The Guardian reports today on the case in France where a Moroccan woman who wears a burqa denied citizenship on the grounds that her “radical” practice of Islam is incompatible with basic French secular values such as equality of the sexes.
The woman, known as Faiza M, is 32, married to a French national and lives east of Paris and has been in France for almost eight years. She speaks French, has three French children, but what did it for her was the fact that she lived in “total submission” to her husband and her application was rejected finally (the case dates back to 2005) on the grounds of “insufficient assimilation”.
She had appealed on the grounds of the French constitutional right to religious freedom, but the original ruling was upheld.
The ruling said the woman had “adopted a radical practice of her religion, incompatible with essential values of the French community, particularly the principle of equality of the sexes”. Furthermore, the paper reported that the woman’s interviews with social services revealed that “she lives almost as a recluse, isolated from French society”; “has no idea about the secular state or the right to vote”; and “lives in total submission to her male relatives”.
The ruling follows on from the debate about the headscarve ban in state schools in 2004. and led Le Monde to ask the question: “Is the burqa incompatible with French citizenship?”.
It is a good question that could equally be asked here. Why be a citizen of a country that you have no interest or knowledge of, but in fact live in complete alienation to?