Proposal to Ban the Veil in France

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Dr. Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet
Associate Professor of History
Director of the Middle East Center
University of Pennsylvania

•    Author of “Frontier Fictions: Shaping the Iranian Nation”
•    Author of the forthcoming "The Making of the Great Satan: A History of US-Iranian Relations" and “Conceiving Citizens: Women, Sexuality and Religion in Modern Iran”
•    Expert in Iranian history and politics, Iran-Iraq relations, U.S.-Iranian relations and gender politics in the Middle East
•    Fluent in Persian, French and English, Dr. Kashani-Sabet is a native of Tehran.

“The Islamic veil has challenged the philosophical underpinnings of French society and its historical and legal traditions.  Yet banning the full veil -- as President Sarkozy has proposed to do -- can ignite even more controversy for French citizens who have opted to embrace a conservative Islamic lifestyle.
“The actual number of Muslim French women who don a full veil is very small. Passing such legislation will likely give the impression that France is intent on controlling the strict practices of Islam within its borders.  Far from creating a level and liberal playing field for conservative French Muslim women, the ban may in fact further restrict their already limited liberties.”