InternationalSnob

Ban the Burqa In France?

This goes under my list of “Things That Can’t Happen In American Due To the Bill O’ Rights (Thank God).” It seems French President Nicolas Sarkozy thinks the traditional Afghan garmet, the burqa, undermines France’s secular tradition and is bad for women.

More after the jump.

He says it’s the right thing to do (Assimilate, dammit!) while Muslims argue that this is just another way to stigmatize and harass them. I’m going to have to come down on the side of the burqa lovers.

I’m not a fan of the burqa, but no one has the right to tell a person of faith how to dress. I don’t care if you don’t understand that faith or don’t like it. And the only reason why this would never happen in the US is because the argument could THEN be made that ALL religious clothing should be banned. (What on earth will those priests wear? Jeans?) That would go over about as well as a ban on Christmas. As in, it would be ass kicking time. And it would not be good.

This also puts Muslim women in conservative households in a HORRIBLE situation. Defy your God, your husband and family or the government of France? Yeah. That will help advance the cause of more freedom for women in conservative or fundamentalist Muslim households — by putting giant targets on their back.

If Sarkozy was actually serious about helping Muslim women he would push to make it easier for French Muslims to participate in French society as citizens, not continue to harass, demonize and marginalize them. You learn to respect women’s rights through exposure to different viewpoints and education. Not this chicanery. And you’re supposed to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority in a Democracy, not the other way around. If we ascribed to this logic, I’d be in a field somewhere, frying my ass off, chopping cotton.

You’re not going to liberate anyone through further oppression.

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48 thoughts on “Ban the Burqa In France?

  1. sasha says:

    I’m inclined to agree with you. This article was posted on a couple of feminist blogs and I was very surprised by the responses of the commenters, almost all of them self-identified feminists. Many of the commenters agreed with the ban on burqas because they believe that a woman never freely chooses to wear a burqa; that every woman who wears one is forced to by her family and community. In addition many stated that the Koran does not require women to wear burqas and that they are a product of fundamentalist Islam and a symbol of oppression. I’m not sure what to think of their opinions. I just really believe that the government should not have the power to ban any type of clothing and should respect citizen’s religious practices. I don’t think the French government is all that concerned about women’s oppression; its more concerned about forcing people to assimilate. I think Muslim women who wear burqa’s will be even more isolated from French society if the ban goes through because instead of defying their religious beliefs they will just not go out, or go out as little as possible.

  2. I posted your link on my Facebook profile along with this comment. I hope people take it heart: "I think this is something silly, too, and I laugh at the wingnut fools in the USA who applaud Sarkozy…but before you start shouting that the French would never do that for yarmulkes, recall that they kinda sorta did once…thru a dude named Klaus Barbie."

  3. It’s not in the Quran that woman have to wear a burqa, so if a muslim woman choose not to wear it, she won’t be going against her God.I could understand why some people are against the burqa… the fact is you don’t even know if its a woman or a man under that thing. Wearing a burqa is already a big form of isolation from the rest of the community.People are behaving as if the President spoke against the head scarf.But then every woman has a right to choose what to wear.

  4. If u have a business, would you hire some one who u can’t look in their eye?Would you want someone wearing a burqa teaching your kids? I’m not basing it on religion, but the simple act of communicating effectively – facial expression, eye contact etcHow can some one wearing a full burqa effectively and actively pasticipate in the western society?If u go to an islamic country, you have to align yourself to their culture and their rules of dressing, communicating, shopping and socialising.

  5. Danielle Belton says:

    @ AlsIf you are woman from a household that conservative it is pretty unlikely that you hold a job outside of the home and for me this is a freedom of religion issue. In Saudi Arabia where law requires all women to cover their heads they don’t exactly have freedom of religion or a Democracy. My point that if you claim to be a democracy it is about being tolerant of those with different beliefs from yours. For me its honestly no different from sikhs wearing turbans or Rastas having dreds. Just because you don’t like or understand something isn’t necessarily a reason to ban it. Honestly, it really doesn’t affect other people if someone wears a burqa other than it may make you uncomfortable. But I make prejudiced people uncomfortable everyday just walking down the street while being a black person. I truly think this is more about discrimination and assimilation. They’d be better off engaging than putting conservative Muslims on the defensive.

  6. khia213 says:

    I seriously do not want to deal with someone in a burqa if I work in a bank. As a former defense lawyer, I don’t want a witness in a burqa. Matter of fact, I don’t want it anywhere where I need to gauge the reactions and the identity of the person I’m dealing with. And not all religious expression is permitted in this country. Peyote as religious ritual is banned. FGM ( even though it isn’t really a requirement of a religion) is forbidden. What citizens of the U.S. aren’t taking into account about this decision in France is how religious practices are trying to change the culture. How far are you prepared to go on accomodation? Girls separate from boys as a requirement in schools? Prayer five times a day in the workplace? Prayer facing Mecca on a plane? Sharia courts for practitioners as opposed to the court system? I love the First Amendment more than most people, I think. I’ve had to use it as a defense in court, but there are some real issues about accomodation and the need for cultural assimilation. European countries now have whole enclaves in their countries that refuse to accept the law of that country. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written extensively about these issues. Her books are worth checking out. We have to think about these thing in this country as well.

  7. dilettante says:

    I’m siding with Sarkozy. It’s got nothing to do with me ‘fighting’ for the Freedom of Burqa clad sisters. If the very laws of a place you want to naturalize in/ emigrate to etc will cause you or your family to be dishonored, then perhaps you need to investigate another place to set up camp."But I make prejudiced people uncomfortable everyday just walking down the street while being a black person." Yeah, me too… but this argument strikes me the same as gay people saying their issues were/are exactly like the Civil Rights movement. I’m so not interested in starting a session of the" oppression Olympics", and for the record- Gay people should have the same rights as anyone else, but these identity issues are/were not the same in the lived everyday experience or history of the US.Back to the Burqa ban… yes the French state should reach out to its Muslim population, but his statement could be a preemptive notice to people looking to start a new life ,in a new country, they will have to adjust to different laws, social mores, different society etc.

  8. Danielle Belton says:

    @ khia & dilettanteI guess my point would be that, again, if you’re from that conservative of a household you do not hold down a job, accommodations have been made in the past for people of various faiths or who have been victims of particular crimes to testify in a manner where they can be seen by only the principals and have their identity hidden from the public and there are already gender specific schools here in the states — both secular and religious.Yes, fundamentalism and fanaticism is a problem. My point is that by targeting the burqa you’re not actually helping the women wearing it. You’re basically dooming them to being trapped in their strict, conservative homes. Views will harden. Nothing will change and the problem will only worsen. You’re actually giving it more power as a tool to control people and to rally around. For instance, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in voting, blood transfusion and have been called a cult in the past. In some cases their children have died because they refused medical treatment for them because it didn’t jibe with their faith. But fighting, killing and protesting against Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t stop them. They actually won several Supreme Court cases to have their rights respected. I just think you have to separate fanaticism from some religious tradition. Fact is, from what I’ve read, most Muslims live pretty isolated lives in Europe as compared to the states and most white Europeans aren’t actually welcoming them being there. Isolation also doesn’t help encourage assimilation. So I just think there’s a bigger problem.

  9. Danielle Belton says:

    Also, banning the Burqa doesn’t affect the male hierarchy who control the lives of these women at all.

  10. Monie says:

    "And you’re supposed to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority in a Democracy, not the other way around. "Yep I agree but before we Americans become self-righteous we should consider that the majority here in the U.S. has already forced their views (in most States) on same gender couples by banning same gender marriage because the majority says same gender marriage is against their religion.

  11. dilettante says:

    My point is that by targeting the burqa you’re not actually helping the women wearing it.Also, banning the Burqa doesn’t affect the male hierarchy who control the lives of these women at all.Maybe that wasn’t really the intent? It wasn’t mine directly. There *is* an issue of assimilation with the larger society.

  12. Danielle Belton says:

    @ dilettanteI just know that there’s history of when assimilation appears to be forced as opposed to a choice people tend to resist and bond over it rather than accept it. When it’s forced you usually have to physically defeat them (re: the Native Americans) for it to set in and even then it might not work. Also, when you’re dealing with something as harsh and pathological as the mistreatment of women in fundamentalist Muslim sects they are not going to assimilate just because a garment of clothing has been banned. There should be another way to encourage people to join the rest of a society outside of banning such a visible rallying point.

  13. dukedraven says:

    I believe strongly in the freedom of religion, but I’m not a fan of the burqa at all. Secretly, I’m in favor of what France is doing. I may have my liberal card revoked for this. In the US, I don’t think a bank or 7Eleven would allow them to wear a burqa. They now have signs preventing customers from wearing baseball caps and hoodies.

  14. "Fact is, from what I’ve read, most Muslims live pretty isolated lives in Europe as compared to the states and most white Europeans aren’t actually welcoming them being there"where have u read this? I live in the UK and the government has bent over backwards to be tolerent and help minorities especially muslims. Islam is the fastest growing religion in UK and Europe – they have more freedom by law than even in the US, Have u ever been to London/UK or France or Germany? What u have read is just the media building up minor issues out of proportion. The majority of ethnic minorities do mix with the "whites". We all have the same rights, freedom and basic opportunities – subsidized tuition fees (£3k a yr), tuition fee grants and loans to top universities, free health care, those who can’t afford get free housing and benefits.In comparison to the US……"Americans" are so quick to point a finger from what they have read when one they don’t know the culture and dynamics of the country and two they don’t ever try to take the planck out of their own eyes and clean up their own communities.

  15. Danielle Belton says:

    @ AlsFor one, I’m totally aware of America’s own intolerance problems. I live here. For two, I was referring to the numerous articles I’ve read, many of which were written during the 2008 election, about the difficulties of assimilating in European society. Most of these articles were a reaction to the election of Barack Obama and how Germany had it’s issues with their Turkish citizens and France had its issues with their Muslim and African citizens who felt there wasn’t enough upward movement in their societies and complained of bigotry and isolation. One, also listed, is about the nature of the Paris riots back in, I believe, 2005.A quick Google search pops up quite a few stories:Trevor Phillips: Racism would stop Barack Obama being prime minister in the UK (UK Telegraph)Why is racism still thriving in sports in Europe? (Lola Adesioye)The Obama Effect prompts European Leaders to Confront Racism (NPR)After US Breakthrough Europe Looks In the Mirror (New York Times)Paris Race Riots: France Sitting on a Time Bomb (Radical Left)

  16. dilettante says:

    Danielle you keep coming back to the Muslim women here, and how they , and their male family members will respond to it. The Muslim population in France is less than 10%. Even fewer will subscribe to the wahabi /"fundy" traditions of this style of dress. France also outlawed large crosses, head gear worn by Sikhs etc in the school system.Its the govt’s role to keep some baseline of what is or is not acceptable for ‘the common good’. I’m writing from what’s some times called Londonistan…. I don’t want to see the US go down that route(banning all religious symbols). However the law can be a protection for the female members to stand up ‘tradition’.I have a girlfriend in the US, who was originally from Eritrea, they are [orthodox] Christian. When she was very young, her mother was mildly pressured by older women in their community to have her daughters circumcised. The mother resisted by saying she would be reported by the school etc to the police for child abuse. Because the mother had the state to back up her refusal- she broke the cycle.PS- I think Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an opportunistic lier

  17. Danielle Belton says:

    @ dilettanteI guess my point is with that is that in that case of female genital mutilation the govt is protecting the woman. Just like how Peyote is a narcotic. Unless this law is written to say it is for women being forced to wear burqa’s who want out of the compromising position, it comes across as punitive towards the woman. The way Sarkozy stated it, he left things open to interpretation. Would he be fining women for wearing the garment in public? How would it be enforced? I don’t like the burqa, but if wearing it is your individual choice things get rather murky as no one is being physically harmed in this situation. I truly think in the US a ban of such type would not hold up in court. And while fundamentalists and uber-conservative Muslims may be a minority in France they should be afforded some protection to practice their faith. But I also understand that French society and law is very different from American society and law when it comes to religion. I image we Americans probably look like a bunch of loopy religious happy talkers over here due to the proliferation of so much religion in this country.

  18. dilettante says:

    @Danielle , Welll we will agree to disagree. My empathy/sympathy in this case does not default to "the other", which is , I think, a typical reflexive move by "us" as African Americans. I’m not saying that’s the case here, but usually we can identify with the underdog.I don’t necessarily see wearing booty cutters as a freedom Muslim women are missing out on. But just as I believe the state has a responsibility to impose decency laws, a line has to drawn regarding the public/private expression of religion. The French have a right to live their Frenchified public life, in the way they see fit,and people who want to live there should have to make some accommodations to do so. Much like my grandmother should not have to learn to speak Spanish (if she doesn’t want to) to get on with her everyday activities, shopping etc.

  19. TM says:

    @ Danielle: On one hand you want to argue for individual choice, yet on the other you concede that women in burqas are already generally trapped in stict, conservative homes. So how much individual choice are we talking about here? @ dilettante: I have to disagree with the notion the majority has some unfettered right to live a "Frenchified public life." That logic can lend itself to some pretty insidious laws and practices. Who are "The French?" Who gets to determine what is French or who is or is not? Dangerous ground, that. There’s quite a difference in compelling your grandmother to learn Spanish compared to forbidding others from speaking it, so I don’t think the analogy fits.I’m on the fence, but I lean towards leaving religious expressions alone.

  20. khia213 says:

    Danielle,For me the quest to have completely veiled women accepted is plan of a bigger issue of the limits on accomodation in this country. How far do you want to go to accomodate a tradition? (And I might add, one not really required by the religion.) People here have already sued to have segregated gym times, segregated pool hours, segregated clases due to their religion. It’s not just a question of what the people filing need. It’s a quest to impose it on everyone else. You write that there are already segregated schools. They’re private. You can decide to go or not go. That’s not what these lawsuits are asking for. They want isegregation provided in a public school. You write that witnesses can testify privately. Why then should other witnesses be subject to public scrutiny? You don’t think they don’t want a right to not bew seen by the public? I was born in this country, so I’ll never know what I might have had to give up to live here (or someplace else, for that matter.) but I do know that there are things that have to be done to assimilate into a culture. If you don’t want to be in that country, there are others to live in. Apparently, France has the right to require it. And they have always been protectionist about their culture. It’s their country. They want to maintain their culture, more power to them.

  21. joev says:

    Iwanted to make burkas with the nike swoosch on them,,,maybe we can sexy them up???a contest to make the burka coco chanel woud have made…..yes that would be a french solution….sarkozys wife could be the model

  22. Zahra says:

    AS a Muslim, I would like to point out a mistake in your post, the burqa is not traditional muslim garment, it is traditional Afghan garment worn mostly in Afghanistan and certain parts of Pakistan.

  23. dilettante says:

    "…yes that would be a french solution….sarkozys wife could be the model" Alas, by virtue of it covering her face,neck and sholders – you wouldn’t know it was her :-(@TM I know the analogy wasn’t perfect, but " Who are "The French?" Who gets to determine what is French.." there really is *no need* for an existential crisis. I’m pretty sure the French have some common idea of who they are, what their culture is etc. We live in a post colonial**, post modern, interconnected world now. No body does the steamer/ ocean liner "trip to the new world", forever separated from kith and ken anymore-so I don’t see this as the French imposing some rule in an attempt to strip anyones identity. You don’t have to go back you just turn on your native country’s Sat.TV /radio station, connect to your favorite blog from back home etc- to keep you up to speed, before you next trip back to wherever. Maybe [the French] are attempting to protect their own identity. No one wants to visit the great wall of China, and see a McDonald’s at every ten yards . The French are secular- not into their own traditional religion of Catholicism- its not much of a stretch to see them not really feeling someone overtly repping their different one.** imperfectly speaking

  24. I’m coming down on Danielle’s side here. I think it’s a false assumption to say that Muslim women only cover up because they are forced to. I’ve never known a woman who wore a burqa, but I have had some Muslim friends who wore the headscarf, by choice. Liberal, outspoken, progressive women, where in one family or group of friends one woman covered her hair and another did not. It’s a matter of identity. I used to live in an apartment building that was mostly Arab and Muslim, there was a gift shop on the lower level run by an apparently very liberated Muslim woman who wore full hijab, with only her eyes showing. I used to call her Khadija to myself, after the prophet Muhammad’s first/principal wife, who was a businesswoman and his employer. When the National Geographic photographer tracked down the Afghan girl in that famous photo years later, she did not want to show her face to be re-photographed as an adult. She acceded to her husband’s decision to allow it. Here are the images, and by chance Google brought them up on a blog I totally agree with about the topic: http://fatadelic.wordpress.com/2002/04/30/violation/Forced assimilation is the worst kind of oppression!

  25. swiv says:

    sometimes "accommodation" goes too far. forcing the "majority" to change for the "minority" isn’t as right as everyone makes it out to be.

  26. ariana says:

    im sorry but i TOTALLY disagree. and i agree with sarkozy for once. Firstly, the burka is not a religious requirement. its not even close to a religious requirement. it isnt mentioned anywhere in the koran or the hadiths. the only thing that is mentioned is the headscarf in the hadiths, and even that is debatable. the burka is simply an outdated cultural phenomenon that needs to end..much like the corset or foot binding in china. just because something is "traditional or cultural" dress does not make it right.I come from a muslim background, and i have a BIG problem with the burka. It denotes that a women is nothing but a sexual object…that all of your body, including your face, needs to be hidden as all of you, your whole identity, is sexually explicit. believing that and so covering up to hide everything but your eyes has to have a negative impact on you mentally and psychologically. It is no better than a woman posing naked for playboy: she is also reducing herself to a sex object. The burka cannot "liberate" you as some moronic proponents of it seem to suggest. Gotta be honest here, people who say such things are usally very very undeducated or brainwashed. No independent and educated muslim woman would ever chose to wear it. Personally, i know there is more to my face just sexual desire. cultures and societies evolve as humans and values do. franky islamic leaders have been too silent on this issue, they should join in on the condemnation. however that being said, sarkozy is no open minded liberal and im sure his comments are more about winning political points than anything else. but atleast someone has brought it up. the only thing that worries me is that a simple ban on the burka in france might not do much to help improve the status of some muslim women or the islamic community in general…what needs to come hand in hand are policies to help elevate muslims out of poverty, and better education and employment opportunities..that way, extremism and the need to wear a burka might be better curbed

  27. Danielle Belton says:

    @ arianaI pretty much agreed with everything you said except for the banning. I just don’t think it will stop the practice, but intensify it. They’d be better off finding out why its use is spreading and combating the root cause than attacking the symbol. It kind of reminds me of how we deal with the fundamentalist LDS church here in the states. I don’t like the FLDS church, but if they’re not physically abusing anyone, harassing them isn’t going to stop the spread. Like the case when the state of Texas overreacted to a call for help that may or may not have come from a woman or child in a FLDS compound and ended up looking cruel by illegally taking children away from their parents. This made the state look reactionary and prejudiced and did nothing to help women and children who are being hurt in these situations. It would be better if more Muslims spoke out about the issue, because when non-Muslims do it it is too easy for us to be accused of "not getting it" or being bigoted or trying to force our ideals on someone else. And in some cases, we are. But fighting poverty and finding better education and employment are the real keys to curbing extremism, as you stated. We completely agree there.

  28. Nona says:

    Historically, when the French, English, Dutch, etc. went to countries that were not their own, e.g. Indonesia, various parts of Africa, the Americas, etc. they did not seek to assimilate to "native" culture. They set about destroying it and enforcing their own. This is why French, English, Dutch is spoken so far away from those language centres and this is why we all wear European style clothes. If the burqa or hijab had been the native dress of England, the majority of the world would now be wearing them as the "norm". Today the so-called expat (the term preferred by modern day European, American, Australian, Canadian and white South African immigrants) makes no attempt to adjust when living in non-white cultures. As a matter of fact the British even shit on every European country they go to, refusing to speak any language that is not English and spreading their wretched pub culture everywhere.Like it or not, the way of the world has always been that people move taking their cultures with them and impacting the culture they move to. I guess part of this pattern is that the "native" population often does everything it can to resist the "interloper" but I think creating laws to hinder people from practicing their religion in the way they see fit is wrong. Isn’t that what Europe did to the Jews for centuries culminating in the Holocaust? People move, cultures change and evolve and life goes on. The idea that there is a fixed French, British, American, Trinidadian or Tunisian culture is rubbish. Nothing in life is fixed. Personally, I love the idea of living in a space with all kinds of diversity and freedom to do what the hell you want to do as long as you don’t deliberately hurt others … unless you’re both into S&M of course.

  29. ariana says:

    i totally see your point about why banning it might not seem to be the right thing to do. most of the time, it is just a knee jerk reaction. and you’re right it doesnt get to the root of the cause, they need to find why it is spreading and combat that aswell. usually i agree that you cant just ban things, but this time i feel its different. i honestly think that somtimes things such as this just need to be banned. certain individual liberties need to be sacrificed for progress. i say liberties, however the niqab is a prison..it doesnt have to be a forced prison, it can be a self imposed one. the reason im for the ban is because i honestly believe it will lead to effective improvement within the muslim community..for one, a woman who stops wearing a niqab/burka will have her employment and educational opportunities improved dramatically. i believe taking off the niqab/burka will also make a woman feel alot more part of society. it might also lift her sense of worth as not only a woman but a human being. iv read concerns that women who wear it will just stay home if it is banned. however, i dont this will be the case…most will always be forced to step outside of the house even if its out of pure necessity. I also think its a good thing that theyv established an inquiry into the whole matter, as that might help them tackle the issue through other means and not just a ban itself.maybe the reason im such a proponent of such a move is because its more personal then when it comes to the actions of the FLDS church ( although i think all the women there need to be re educated.) im not a religious person, but some memebers of my family are. i grew up around an islam that is secular and moderate. i support moves to propogate this type of islam, because often its been silenced by those who have hijacked the religion to suit their own, twisted means. if you look at nations like turkey, where the burka is banned, and then saudi arabia, you can see the difference in the status of women in society and how they are percieved. "It would be better if more Muslims spoke out about the issue, because when non-Muslims do it it is too easy for us to be accused of "not getting it" or being bigoted or trying to force our ideals on someone else"I totally agree with that statement, and i really hope that more moderate and secular muslim voices do get heard! i know the problem in speaking out against issues like the burka is problemsome for non muslims, especially the ones who want to be culturally/religiously sensitive and do not do it out of disdain for islam. thats why i think the burka/niqab issue should not be given a religious twist. it should be placed alongside fgm and other cultural practices that have nothing to do with religion but everything to do with patriarchy and oppression.

  30. ariana says:

    also one more point: "If the burqa or hijab had been the native dress of England, the majority of the world would now be wearing them as the "norm". " english people used to wear corsets. thats changed. i dont see why the burqa should be any different. although i believe that this should have started happening in countries where it is traditional dress rather than western countries…but hey it hasnt, so now i really cant blame france for wanting to ban it. alot of muslims would love to see its demise too.

  31. So I guess I was wrongly conflating the burqa with the simple headscarf, which is definitely worn by choice by women I know. The thing is, France is the country that already banned even the simple headscarf from schools, along with Sikh turbans, Jewish skullcaps, and "large" Christian crosses. I found this troubling. Instead of fostering an environment of celebrating diversity, they want to make diversity appear to go away.

  32. This is not particularly unusual. The French have a long-standing tradition of being anti-religion. They have always been obsessed with maintaining their ‘Frenchness,’ so anything that isn’t ‘French’ has to go. If this were happening in the US I would be opposed to it, however, I believe that the people of France have every right to govern their country as they see fit.

  33. cathy says:

    I look at this from the side of the law, this "tradition"’ is bad for law enforcement. Anyone could be under that burqa, not just a Muslim woman. Eliminating them all together is just like schools around here that don’t allow Hats and Hoodies, it is a matter of public safety, the security personnel can see who is coming and going and if they belong there or not. Sometimes the rights of all should out weight the Right of One. I do see your point though that this is not going to do anything to help Muslim Woman in France.

  34. Nona says:

    @ arianaThanks for reinforcing my point!!! The corset which evolved into the bra in France and England is now the "norm" for women globally only because of colonisation. And one can argue that that is as oppressive an item of clothing for women as some would argue the burqa is. Furthermore corsets are still widely worn and available in underwear shops globally. Finally, if Muslims want to see it’s demise of the burqa, they are more than capable of bringing that about.

  35. The A says:

    Sarkosky is wrong. Besides, nuns can still wear habits in France. what’s the diff?@ dukedraven Actually a bank in the DC area instituted that policy and turned a woman away for wearing her head covering into the bank. There was quite a public outcry about it. They apologized and reviewed the policy immediately afterward. Personally, any "security measure" that treats me like a criminal before a customer in order to deter crime is troublesome to me. Its usually a reactionary measure to restore a false sense of security. Like when a bank robber talked on a cell phone during a rash of robberies so the banks banned cellphone use inside. The criminals are always evolving to work around these measures leaving the rest of us unnecessarily inconvenienced and living under a cloud of suspicion.

  36. enemyofthestate says:

    "This goes under my list of "Things That Can’t Happen In American Due To the Bill O’ Rights (Thank God).""Is it right for me to guess then that on this list of yours you’ve decided that "Things" that have happened such as slavery and genocide aren’t worth noting? As if James Madison and Thomas Jefferson thought any of your ancestors deserved any rights. I guess the benefits of a comfortable life in the most affluent country in history can make lots of people believe nearly anything.

  37. swiv says:

    nun habits don’t cover your face and obscure your identity. requiring you to take of something that covers your face isn’t treating you like a criminal.

  38. swiv says:

    why are people worried about racism or a leader who is a minority in other countries? of course there’s going to be racism in other countries. most of those other countries are more than 95% white. they’re racially monolithic. why would those countries have someone who isn’t white as a leader? that’s like having a hispanic leader governing an asian leader. the numbers will never work out.

  39. ariana says:

    @ nonamy problem with the burqa is not because its not a western norm. the hijab isnt a western norm either and i dont think anyone should have a problem with that. the reason why i would support such a ban in france has got to do with the circumstances and the context of the ban. you mentioned the corset evolving into the bra, and how now its worn everywhere because of colonisation. yeah that maybe true..but i think if you look at the way that the burqa/niqab has spread around the islamic world its also had a cultural-colonisation kind of impact. your comment about the bra spreading through colonisation helped me realise why exactly i feel so strongly about the ban. as a general rule, i could not care less what people wear. but when you look at a burqa ban it is important to know the history of the burqa and its effect on muslim communities. the niqab is a bedoin traditional practice. the burqa comes from afghanistan and pakistan. pretty much they do the same thing: cover the face. in other muslim communities it is totally foreign. however, wahabbi elements that wish to radicalise islam have introduced it into places where it is not cultural under the guise of "religion." these people tell women that to be a good muslim you have to completely cover every inch of your body..they equate being pious to covering your face, which is totally religiously false. i can give you a myriad of examples. in many parts of saudi arabia, the traditionial dress used to be colourful. now the black abaya has taken over, and women can only step outside of the house if they are covered in all black (supposedly for religious reasons). afghanistan 30 years ago was not the afghanistan it is today. women in kabul used to be able to walk around uncovered. under the taliban, you could get killed for not wearing a burqa (again for "religioius" reasons.) in other muslim countries, the niqab is being introduced where it was never seen before. wahabbi money has long been funding certain mosques, and some clerics have managed to convince a portion of women that the niqab/burqa is a religious duty. im bosnian so im well aware of the bosnian example..we have had wahabbis come into the country and set up their own communities. usually they take poor, uneducated women and men from villages and indoctrinate them into their own brand of islam-a brand that is completely foreign to the traditional way in which bosnian islam is practiced. whereas the niqab never used to exist before, now you can see a few women wearing it. and those forces who try to encourage it arent exactly peaceful or tolerant people. societies dont always progress..sometimes radical, fascist, etc forces take over and cause them to regress. my problem is that i dont want to see radical islamists, with their wahabi interpretation of islam, to cause the regression of the religion. if it was just the bedoin woman wearing their traditional niqab, i would never support the state telling them how they can and cant dress. but from what iv read on france, radicalization of islam is a problem in some communities and women who wear the face-cover is on the rise. in those cirumstances, i think state intervention is necessary..not just because of france’s secularist ideals, but to help the young mulsim women who might fall victim to the wahabbis. "Finally, if Muslims want to see it’s demise of the burqa, they are more than capable of bringing that about."I think most muslims would like to see the demise of the burqa..activists from afghanistan, to iran, to europe have spoken out against it. a few islamic countries have already outlawed it. however, its hard to bring about its demise when you have wahabbi clerics, who often recieve alot of money and funding, trying to encourage it-in cases like that, i think state intervention can be justifiedand danielle sorry again for the long long post!!!

  40. France and europe is a LOT more secular than the USA. The mean when they say separation of church and state. Also other religious symbols ARE banned and have been for years. France unlike the States believes if one moves to France one has to become French. They don’t have the "melting pot/stew" concept that we do. Also it’s not Muslin tradition to wear a burqa. There is nothing in the Koran about it.

  41. pioneervalleywoman says:

    What citizens of the U.S. aren’t taking into account about this decision in France is how religious practices are trying to change the culture. How far are you prepared to go on accomodation? Girls separate from boys as a requirement in schools? Prayer five times a day in the workplace? Prayer facing Mecca on a plane? Sharia courts for practitioners as opposed to the court system?and those forces who try to encourage it aren’t exactly peaceful or tolerant people. My reply:Exactly, some of those who want women of their group to wear it are the same ones who look down upon Western women, who don’t wear it, as harlots. They live in the West, but numbers of them hate Western culture and the Western women who are part of that culture. This issue is not a one-way street. Yes, it is about how they see women in their group, how women of their group should present themselves, but it is about how they see women of other groups.

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