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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Focus on veil distracts from real Muslim issue

In terms of creating a safer, more unified society, banning veils will do more harm than good. The most important lesson I learned from my trip is that we're not that different. What separates the Muslim and Western worlds is our cultural and religious beliefs. If we, as Americans, decide to impose our values on Muslim immigrants in the name of assimilation or safety, it will only deepen the divide.

Banning the veil would be a direct and offensive attack on Islam. While Americans may see the veil as simply a headscarf or modest covering, it holds much greater significance for Muslims. The veil is a highly contentious issue in the Muslim world, and should be debated by those directly affected. Whether women wear veils has no bearing on public safety in the United States. Banning them will do nothing to alleviate problems with Muslims living here.

The tensions between Muslims and Westerners need to be addressed, but the veil is not the issue. We are in the middle of a war with no end in sight, and the threat of terrorism is something we are reminded about by the media and our government on a daily basis. Future generations of Americans will face a host of growing problems unless attempts are made to understand Muslim beliefs.

We need to take the first step toward acceptance. Although there are many facets of Islam that may be deemed intolerant, we will not solve any problems by reacting with greater intolerance. By promoting a message of acceptance, we may finally regain the world's respect.[Link]

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