Hizbullah slams Chirac over comments on Islamic veil for women
Hizbullah has denounced as an "offense to Islam" French President Jacques Chirac's characterization of the Islamic veil for women as an "aggressive" social display, insisting that the hijab is one of the "great pillars" of the faith.
In remarks published Monday in An Nahar, Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy secretary-general of the Party, questioned how France preaches "democracy and freedom of expression," when its president denies Muslim girls the right to wear the veil in schools.
The veil, he said, is not designed to intimidate others, but "a responsibility of an individual toward the commitment to God's teachings."
"The democracy preached by the West is the product of their own culture. Their perceptions of freedom are their own, and the rights of individuals they promote are their own human rights, not those of the faithful," he said. "This is a grave and important issue, which the Arab world must confront and make these leaders feel that they are erring toward Islam…"
Chirac described the hijab as "something aggressive." He stressed that his country "could not tolerate ostentatious signs of religious proselytism." Chirac further fueled the already piercing debate in France, hinting strongly at enacting a law banning Muslim girls from wearing hijab in state schools.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)