In the article a dramatic rise in international visitors to Liberties, Selfridge and Harrods are attributed to what Jace Tyrell, the director of the new West end company, the “absolutely critical” spending of visitors from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.. Middle east shoppers spend on average £1,800 per shopping trip compared to £120 by UK Shoppers.
But that aside , the issue of France’s ban on the veil is an interesting opportunity to look at the issue of Government Control and intrusion, and why the limited role of government is essential to our Freedom.
France’s Secular Democracy
The French Revolution and the declaration of the rights in 1789 introduced into Europe the idea of man made rule. “The law is the expression of the will of the nation”, i.e not of God. Throughout Europe and especially the UK the unwritten constitution was that the King, or Queen, and Eventually parliament where bounded by Gods law, and hence the Queen who had ultimate say over what law was passed was sworn to do everything in her power to uphold gods law. Frances constitution was a distinct departure and a precursor to todays civil law system in Britain (as opposed to its common law inheritance)
This is the backdrop to France’s strange reasoning when it comes to the ban on the Veil.
What is Freedom
What does it mean to be free? Freedom to choose, not just which toothpaste you buy, but how you are governed, freedom to choose how you dress, freedom in religion, etc.
France’s ban on the niqab is Frances States monopoly on violence used to control how a sovereign on that land should dress. Can a French citizen opt out, live on their land and be free to dress as they choose. Leaving the issue of lewdness and the minimal criteria for modesty in public aside, this is a serious curtailment on freedom by the state.
The argument is that France is a secular country and any public display of religious symbolism must be prevented in order to protect Secular France. Because without a secular france,there would be no protection for the citizens to have the freedom to worship their religion. Secularism being the neutral umbrella protecting each religion , so that it can coexist.
The other argument is that if France does not uses its state monopoly on violence to ensure that the veil is not worn, many french women will be coerced through cultural pressure and marriage to wear the veil.
Both arguments are bankrupt . The first that you somehow protect the right to practice a religion by banning compulsory aspects of religion, and the second that you protect your citizens from coercion by using state force to coerce
If you are in a marriage and your husband insists you wear the veil but you don’t want to , then you have a choice of divorce, however hard it is, it is still a choice
If you are part of a community that pressurize you to wear a veil , then you have the choice to leave that community however hard it is.
But if the state uses its monopoly on violence to threaten you with a fine and ultimately imprisonment then what choice do you have. Leave your country and relinquish your inalienable rights of freedom?
Hijab and the Non authoritarian Islamic State
But what about the muslim countries, Iran they force you to wear hijab, and the same in Saudi.
Yes this state controlled interference in what you wear extends to the muslim world. But this is NOT how it was in Medina. When the Prophet Mohammed made Hijra to Medina and wrote the Medina Constitution, there was no state violence and control of how you dressed.
Medina was a city state, with Jews, Pagans and Muslims as its citizens. its UMMAH.
Were the jewish women forced to wear the Hijab under state coercion? NO
Each group lived under its own rules and regulations, and it was only when it came to the protection of the medina citizens against themselves and from outside that the state used its remit to lay down the law.
There is ample evidence that hijab was not forced on it citizens. There is no proscribed punishment for not wearing a hijab. the closest is lewdness and this is generally taken as fornication or adulty.
The texts and the Ulema are clear that for a beliving muslim women , the Hijab is compulosry. But there is a clear distinction in Islam between a Muslim and a Mumin. A muslim is someone who follows the five pillars and doesn’t commit shirk. A Mumin is someone who follows he Divine Law out of love of Allah and fear of punishment in the hearafter.
In addition slaves where not expected to wear the hijab, and the hadiths concerning Safiyya, the Jewish princess who married the prophet, show that it was not her custom to wear Hijab, until she became a mother of the belivers.
So a non authoritarian invasive government was created in Medina by the Prophet Mohammed. Religious decrees where not enforced by state violence, unless it effected the life and liberty of others.
And yet today we face both in the muslim world and the west an ever increasing encroachment on our freedom.
p.s this is the stats for the post before i added this sentence “This is your 13th post. Slick! This post has 911 words.” dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn, lol