Muslim Women’s Pride Showcased in France But Not Forgotten in USA

French officials made a clear separation of church and statethis school year when they announced their new law, which bans all conspicuous religious signs orapparel in public schools, such as Jewish yarmulkes (skullcaps), large Christian crosses, andIslamic headscarves.

 Ignoring the stipulations of the lawhowever, French education minister, Francois Fillon states between100 to 120 girls defied the new law banning Islamic headscarves inclassrooms.  School officials are in the process of convincingthem to remove the head coverings. The minister strongly believesthat most of the girls will comply with the new law.  Thosewho fail to will face the consequence of expulsion from school.

The purpose ofthe law is to bring France‘sincreasingly vocal Muslim population, estimated at 5 million, intoline with the country’s cherished principle of secularism. But these tactics are causing the Muslim population to resent anddefy French laws. It is beginning to ignite a flame of nationalism,individuality, and pride in religious beliefs among many Muslimgirls in France, similar to attitudes already seen in theUnited States.

Muslim women donot wear hijabs or headscarves just to cover their hair, but it isalso worn as an Islamic expression of modesty, and manyMuslim women view it as a significant tradition and part oftheir spiritual and cultural growth as Muslims.

It symbolizes the culture and religiousindividuality of Islam, has always been very controversial insideand outside the Islamic culture.  It dates back to thebeginnings of Islam when the prophet Muhammad wanted his wivesveiled to encourage humility and to protect them from the manyvisitors in his home.

Attitudes of individuality have been previouslyexpressed in the United States and dozens of Muslim women,specifically college students, have already begun to take a standand consider wearing the hijab.

“I think there are a lot of debates about it. Ithink there is also a lot of encouragement for wearing it from theMuslim community and a long history of what it means to wear it,depending on what country you live in,” Laila Al-Marayati, aspokeswoman for the Muslim Women’s League told Washington Postreporters.

On many college campuses such as the Universityof Maryland, Georgetown University, and the University of Virginia,various Muslim students are noticing more girls taking an interestin their religion by wearing hijabs.