today, in religion class, we had a discussion about muslim veils and whether or not they should be allowed to express their religion so obviously.
we had one of the most provocative and controversial discussions about religious freedom and nationalism. in the case, two young couples, one american and the other french, discuss the wearing of the muslim veils. the french are firmly sticking to their opinions, saying that the muslims in france should not be allowed to wear the veils because it takes away from the “real and main” culture of france and sets them apart from the french. in fact, in many other countries, the wearing of religious garb, such as a burka, is forbidden for the country wanting to preserve its culture. on the other hand, the american couple, living in a country where religious freedom and diversity is encouraged, thinks that Muslims should be allowed to express their religion freely.
we, as americans, have been exposed to religious freedom and diversity for as long as we can remember. our founding fathers founded america specifically stating in the constitution that americans have the right to free speech and created the “american identity” as having the freedom to express their own religions. considering we aim for a complete separation of church and state, politics and religion do not intermix, as it does for many other countries. in some countries, it is completely okay for one religion to express itself (for instance, wearing the Jewish yakama — don’t know if that’s the right word) but completely despicable for another (wearing a burka, for example). americans may judge others for not being secular enough, but it is important to remember that we have not experienced being in the shoes of a muslim woman or one of another country’s.
i just thought this discussion was interesting because there is no right answer. there will always be some people in a country that disagree with how their government runs and another group of people who completely advocate that another’s religion tarnishes the country’s culture. it shows how now, because there are so many people with different ideas and opinions that will end up disagreeing with another, world peace will never be possible.