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Ban on veils may spread to hospitals

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    Ban on veils may spread to hospitals

    Ban on veils may spread to hospitals,00.html

    Jon Henley in Paris
    Friday February 6, 2004
    The Guardian

    As France's national assembly neared the end of a four-day debate on a
    ban on religious emblems in state schools, the prime minister,
    Jean-Pierre Raffarin, said "similar legislation" was planned to stop
    hospital patients refusing to be treated by male doctors.

    MPs will vote on Tuesday on the so-called headscarf ban, aimed at
    protecting the strictly secular French republic - and in particular the
    school system - from a perceived rise in Muslim activism. The bill is
    expected to win a large majority.

    Health administrators have reported cases of Muslim husbands who would
    rather their wives were denied treatment than be examined by a man.
    Women in labour have refused epidurals because the anaesthetist was

    The government is also considering a "secularism charter" for other
    public institutions. These include town halls, where Muslim women must
    remove their veils for official ceremonies, and public swimming pools,
    where Muslim women have demanded segregated bathing.


    It seems the rise of Islamic activism in the west played a part in the hijab being banned. Clearly for the Muslims in the western world the challenge is two fold. The first is to adhere to the Islamic values and Islamic rules, regardless of the problems and obstructions that western legislation and public opinion place in their paths. By doing this collectively and openly, Muslims would send a powerful message to the western world, showing that they are not weak or ready to capitulate in the face of threat and pressure.

    Secondly, Muslims need to openly and intellectually debate the western way of life with the western publics. Islamophobia is only growing because of one sided reporting and coverage of events. However, there is widespread dismay amongst the western publics with the western way of life, and especially with the actions of their governments. For example, there is huge anger with the ongoing oppression in Iraq, and this is shown by the way in which the public have greeted the Hutton report with scepticism and contempt. Muslims must relate such realities with the secular way of life, thereby undermining the credibility of those who raise ideological objections against the Islamic rules and values.

    For decades Muslims in the western world have surpassed themselves in doing the voluntary and noble actions, such as giving Qurbani on the occasion of Eid al-Adha or providing aid and support when appeals and collections are made. This they did out of piety and seeking the pleasure of Allah (SWT). They could not have acted for any other motive, because Allah (SWT) tells us in the Quran,

    It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him (Surah Al-Hajj 22:37)

    Now that the troubles are closer to home, surely the same noble qualities of sacrifice, piety and seeking the pleasure of Allah (SWT) will strengthen the Muslims in the western world, and enable them to adhere to their Islamic values and culture, though the western world tries its hardest to make Muslims abandon them.

    The disbelievers want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will not allow that except that His light should prevail, even though the disbelievers hate it [Al Tawba; 9:32]

    We pray that Allah (SWT) gives us strength, courage and guidance to carry and adhere to this noble deen, through times of ease and of hardship.