Muslim women are being denied of their religious rights in many European countries in the guise of secularism. In this article, we will examine whether the Europeans practice what they preach with respect to secularism by inspecting their Laws, Constitutions, symbols of political parties and national flags. We will also explore the legal steps Muslim countries can take to reciprocate the legally enforceable discriminatory laws that infringe upon Muslim women’s right to religious freedom that is becoming the norm in Europe.
Secularism is a principle that is based on the philosophy of separation of religion and state. The action of separation of religion and state is required from the government and not from the members of the society. So the term Secular Society used in France is misplaced and perhaps the true meaning of Secularism is lost through translation from English to French.
Secularism originated from the USA and consists of two principles. The first principle is the Establishment clause and the second principle is the Free Exercise clause.
Government is prohibited from establishing or sponsoring a religion.
Many European governments who claim to be secular failed to fulfil this requirement and hence cannot be considered to be secular.
The flags of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have a sideways cross known as the Cross of Saint Philip the Apostle representing Christianity.
The flags of England, Sardenia, and Genoa have a sideways cross known as the Cross of Saint Georges representing Christianity.
In Denmark, Article 4 of the Constitution reads as follows: “The Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the established church of Denmark and as such shall be supported by the state.” The king shall be a member of that church as stated in Article 6 of the Constitution.
In Finland, Section 76 of the Constitution states: “Provisions on the organization and administration of the Evangelic Lutheran Church are laid down in the Church Act.”
In Iceland, Article 62 of the constitution states that the Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the State Church in Iceland and, as such, it shall be supported and protected by the State.
In Norway, the king must be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as stated in Article 4 of The Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway. Article 16 states: “The Church of Norway, an Evangelical-Lutheran church, will remain the Established Church of Norway and will as such be supported by the State.
In Switzerland, Article 72/3 The Construction of Minarets is prohibited. At the time of banning the architectural structure associated with one religion, there were only 4 masjids with minarets in Switzerland.
In the UK, the Church of England is the national church. 26 Bishops: Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester and 21 other bishops from the Church of England take seats in the House of Lords.
Article 7 of the Italian Constitution: “The State and the Catholic Church are each within its own sphere, independent and sovereign.” The Italian Constitution gives the Catholic Church powers similar to that of the Italian government.
Many European national political parties have “Christian” in their names. Christian Democratic Union in Germany, Partido Democrata Cristiano in Spain, Christian Democrats in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Christian Democratic Party in Norway and Holland, Christian Democratic and Flemish in Belgium, and Democrazia Cristiatiana in Italy with a cross in a crusader shield as shown in figure 3. Crusaders objective is to remove Muslims from the land between Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea (Palestine). These national political parties advance Christian ideology when they come to power.
According to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution which the European Secularism was derived, not only prohibits the government from establishing an official religion but also favoring one religion over another. Therefore, the secularism claims of the above-mentioned governments have no basis.
Free Exercise Clause
Congress [Parliament] shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof.
Article 1 of the French constitution states that France shall be an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic. It shall ensure the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race or religion
In 2004, France banned wearing of headscarf in public schools. In 2011, France banned the Niqab.
In 2023, France banned wearing Abbaya in public. Muslim women are being stripped off their Abayas in public by law enforcement officers.
In 2024, Hijab will be banned from the Muslim athletes participating in the Olympic Games. In 2024, France will ban Pupils from wearing Abaya’s.
This is happening in a country with liberty, equality and fraternity as a national slogan. Obviously the liberté and égalité does not apply to the Muslim women’s religious freedoms and right to equal treatment in front of the law.
Since most European nations ban the hijab, prohibiting Muslim women’s exercise of their religion, while the Sikh Turban and Jews Skullcap are not banned, the requirement of the Free Exercise clause is not met.
Therefore, European nations fail to meet both requirements of Secularism: The Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, and this is a proof that they do not practice what they preach.
When a State enact legislation that infringes the right of certain community within that State, absent any international organization that can enforce a reversal of these discriminatory legislation, the Countries of origin of those communities can reciprocate these legislations on the individuals from the offending State in their countries.
For instance, a violation of diplomatic immunity may lead to a seizure of property belonging to the nationals of the offending State. This illegal seizure is deemed lawful reaction to the actions of the State that violated its international duties. In other words, the seizure of the property sanctions for the violation of the diplomatic immunity.
For a long time, France was enacting legislations that violates Muslim women’s right to perform their religious duties. The way Muslim women are dressed is not a fashion statement or symbolism but it is prescribed in the Qur’an, therefore it is mandatory requirement in Islam which they have to adhere.
So when France enacts legislation that denies Muslim women their religious rights or freedoms, it becomes the duty of Muslim nations to take a retaliatory measure that are proportional to that unlawful act. Muslim countries shall enact laws that are similar to the following Anti-Arrogance Law.
Any female, aged 15 years and above, from countries that have legally enforceable restrictions on Muslim women’s religious dress shall be required to wear Niqab and full-length, loose Abaya on arrival and during their stay when in public. Any offence regarding this law shall be punishable by 15 days of detention followed by deportation to the country of origin.
Before we conclude it is worth noting a little reminder. Without the contribution of Muslim scholars such as Ibn Sina (Not Avicena as names should not be translated to sound Western Name), France would still keep its tradition of bringing the sick to Hôtel Dieu (God’s Hostel) and keep them there until they die without any medical intervention. Without the contribution of Muslims such as Al Idrisi, French would not know where France is located in the World map. It was the Muslims who brought civilization to Europe, running water and roads to Cordoba and Toledo, first of its kind in Europe. Have France forgotten the chemical formulae of Jabir Ibn Hayyan that they were not able to understand and called it Gibberish and that the origin of the word Orientation was bringing the Europeans to the level of the Orientals (Muslims from the Middle East.)
Finally, if brave, independent Muslim leaders take action and reciprocate this discriminatory French law, it will bring French legislators back to their senses and force them to reverse the unlawful act that imposes economic and social obstacles on Muslim women by limiting their freedom, equality, development and participation of political, economic and social activities in the country. European Union is not in a position to lecture anyone about Secularism.
BY: Sumayya Duale Warsame | Samiya Duale Warsame | Sakina Duale Warsame
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