Asian Muslims warn of backlash to French veil ban

Islamic authorities in Asia fear French decision to ban full-face veils could spark terrorist backlash.

Middle East Online
2010-09-15

JAKARTA – Islamic authorities in Asia warned Wednesday that French lawmakers’ decision to ban full-face veils could spark a terrorist backlash, arguing the decision only widened rifts with the Muslim world.

The top Islamic body in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, said Tuesday’s vote had violated French ideals on human rights, while Malaysia’s opposition said the decision could stoke extremism.

“Middle Eastern Muslim women wear full-face veils as part of their culture and religious belief,” Amidhan, the chairman of the Indonesia Ulema Council, told AFP. The country is home to roughly 200 million Muslims.

“If the French parliament wants to champion human rights, it should allow women to wear the veils in public. If it’s for security reasons, the question is to what extent is there a threat posed by women wearing burqas?”

The opposition Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) said the vote had angered Muslims and could trigger terrorist attacks, and urged France to engage with rather than alienate Muslims.

It will undermine “the efforts of many organisations to narrow the gap between the Western and Islamic world”, PAS deputy president Nasaruddin Mat Isa told a news conference in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

“We hope it will not spark further terror activities. The French move has sparked anger around the Islamic world.”

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H/T Weasel Zippers

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