Living in San Francisco, one becomes accustomed to certain individual rights.
But in France, one of the birthplaces of fashion as expression, Muslim women can no longer exercise their right to wear a niqab, or a full veil. Wearing the veil, which was outlawed last year by the French parliament and deemed a hindrance to public safety, now carries with it a hefty fine.
This isn’t simply an attack on a piece of clothing; it’s also an attack on a selected group of people’s rights and individual freedoms.
France is a first-world country and one of America’s longtime allies, and it is using fear mongering to persecute a minority. That minority, according to France’s Interior Ministry, is made up of 2,000 women who wear the niqab by choice as a symbol of their devotion to God.
This law fuels bigotry and perpetuates hatred and misunderstanding.
It unfairly targets a personal choice made by these women. As French citizens, as many of them are, they should be entitled to equal protection by the law, not need protection from the law.
While France should repeal its law and our public officials should denounce the law, it is equally important for us to be thankful that we live in a country that still protects the rights of the few. Unlike France, which is failing to stand up to its national slogan of “liberty, equality and fraternity,” Americans need to remember the true meaning of “liberty and justice for all”.
San Franciscans, with our left-leaning, protesting backgrounds, are uniquely positioned to ensure that at least this corner of the country stays free and equal.
SF State prides itself on diversity and needs to use France’s behavior as an example of exactly what not to do.
Let us make sure that individual rights do not fall victim to outlandish demands made by scared politicians.