Should women who visit Muslim-majority countries wear headscarves? | The Tylt

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Should women who visit Muslim-majority countries wear headscarves?
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Le Pen, who is on a three-day visit to Lebanon to meet with senior officials, was supposed to meet the country’s grand mufti, Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian. 

Shortly after Le Pen arrived at his office, one of his aides handed her a white headscarf to put on. She refused, and the meeting was cancelled. The mufti's office put out a statement saying Le Pen was told in advance she would be required to put on a headscarf during the meeting. 

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Though her supporters applaud Le Pen for "standing up to Islam," her stance was not seen as admirable by those who think she and her politics are racist. 

As a leader of France's anti-immigration, anti-Eurozone National Front party, many called her actions a way to score points with Islamphobes, under the guise of standing up for women's rights. If you're a diplomat, you need to prioritize communicating with other cultures (particularly ones that have been marginalized by the West for centuries).

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Wearing the hijab is a highly charged issue in France, where it's been banned in schools. In 2011, the niqab (a full-face Muslim veil) was banned from all public places. Though many see the laws as targeting Muslims, others (such as the late Christopher Hitchens) say they are essential in a secular society:

The French legislators who seek to repudiate the wearing of the veil or the burqa. To the contrary, they are attempting to lift a ban: a ban on the right of women to choose their own dress, a ban on the right of women to disagree with male and clerical authority, and a ban on the right of all citizens to look one another in the face.
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But many Muslim women are tired of being told what to wear by Westerners who assume they are oppressed and can't make their own choices. For some, it's religious observance. For others, they are a way representing a visible Muslim presence in society. Certainly there's some irony in Muslim women being the target of laws that tell them what not to wear as a gesture towards their liberation.

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Others, while defending women's right to wear the hijab, find it unfair that Western women are required to abide by other cultures' mores. They say respect for cultures should go both ways.

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And many point out people's ignorance around the symbolism of the hijab. Muslim women are not a monolith. They are also frequently targeted for harassment in the "free" West for covering up. 

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