Ahmadiyya Times | News Staff | US Desk
Source & Credit:MLive | Viewpoint | March 31, 2010
By Waseem Sayed | AMC-USA
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA strongly condemns recommendations of a French Parliamentary report, which called for a partial ban of the Islamic veil. In a damaging display of secular extremism, the French parliament recommends denying Muslim women the choice of covering their faces in public areas. If any woman covers herself with the Islamic veil, she would be denied any public service she sought. So a woman in need of treatment would be denied health services if she covered her face. She will also be denied education on the same grounds. Such an extreme secular stance damages societal peace.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA supports President Obama’s views on establishing a peaceful society of Muslims and non-Muslims. President Obama said: “it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit — for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.”
The French government is making dangerous strides towards denying Muslim women their fundamental civil rights. In 2004, the French government forbade Muslim girls from wearing their head scarves in public schools. And now the parliamentary recommendation goes further by proposing to deny education to a woman who chooses to cover herself. This is of grave concern, especially considering President Obama’s statement: “I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.”
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA calls upon the US government to use its good offices to urge the French government to abide by Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights — which states: “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion... and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
“France is walking a very fine line of obstructing the fundamental civil rights of its citizens” states Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah, vice president of AMC USA. “We are all entitled to the right to practice our faith, and it is our hope that our government will remind France of their responsibility to protect that right of its citizens.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA believes that a person’s choice of dress is a personal matter. Islam teaches modesty for both men and women, but underlying all Islamic injunctions is the Qur’anic principle that “There is no compulsion in religion.” Thus if a woman, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, chooses not to cover her head then that is her right but on the other hand if a woman, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, chooses to cover her head or face then that too is her right and ought never to be interfered with.
“No man has the right to force a woman to cover herself” said Nusrat Qadir, a Registered Nurse and member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. “We choose to cover ourselves because it is our right to choose. No woman should ever be forced to adopt to reject the veil. All women must have the fundamental right to choose.”
It is hoped that the French Parliament rejects the recommendations of the Report and allows Muslim women to live in peace throughout the country. It is also hoped that other countries do not follow a similar path of discrimination, prejudice and intolerance. For freedom to reign, freedom must be preserved.
About the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community:
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a dynamic, reformist and fast growing international movement within Islam. Founded in 1889, the Community spans over 190 countries with membership exceeding tens of millions. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, established in 1921, is the first American-Muslim organization.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic organization to believe that the long-awaited messiah has come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) of Qadian. Ahmad claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. The Community believes that God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace. Ahmad’s advent has brought about an unprecedented era of Islamic revival and moderation. He divested Islam of fanatical beliefs and practices by vigorously championing Islam’s true and essential teachings.
Waseem Sayed is a spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United States.
Read original article here: Viewpoints: Muslims speak out against secular extremism