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Laws force the women among them to go naked according to their perception, or else they won't be allowed even to learn.

The law in France forbids religious dress in public schools (this is also the case in Turkey and in Indonesia). Dress codes in school are different in various countries; many impose uniforms; the right to impose a dress code is not generally disputed. Completely covering one's hair is apparently sanctioned by the Koran (just as wearing a veil is prescribed for Christian women by the Bible) but is applied in various interpretations, or not at all, by Muslim women in various parts of the world, in accordance with the laws and customs of the countries they live in.

Should children of Muslim families be allowed to choose whether or not to respect French law or custom on this point? Is the notion of choice actually operative here? Is it indeed a matter of personal freedom? In individual cases, that's possible. But sociologically, it's clear that the desire of Muslim families to send their daughters to school with distinctive dress is a question of marking them out as inaccessible, in order to favour endogamy within a community of Muslims (cf the work of demographer Emmanuel Todd on this subject).

I don't think that a cultural tendency towards endogamy actually favours personal freedom.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 12:04:34 PM EST
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