tv [untitled] RT July 23, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm EDT
even more record breaking temperatures with heat waves calls russia's worst drought in years and the emergencies ministry says three hundred people this week alone mostly just try to cool. also to want to have a lot of covers the legal sex trade and ukrainian port city. next on this channel of debate show host people of our guest tonight whether plans in some western countries to ban face covering islamic veils is an issue of women's rights or intolerance cross-talk on air just half a minute away. hungry for the full story we've gone to. the biggest issues get a human voice face to face with the news makers. every month we give you the future we help you understand how we'll get there and what
tomorrow brings you the best in science and technology from across russia and around the world joining acknowledging update on our g. q. and. a lonely and welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle to ban or not to ban discussion continues with a muslim woman should be barred from appearing in public with their faces veiled is this debate about religion or a test of tolerance. if you. discuss the ban on islamic face covering garments i'm joined by merriam friends was soraya in london she's a franco british writer and oxford university islamic society media executive see him in paris and she's the president of the organization translated into english as
neither horse nor submissives and in new york we crossed the mona el to howie an award winning columnist and writer and another member of our crosstalk team on the hunger all right cross talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want to marry him if i go to you first in london what is this issue can you give it to me is as a hierarchy or what's most important is this a religious issue is this a woman's issue is this a tolerance issue is this is why i'm challenging the west in its own backyard because and looking at this is in a very complicated story because there are so many different points of view and we have parliaments now in western europe taking action to ban it which by the way very few women in western europe actually wear this type of garment go ahead. in fact as far as i'm concerned it's a symbolic issue but interestingly it's not symbolic for the women that wear it despite much of what we hear it's actually symbolic for europe move broadly we're
looking at an aging european society which is increasingly diverse and diverse in its values and outlooks in that asian context we are also faced with a deep economic crisis and we find that a lot of the debates that are arising across europe issues of over issues of national identity so in france is this has been a big issue increasingly in the u.k. also this has become an issue what the budget does it manages to bring together three of the main issues that of forefront of the european political map these are the three main concerns in europe at the moment they are terrorism immigration and islam and this bunker if you like manages to symbolize all of these in one go and therefore in many ways is being instrumental lies by politicians who don't necessarily have very efficient solutions to the real economic problems that we're facing to the real political issues that we're facing and they manage to detract attention from these very real issues through a cheap populism disguised as
a concern for concern for security and women's rights but it really is nothing more than cheap populism because in many ways it really is an affront to the very values that are at the core of european identity things like freedom of conscience freedom of religion that are so very essential if you see an identity and we have fought so hard to achieve and maintain here ok mona from go do you do green was a cheap populism. i think this is much more a result of silence what we've seen in in europe happening over the past few decades is basically the liberal camp being totally silent about those issues that are important what does it mean to be european today what does it mean to be muslim and european today and in this silence they have forgotten something else that we all of us who live in the west and that we enjoy after decades of fighting for as well and that is women's choice and women's freedom and in remaining silent what they've
done is they've allowed the political right wing which is then a phobic and racist to basically seize the ground and dictate the debate but in this silence the liberal campus also armed the right wing on the muslim side what i call the muslim right wing so if the political right wing is engaging in this cheap populism as miriam is saying the muslim right wing is equally in gauged into populism in that it's using the new card and women face veil as a wave of pushing back and women obviously are the ones who suffer in the middle now i as a muslim and as a feminist will not sacrifice women or hard fought for women's rights just because the liberals remain silence i also identifies a liberal and i will not allow women to disappear in the name of fighting the political right wing because this is an ideology the ideology behind the niqab is a massage and this is an ideology that equates in a very dangerous way the disappearance of women and piety and this is not the islam
that i practice but also in a very practical way this is another issue that we're silent it's not just about security it's about human interaction if i'm sitting across the table from you it's very important for me to see your face so you're right it's a very complex issue but i think it's essentially a silence an issue of silence and i'm very glad that we are now being pushed to find a debate issues that we've been too quiet about ok see i'm fine go to paris what about the element of choice here i mean one of the remarkable things i found. in researching this program is that the small number there is a small number of women in france that actually wear these kind of garments covering their face but i was it was remarkable to find that a lot of them are young people and converts to islam so i ask you what is the element of choice here because you know we're all lingering this is a complex issue i think also sitting across the table from someone i'd like to see their face but should i be recognizing the right of that woman as a as
a muslim woman not to show her face should i be recognizing that as a right. first of all very glad to hear the other friends from london and united states you know my organization fights since the beginning two thousand and three since our foundation against or the from them on terrorist groups that use the body of the women in our poor area in our ghetto so i'm very glad to hear the friends from the united states be very clear about the right wing in fundamentalists for them and that is groups that used to use my religion and i first i want to separate islam that is mostly practice by my father my mother and all people in europe quietly and they want to be. treated as citizen in europe and the fatigues groups that is for me a right the right wing another face of the new right wing in europe that to have
the same aim and goal than the white right wing to maintain the women at home and to separate the population so when if you ask a question of choice what is the choice when you grow up in the ghetto when you grow up in the vision of your body as to be you know. in a prison you know when we grow up in this kind of condition with the idea that you have to be ashamed of your body what is freedom i mean there is no freedom it's very it's very well it's very interesting it's very interesting in this discussion of had so far which i think is actually quite fascinating is that you know there's so many people that say that women disappear because of the veil but it really it's it doesn't have anything to do with women it all this this is a whole issue about. the west's own self perception of its own values and its definitions of tolerance again i think it's amazing that you know people are saying
you know don't use the veil but this whole argument just makes women disappear anyway it would you like to comment on that miriam. i would i would love no money from it because i'm going to. go ahead and just mean that i am the first one to think it's. ok if i can just make my point i was going to say what's very interesting i think in what we've just heard is that there are two separate points here there is a discussion internally within the muslim community about the fact that there are people who would hate to if you like what's been described on this program as a sellafield wahhabi saudi inspired outlook within islam and this is a trend and within the muslim community it is true that many people the mainstream view this is quite a threatening trend a trend quite an intolerant trend and i do think it's vital that within the muslim community itself we have this discussion we have this dialogue about whether this particular perspective is the most authentic whether it is the most representative of the tradition and of islam in general but separate to that and it's very
important that all voices within that internal dialogue are not instrumental lies by the xenophobia tendencies and a phobic rightwing tendencies on the mainstream political mob to advance if you like their own political ends and to in effect use those arguments a good tale women's freedoms you cannot simple taney asli use an argument claiming to defend women's rights at the same time in order to ban a government which many women are choosing to wear of their free will now it's very important to remember that the definition that women make all these garments is very varied but the french commission that was set up to investigate this issue failed to even ask one single woman who was wearing the face veil her understanding of it what it meant to her i think it's important to speak to the women who do wear these face veils and to find out what it means to them and in my own research talking to women ings like from my sister's lips which is written by i am a robot who is somebody who wears a face fell she's also the editor of
a magazine it's clear that for many women they do seem to find this empowering now for me. this is separate to me as a must and this is me on the mainstream political map i will never support any measure which allows people to start detailing women's freedoms and to start dictating to women what they can and can't wear a veil if it is in the name of the very values that it seems to contradict so i think it's very important that we do not allow this discussion which is internal to the community which is essential to then be instrumental lies to victimize women let's remember there is nothing empowering about saying to a woman that she will be turned away from a hospital turned away from public transport denied entry to government buildings we had a u m p. p saying in france recently that these women should have should be denied their rights there is nothing empowering about this discourse about it and i mean that i just want to turn it over to the parents here and i'm sorry and i'm sorry i want to make a comment. yes no i can not say let's use
a commission. ask girls who will listen to women who wear the blue ok i'm not talking from you know the bush was he i'm talking from the liberal class i'm asking the european democracy to stop the from them on the newsgroups to use a body of the girl as you know you know why why why they let this groups use our body because we are immigrant because we are poor that is so. are the issues so i fight for the bad i am supported from by women from european and arabic country who are today. denouncing the it's in syria is a ban and in is already in the university the niqab i don't understand why in europe you can have a statement who say the right of
a month see patient for all of the girls who are growing in europe and the right to say we're not listening to me my they have to for example right all right we're going to get you scare you don't really care that's my concern is the first we're going to have to go to a break and we'll continue our discussion on the burka bed when we get back stay with. the. wealthy british style it's time to. go. to. market why not. find out what's really happening to the global economy in this regard on our.
welcome back across time to remind you we're discussing whether wearing the burka in public should be banned. but before let's see what russians think about wearing an islamic veil and the lower house of the french parliament has voted in favor of banning the book in public and other european countries i expected to follow that example in throngs that woman wearing a face covering muslim veil in public will have to pay
a one hundred fifty euro fine and listen paul last russians if wearing a veil insults representatives of other religions twenty four percent believe the veil does not offend twenty percent believe the veil does offend other religions and more than a half fifty six percent of respondents all get against public display of religious symbols at all back to peter ok i'd like to go back to our guest in paris so when you want to you want to finish your point about. the day that the reasons why the some of these garments are being banned even in the in the greater middle east in the muslim world itself in some areas like in universities. yes because we have to face just to to this problem you cannot just say ok it's freedom of the women to wear the niqab the book or on the full veil it's so strange to say no to the board in afghanistan and here in europe we just say we have to understand sorry listen to
the fight of the arabic women in syria today or in egypt and other in other countries south saying a word now we we need to be as a citizen in all of this country because we are women we need to be free and all this women are fighting and i'm fighting with them i cannot have i cannot accept this double discourse and for the people the girls who are converted in france they are used as a tool of you know. in the streets to take more and more women and the full veil we have to face that and i am working on the grassroots and. sorry to say that working alone again because all the women are all the people here are afraid to talk about the. they are afraid to denounce what's happening in the grassroots so my question is what is the future of my people we want we are in european
muslim and i am algerian too and proud to be. want to be a part not to be excluded yes ma'am you want to jump in there before the break yeah i just want to come back on two things i think it's very important to be very clear here we're not opposed to the burka in afghanistan we're opposed to coersion in any country so we opposed to overzealous clerics in iran or afghanistan or elsewhere imposing on women what they order or not to be wearing but we are equally opposed to patronize ing president or patronize an m.p. is imposing on women what they ought or ought or not to be wearing so the principle and this is where. i have to be intellectually coherent the principle that we must support for all women is to provide and i agree with this that the grassroots education support networks ensure that women are making decisions for themselves by themselves and ensure they are not being coerced but once they have made those decisions for themselves we have to support the right to self-determination and
self-determination means supporting women in the choices that they may even if we disagree with them and the other point i want to make is that we're certainly not going to be looking to they take the ships in the middle east to syria or elsewhere as examples of what we ought to or not to be doing these are countries in which there is no freedom of conscience no freedom of speech there is there are freedoms they certainly not looking to there for our inspiration if anything we need to give them a lesson and be an example of what tolerance really means it means sticking to our principles even if it means accepting something that we also find strange or don't think he understands you know why i can't do it and i always feel really worried when governments are telling people how to behave i think society should tell us inform us how to behave why isn't the muslim communities around the world in the case we're talking about today in europe why can't they decide among themselves how to deal with this issue and making this work even with their religion and with
civil authorities can they come to some kind of agreement because i said you know you know watching these politicians pander for reelection purposes and all of this i find it really quite disgusting at times to be honest with you you know all through europe but why can't the communities deal with it themselves. well the simple the simple answer peter is that who speaks for the community the muslim community is not a monolithic blob the muslim community is very diverse and so far what you've seen happening in europe and this is what i basically a result of the failure of integration of immigrants and their children in europe is that you see the most conservative and the most missile journalistic leaders in the community basically being asked to speak for the entire community they usually men they're usually very old and they usually don't care about women's rights so who in the community is going to speak out and say this is what we're going to
decide what we have to recognize first of all number one you know what miriam was saying sounds great on paper this is wonderful this is a wonderful intellectual exercise but go down to the grassroots and see what see hand works with go down and listen to the women i've heard women explain why they were niqab they were in a car because they are taught by an ideology that tells them that they are a precious stone a diamond a piece of candy that must be hidden to prove their worth i'm not going to stand up to an ideology that compares me to a piece of candy they also taught that they will burn in hell fire forever if any part of their body is shown where is the empowerment in this than the carbon of utterly degrading and dehumanizing we have to get off our intellectual discussion and get down on the ground and see what is happening to these women now miriam also mentioned not wanting to be used by the political right wing i absolutely agree with her but historically women have always been asked to be silent so that they are not being used against a group in which they belong in algeria for example and see how you can tell you
this is a different context but it will give an example women were asked to take part in the liberation against french occupation once it was finished they were like oh man yes women are always asked to help or shut up in order to so that the community can thrive in the community does not care about them because the community is represented by men who do not care about women's rights as a feminist i don't care. about the egyptian government the syrian government also sarkozy and certainly not about racists like get veiled as i don't care about any of those men i care about women who suffer under an ideology that dehumanised ism and i care about liberals who are so busy intellectually argue about this that they fail to see the face of the suffering of their sisters and no one is speaking out for them that's what i care about mary if you want to think we can agree go ahead i'm already agreed that it thank you i think we can all agree that we all care about women we all. objective for all of us here is to ensure that women are effectively benefiting from all the rights that they should do the question then is
are you sacrificing the majority at the altar of the minority because a minority are being coerced and this is a reality we have to acknowledge it but i would say that the reality is that what we need on the ground states the nominee that is going to lower sentiment i don't believe that and i phone little green know the reality the reality on the ground from the way and i work in the grassroots is that a majority of women that i see two are not current into doing it and you spoke about integration i don't think you want to bring the integration issue into this is tool we're talking about in the u.k. and in france for the most part second sometimes fourth generation so these are european citizens for the most part who've been educated in this country many of them do not know the culture of their grandparents or parents particularly well and they have made a decision now a decision that you judge ill informed or presumably you also judge as ill informed the decision of some of the women in this is psyche but you wouldn't dare or
consider for a second seeking to impose your perspective on them what you would say is it's very important to have education support networks at the grassroots which means that women who are being coerced in any shape way or form by when you need to do should i mean things that i would leave a monitor that they can imagine out of this coalition but you do not sacrifice the rest of those women who are making this. voice at the altar of the minority that's just sacrificing. you aren't designing for icing or the women by taking this discourse it's so dangerous you know what's happening in u.k. in germany in. one area in the muslim community you know what they are forcing women to do in the street you cannot say that they are choosing to wear this. is a. man i am fighting and that when i talk about we are. not talking about the
government you have to listen to me. i ask you to create this great network from. the united sates to syria to france to to save all of this were to change the vision of the of the misnamed women we can be emancipated we have the right and if you defend and. you defend the segregation of our population in europe of course not you are different because women like you where you know it will be fewer of you ned you never be if you were the new cab you never be at the head of england you never be president of france. or england that is the real fight today is a month of women emancipation of population and all of this two years just
to make us more a go forward and i fight against it is ok mary and i want to. go i'm going to do i don't know. if i want to say something about choice if you have if your home is convinced that the only barrier between a woman in that car and becoming the head of the stay in the u k. it is the face veil she needs a reality check the reality is that the head of state in the u.k. is generally and has been historically church of england so there are a great many reasons and they tend to be men and they tend to be white so let's be absolutely clear here that the coalition that you're talking about that happens and i'm not denying it and i completely oppose it and i support any initiatives that are there to support women from coercion i don't understand where you are all through. my i want you. i want to really turn to the last.
i wish we could argue about this forever i really two points that i would like to make about choice we hear again and again about face and i know we actually hear again and again about we cannot impose things on people well first of all governments do tell us how to dress we cannot walk outside our house naked there are laws in various states in various countries about wearing mosques in public and as liberal as we like to be we sometimes pass in liberal laws that are for the greater good and this is one of these circumstances i support a book about and while i detest the political right wing and the muslim right wing because i detest the ideology behind the book and the niqab because it's sexism but i also believe the human face the central and this is one of these points where i say the personal choice is sacrificed for the greater good because it is important for us to see each other's faces this is not me saying i'm going to have to. settle down and i jump in there outside my own. right we could talk about this for a long time many thanks to my guests today in london and to new york and thanks to our viewers for watching us here to argue the next time remember cross talk me.
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