Divided over the Veil

by frances 16. July 2009 10:12
Jaroslaw Adamowski reporting in the New Matilda yesterday discusses the French President, Nicholas Sarkozy's 22 June speech and his statement on full body Islamic veils. Adamowski goes on to explain the various views of people within France but also Holland, and, Turkey.

Adamowski reports "In his speech, Sarkozy said the burqa and niqab were "not religious symbols, but symbols of women's debasement and oppression" and therefore "were not welcome" in France, a country that is home to a 5-million-strong Muslim minority, but which is also a secular state where a 2004 law already banned wearing conspicuous religious symbols in public schools........And France surely is not a lone island in the middle of Europe. The "veil issue" is a major topic in Holland also, where in 2006, the government announced it would ban the wearing of burqa at schools. In the end no ban was applied, but the public debate that it sparked off revealed a profound change in Holland's society. The Dutch, once known for being one of Europe's most welcoming nations towards Arabic-speaking immigrants, have lost much of their faith in Muslim integration in Europe since the murder of film director Theo van Gogh, stabbed to death by an Islamic fundamentalist accusing him of anti-Muslim bias, in 2004. Meanwhile, in Turkey, the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has been trying to annul a law that forbids wearing headscarves at public universities and state institutions. Both burqa and niqab are rarely seen among Turkish women, and those who decide to cover their heads usually do it with headscarves, loosely covering their hair. Legalising the headscarf in universities was one of AKP's major electoral promises, before it came to power in 2002, but the Turkish Constitutional Court, seeing itself as a defendant of Turkey's secular identity, has rejected all legislative attempts to lift the ban up to date."

This issue provides teachers with an excellent opportunity to develop a WebQuest! The WebQuest could easily be used in Civics, Legal Studies, Politics, or, Religious Studies. Ideally this topic lends itself to antagonistic roles or perspectives reflecting the views of the community within any country. The "messy" problem provides students with an authentic Problem-Based Learning opportunity around a Focus Question like: "Should the French President push for a ban on wearing the burqa or niqab in public?"

If you would like to make a WebQuest around this topic try out SWAT - Short-cut WebQuest Authoring Tool http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/swat a free area where you will also get free mentoring help while making your WebQuest!


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