To the teacher
As the BBC reports:
“Countries across Europe have wrestled with the issue of the Muslim veil - in various forms such as the body-covering burka and the niqab, which covers the face apart from the eyes. The debate takes in religious freedom, female equality, secular traditions, and even fears of terrorism.
The veil issue is part of a wider debate about multiculturalism in Europe, as many politicians argue that there needs to be a greater effort to assimilate ethnic and religious minorities."
In the U.S., we have our own debates about Muslim “assimilation,” which encompasses similar ideas around religious freedom, female equality, secular traditions and fears of terrorism.
In this lesson, students learn about efforts by European nations to ban Muslim face coverings, discuss the impact of these laws, then hear and reflect on the voices of Muslim women speaking about this issue.
Invite students to look at the cartoon below.
Have students reflect on and discuss the cartoon, using some or all of the following questions:
- What do you see in this cartoon? Ask students first to only describe what they see. (No interpretation just yet.)
- How are these women dressed differently?
- How are the two women’s thoughts different? How are they the same? What might be the reason for this?
- What point is the cartoon trying to make?
- What are your thoughts and feelings about this? What stories in the news is the cartoon connected to, in the US, in Europe, elsewhere in the world?