Lebanese Women Banned From Job Because of Headscarves

The Lebanese General Security Forces (GSF) banned 39 Muslim women applicants from joining its forces, even though they passed the admission test and completed the application process. The women were informed of their rejection on their first day on job, when, during their reception, the Major asked media outlets to focus on their headscarves. Some of the women said later that they were asked to choose between the job and their headscarves.

The issue was leaked to media only yesterday. The officials at the Lebanese GSF confirmed the decision to keep the women out of the security force and justified it by referencing the law that bans wearing religious symbols at job. Muslims, however, argue that Lebanon is not France, but a country with a Muslim majority.

Unlike in the army, the duty of a GSF employee is often office work. For Muslim women, the Hijab is not a sign of hatred of the other, but rather part of the identity. On the contrary, having veiled women working along with non-veiled women is the natural reflection of the diversity in society. It is an implicit chance to promote religious freedom and dialogue, and of eliminating the "fierce alignment and marginalization" of veiled, and in general religious, women. It is also the best expression of democracy.

Finally, why does the international media only focus on extremist Muslims imposing veils on all women, and does not discuss "extremist" imposing of unveiling on all women?

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Mariam Itani

I hold a Bachelor in Computer and Communications Engineering, and an MA in Arab and Middle Eastern Studies from the American University of Beirut. My experience is wide ranging in the fields of research, writing, electronic journalism, translation, Localization of web content; web development, and web content development.

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