Arguments developed by TERRE DES FEMMES – Human Rights for Women e.V. for disputing Full-Face Veils

Why this paper?

At the co-women meeting in 2016, the majority in the association TERRE DES FEMMES voted for agreeing to a law against Full Muslim Face Veils in the public realm.

During the ongoing discussions revolving around veiling, one thing seems to stand out: democrats following a humanistic ideology, as well as feminists quite often voice their opposition to a ban on Full-Face Veils. Behind this is the justifiable effort to distance themselves from right-wing and xenophobic tendencies. However, being able to criticize any religion is generally a characteristic of an enlightened, pluralistic and open society, and has nothing to do with xenophobia or hostility towards strangers. What’s more, it is anything but right-wing to position oneself squarely against fundamentalist tendencies in any religion. They themselves often have a lot in common with right-wing movements. On this topic, TERRE DES FEMMES is positioned in the traditions of those feminists who, since the beginning of the last century, have been fighting against religious-patriarchic fundamentalism with its pre-defined gender roles and pre-enlightenment opinions.

This is why we are criticizing that, in some circles, challenging certain practices, such as circumcision, child marriage, Full-Face Veil and veiling children is seen as racist, islamophobic or (neo)colonialist. In particular, criticizing Islam including its fundamentalist tendencies is generally equated to racism and right-wing populism. The allegations have become so vehement, even denunciatory that they poison any debate, thus silencing all non-religious or religious-secular and liberal forces. Hushing up critical, enlightened voices helps first and foremost the Religious Right.

We want to counteract this development with our arguments against Full-Face Veils, thus supporting all who fight against patriarchal structures and fundamentalism.

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