Salton, veiled threat

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Herman Salton

For a variety of historical, cultural and political reasons, the Islamic veil has become an increasingly controversial matter in Europe. This is particularly the case in France, where Parliament passed, in 2004, a piece of legislation that prohibits students from wearing the Muslim veil (with any other ‘conspicuous’ religious sign) in the classroom. This book compares the Frenchand American attitudes towards religious symbolism in general and the Islamic veil in particular. Against conventional wisdom, it argues that before the passage of the new statute, the French and American legal systems adopted a substantially similar approach that respected religious insignia. This is hardly surprising, the book suggests, for the American conception of secularism is in manyrespects stricter than the French idea of 'laïcité'. The book also tries to demolish some popular myths surrounding the 'affaire des foulards': that the French legal system is fiercely secular; that the American one is strongly ‘religious’; and that France was, in 2004, confronted with a veritable ‘veil emergency’ that rendered the passage of the new statute all but inevitable.

Herman SaltonHerman Salton PhD, was educated at the Universities of Trento (Italy), Auckland (New Zealand) and Oxford (UK). Dr Salton was also briefly a visiting researcher at Sciences-Po, Paris and TUJ, Tokyo; an officer at the Icelandic Human Rights Centre, Reykjavik; and an associate with the Office of the Under-Secretary-General, United Nations HQ, New York.

Veiled Threats?
Islam, Headscarves andReligious Freedom in America and France

Veiled Threats?

978-3-639-09776-4

to Juni
With Love and Gratitude For the Best Three Years of My Life

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

“And say to the believing women…that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons,their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.” THE HOLY QUR’AN, Surah 24:31 New York: Tahrike Tarsile, 2002, 230.

“The chiefof the woman is the man. If the woman does not wear the headscarf, she should be punished. As for the man, he must not wear headscarves: he is the image and glory of God, while the woman is the image and glory of the man. The man has not been created for the woman; it is the woman who has been created for the man. This is why she must wear on her head the symbol of her dependence to him.” THEHOLY BIBLE, 1st Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishing, 1982, 604.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: France, America & the Muslim Veil PART I: AMERICA 1.1. The Place of Religion in American History 1.2. The Place of Religion in American Law 1.3. The Place of the Muslim Veil in American Law & Policy PART II: FRANCE2.1. The Place of Religion in French History 2.2. The Place of Religion in French Law 2.3. The Place of the Muslim Veil in French Law & Policy PART III: THE COMPARISON 3.1. Introducing the Comparison 3.2. The Muslim Veil in American & French Law Before 2004 3.3. The Muslim Veil in American & French Law After 2004 Conclusion Bibliography

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VEILED THREATS?

Acknowledgments

T

his book has been a journey of academic and personal discovery and there are several institutions and people that made it possible. It is my pleasure to pay tribute to them here.

First and foremost, the project could not have been undertaken without the financial support of The University of Auckland (UoA), whose...
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