Researching Europe: Unity, Diversity and Identity Essay

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The title of the topic that the speaker chose was, “The Islamic Headscarf Ban: Cultural Identity and Acceptance within France.

” This is a topic that is receiving much media attention since the act of terrorism that took place on 11 September, 2001 in the USA. In Europe it is a topic of contention and this I believe makes it a suitable topic for discussion as it is a European issue.The focus of the argument was mainly upon the issue of the headscarf within France, the speaker did compare the views of France in contrast to other European countries to ascertain if they were also having an issue with Islamic girls wearing the headscarf in their schools. The speaker opened her speech with her reasons of how and why she had chosen this particular topic. I believe that this was an interesting opening as it allowed the audience to reflect upon whether they held an interest in this as it is a subject that has been broached in other modules yet never discussed in depth due to limitations of time.From the outset the speaker engaged the audience by an open question to keep in their mind, “Is it the headscarf that is the problem or does it hide deeper issues rooted in society?The data that was presented depicted percentages of Muslims in France; Germany; UK; Italy; the Netherlands; Spain; Greece; Austria; Sweden; Denmark and Portugal.

It imparted that France had the highest number of Muslims in their country; however it would appear that the speaker was unaware of the French colonisation of many Muslim countries such as Algeria, which actually is an important contributing factor as to why there is such a high volume of Muslims living in France when compared to other European nations.The speaker sought information by accessing various websites, the BBC News, The Commission for Racial Equality and Women Living under Muslim Laws. My only criticism here is that these are all none Islamic sites and I believe to have obtained a totally balanced understanding of the issue surrounding the mystery of the headscarf that it would be necessary to seek out the opinion of an Islamic site in order to comprehend the Islamic argument for the necessity of wearing the headscarf.The speaker set out to prove that the issue of the banning of the headscarf had a deeper hidden agenda that this was not just an issue of the headscarf that it was more to do with the subject of identity. They wished to prove that France was promoting islamaphobia by targeting Muslims in this fashion and that the French government would :-1. Promote a process that criminalizes migrant communities2.

Enact a process of exclusion3. And the tying of symbols, like the headscarf, to Islamic communities and anti-Islamic groups may as a result promote to some extent islamaphobia across both France and Europe.These arguments were imparted to the audience and both sides of the argument were given however, the speaker remained neutral and did not promote one side over the other until the very end of presenting the paper where she said what her personal opinion of the argument which was and that was that France should not press ahead with the banning of religious symbols.As a Muslim member of the audience I believe that the paper imparted a fair argument for the banning of the headscarf and for not banning the headscarf.

An area that I would have sought data for would have been for the number of nationals of France who have converted to and accepted Islam as their religion. The reason being as all media articles seem to convey that all Muslims living in Europe have migrated from another country which is an inaccurate view. As the speaker said in her speech that Islam is the fastest growing religion another form of data that I may have tried to find would be for numbers of Muslims in France at present and then perhaps how this would have compared to ten years ago as this would have given the audience an opportunity to see why the Government in France has chosen this time to react to the wearing of the head scarf. Perhaps the Government of France would be of the opinion that if religious symbols were not worn then the growth of the religion would slow down.The interest of the audience was held throughout the speaker’s oration, it addressed the key issues arising from the question.

The Speaker demonstrated an understanding of the subject matter and was able to deliver this to the audience. The materials were organised effectively, for example the acetates were shown half way through the speech, which was a useful tool for if there were any members of the audiences who had wandering minds their attention would have been reactivated for the remainder of the speech.The speaker maintained eye contact with the audience throughout the presentation, her voice was audible; she did not speak in a rushed fashion and maintained a good speed of delivery. If the speaker was nervous this was not reflected in her voice when she spoke. The presentation did not extend past the limit of the presentation nor did it fall short of the allotted time.

I believe that the speaker imparted the body of the argument to the audience in a clear and methodical fashion. This enabled members of the audience to engage with the arguments proposed and reflect upon them. This led to an animated group discussion which due to the limits of time had to be closed as we moved on to the next speaker.The speaker also produced handouts for the audience which they could keep and use as a point of reference should they wish to research further into any of the issues that had arisen in her presentation.

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