Yesterday morning Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, voiced her opinion on France’s burqa ban. Introduced in April 2011 this ban on anyone wearing the niqab or burqa in public has been a controversial move; some view this ban as supporting women’s rights and others vehemently argue that it’s a violation of these same rights.
The differing opinions on this subject became all the more obvious to me yesterday morning whilst Shami spoke. Although she personally does not find the idea of a woman covering the entirety of her body to be favourable, Shami emphasised that by criminalising this dress the French Government is infringing on a woman’s right to choose what she wears and when she wears it. Shami went as far to say that to this action is an example of xenophobia masquerading as feminism.
At this point I tweeted the following from the @southbankcentre account, which has over 40,000 followers:
‘Shami Chakrabarti talks honestly about banning of the burqa in France and states that this is xenophobia masquerading as feminism #WOW2012’
In response to this tweet we were sent the following, providing the other side of the argument:
At first I didn’t know how to respond to these comments oh behalf of the Southbank Centre…then I had what I can only call an epiphany…this kind of discussion is what WOW is all about!
So I’m writing this blog because we want to hear more, more of your thoughts and opinions.
Tell us what you think…is the burqa ban a violation of human rights or a victory for equality?