So I’m a little conflicted. France’s far-right presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, caused controversy in Lebanon for refusing to wear a headscarf when scheduled to meet Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim Cleric.
On one hand, I want to say that she stuck to her personal beliefs, and refused to contradict her morals and own religion.
On the other hand, she’s meeting a Muslim leader in a country where 54% of the population are Muslims. Should a woman be expected to follow the country’s and the Muslim leader’s conventions and wear the headscarf as a sign of respect?
Some women see the headscarf as a sign of female oppression, others see it as a symbol of diversity and some even as a symbol of empowerment.
So what is right or wrong?
I come back to the Muslim kids out at Hurstville and the whole handshaking controversy. My view on that was pretty clear. They’re in Australia, in an Australian school and I would like to think they’d respect our culture, and our way of life whilst still having the freedoms to practice their own religion. I’m not going to want them all to have to eat pork or bacon and egg rolls, but if someone holds out their hand (man or woman) you shake it as a sign or respect.
So, with that in mind, I have to ask myself, if I was a woman in a Muslim country, meeting a Muslim leader, would I wear a headscarf for that meeting as a sign of respect?
I’m an atheist. In saying that I’ve read almost every mainstream holy book there is (including radicalised versions of each). I’ve also gone to mosques, churches, synagogues and temples. At each one I followed their customs, and respected their cultures, their religion and their beliefs.
At what point do you put your personal beliefs aside in the name of respect and understanding? Especially world leaders meeting to discuss how to get along better.
But you know what, all this being said, should the Sunni Muslim Cleric and his people simply have understood that Le Pen was not a Muslim and made an exception as their own sign or understanding and respect?
Like I said, I’m conflicted and I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer.
What do you think?