled women understand that and are happy to show their faces when they need to. I just think constant appraisal of Islamic dress exacerbated the problem. No one really cared before about what Muslim women wore but suddenly it became a big issue. The more it became an issue, the more women decided to wear it. And where it is banned, what are you going to do? Physically rip it off women as they walk down the street? Doesn't sound very civilised. Some women truly and honestly believe they are obeying God by covering their faces. They aren't going to listen to anyone else. And the more we make a song and dance about it, the more women will want to don the burka to show solidarity with their oppressed sisters.

Of course, they could always move to Japan. On a recent trip there I was struck by how many people - women and men - wore the face veil. Except it was white and they called it a "pollution mask". France has made its position clear - liberté, égalite, fraternité... so long as you're not Muslim.

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