Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
During a performance of La Traviata at The Opéra Bastille, an audience member was asked to leave because she was wearing a niqab. The cast noticed her during the first act, and said they would not continue on with the second act until she left. The deputy director confronted the woman with the issue and she left without incident. This all happened because France has a ban on wearing niqabs in public. Anyone found wearing one can be fined up to €150 (roughly $200).
I didn’t know what a niqab was exactly, so here is a nutshell according to wikipedia:
“A niqab (Arabic: نِقاب niqāb , “veil” or “mask”; also called a ruband ) is a cloth which covers the face as a part of sartorial hijab. It is worn by some Muslim women in public areas and in front of non-mahram adult males. The niqab is worn in the Arab countries of the Arabian Peninsula such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the UAE. The niqab is also worn in countries such as Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh as well as some parts of Palestinian-ruled territories, southern provinces of Iran, and additional areas with sizeable Muslim populations. Because of the wide variety of hijab worn in the Muslim world, it can be difficult to definitively distinguish between one type of veil and another. The terms niqab and burqa are often incorrectly used interchangeably; a niqab covers the face while a burqa covers the whole body from the top of the head to the ground. The Quran instructs Muslim men and women to dress modestly and to guard their private parts.”
Read more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niqāb
And I knew nothing about France’s ban, so here’s little more explanation:
“France adheres to a strict form of secularism, known as laïcité, which is designed to keep religion out of public life.”
“…it is part of an unapologetic effort to keep religious expression private, and to uphold the country’s republican secular identity.”
Read more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/07/economist-explains-2
Considering the law, I do not know what the right answer is to this situation. How do you guys feel about it? Do you think the cast and the deputy director had the right to take the law into their own hands or was this a form of prejudice? If you were the head of this organization, how would you have handled the situation?