Banning the Burka

July 7th, 2010

I just read this article fom the BBC.  The French parliament is poised to debate making it illegal to wear a niqab or a burka in public places.  Both Spain and Belgium have already passed similar laws.  The penalty for the proposed ban will be 150 euros for women who are caught wearing a full burka in public and 30,000 euros and one year in jail for men who force a woman to wear a burka in public.  I have to admit that my heart jumps for joy at the idea of outlawing burkas.  Although I am positive that there are many women who ‘freely’ choose to wear the burka – I am not sure that anything that is done to please a tyrannical deity is really done freely.  Still – let’s say that there are women who would choose to wear a burka even if they weren’t Muslim.  Let’s say that there are women who would prefer to be clad in a garment that swamps them in fabric from the top of their head to the floor, leaving only a thick netting around their eyes and nose, while they are out and about shopping for groceries and picking up the dry cleaning and taking the kids to the park…. yeah… it’s just not very likely is it.

Personally I think the term ‘religious freedom’ is an oxymoron.  You’re not really free if you are operating under the idea of either pleasing or appeasing some deity.  Which I guess is where the term ‘free thinkers’ came from.  See how quick I am?  See how fast I can piece things together?

So what do you think?  Burka or no burka?  Should a country outlaw religious garb?  Where does this end?  Will they make the pope take off that silly hat too?  What about nuns?  Their costumes are not unlike a burka, yet no one really goes around saying that nuns are oppressed.  Are nuns oppressed?  What if they make Michelle Duggar put on a pair of pants?  Will she then go to hell?  Why do the women always have to wear the dresses in conservative religion?  How come the men never wear the dresses?  Jesus wore a dress.  At least in every picture I have ever seen of him he is wearing a dress.  It is not a very good dress.  It’s not a very well cut or fitted or even remotely flattering dress… but it’s STILL A DRESS!  All the disciples, the prophets, the kings, the second kings, Noah, Adam, David, Joseph, Abraham, ALL OF THEM WORE DRESSES!

Attention Michelle Duggar’s Husband (Mister Michelle Duggar?) – If you really love God, you need to put on a dress!

But back to that burka thing.

I want the burka gone.  I want it eradicated from the face of the earth.  I never want to see another woman stuck inside of one of those things for as long as I live.  It’s just so messed up.  It should be gone.

Yay France and Spain and Belgium!  Good job!  Make the burka go away.  Make it so.

Well – I guess you know what I think about France’s proposed burka law.  What do you think?

Comments

  • I think you’re mistaken. Jesus and clan wore Robes. Calling them dresses is like calling a kilt a skirt. Bahahahahahahahaha! Okay, sorry. It just popped into my head. And now I have the giggles. More men should have to wear dresses. Maybe then they wouldn’t come up with such stupid designs half the time.

    I also would like to see the burka banished. I’d also like to see the fine for men be 10x higher for forcing a woman to wear one.

  • Maria:

    I like the idea of banning something that is forced on people arbitrarily. But then again, banning is kinda forcing something on people arbitrarily, too. Even if the majority thinks the ban is a good idea. Hmmm. Not sayin’ I love burka’s or the idea behind them…just saying is a “ban” ever a good thing? Fight force with…um..force?? Ya, history shows that’s a good idea.

  • amy:

    Rechelle, have you ever read ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Hosseini? It gives amazing insight to the plights of Afghan women. I hope banning the burka brings them a little closer to liberation.

  • I hope that it gets banned. Come into the 21st Century! Women are not objects to be owned, shamed, beaten, or stoned just for the fact that by manner of birth they came into this world as a female.

  • I hate hate hate those things…I have an ex husband who tried to force me to wear one right here in KC, Missouri. Needless to say, he’s now an EX husband. I’d be okay if they eradicated them across the globe…or make the idiot men who try to force women to wear them have to don one instead…

  • The reason they are being banned isn’t because they are religious. It’s a public safety issue. People have worn them to rob banks and commit other crimes. The argument is that no one should be wearing anything that could conceal their identity in public. I seem to remember 30 years or so ago hearing that some place in Italy(?) banned motorcycle helmets that had full face masks. There was to much mob violence going on and one of the ways assassins would get people is from a motorcycle so they could get away through traffic easily. If it was simply banning it because it was religious, that wouldn’t hold up in court in those countries or anywhere in the EU.

    • Clay:

      I’m suspicious of that explanation. Everyone notices someone wearing a burka. It would be a great way to attract attention to what someone is doing, which is not what robbers want to do. And if concealment is an issue then they would outlaw people wearing helmets that conceal the face while they are riding motor bikes (as in making get-aways).

      I seem to remember this started out as an issue in what kind of clothing was allowed at public schools. There is a history here. The French have been stewing about the muslims for quite a while. The biggest problem is that while France has allowed liberal entry from Muslim countries, French society has not done well at integrating the immigrants, which has left them an isolated underclass, increasingly alienated and potentially dangerous. Outlawing burkas might just make this worse, though.

      It might also have a lot to do with a rigid mentality of maintaining traditional French customs and norms. The government has felt the need to take steps against the excessive influence of American culture as well, especially regarding the corruption of the language.

  • Please know that I’m not trying to be difficult, but if they ban the burka, should they then not ban the full habits still worn by some Catholic nuns? Or long robes/cassocks worn by some male Catholic orders. I understand and fully support the principles (public safety, eliminating oppression, etc.) behind the ban, but I’d be surprised if countries with strong Catholic heritages such as these would go so far as to ban other “extreme” religious garb.

    • Elisabeth:

      EllaBee: They only ban burkas, the ones where the face is completely covered. Veils and shawls are allowed, as long as the face is visible.
      I think it is mainly a safety issue and I am ok with that. Ski masks in public places isn’t allowed in Sweden either after hooligans and neo-nazis have used them while abusing people or in demonstrations.

      If immigrants can’t adapt to the rules and traditions in their new country, I don’t think they should come to live here at all. That is the problem with some of the muslim population. They come to Europe and instead of accepting the laws and traditions here, they want us to change our laws to suit them. Our government and authorities are afraid to speak up against it out of fear of being called “racists”.

      We have worked for hundreds of years for democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, free education for everybody, humane rules regarding how animals are bred and slaughtered and equality between the genders. It infuriates me when people who have fled from opression in their own countries come here and then refuse to follow our democratic laws and traditions that our ancesters have sacrificed a lot to achieve.

  • jalf:

    I think a ban is an absurd way to go. There are a lot of things in the world I don’t like, and a lot of things that *represent* something I don’t like. But banning all those things would take forever, and it wouldn’t really achieve anything.

    This seems like such a stupid xenophobic kneejerk reaction.
    Yes, we get it, it’s cool to hate Islam and everything associated with it. Just like a century ago it was cool to hate black people. Just like 8 years ago it was cool (in the US, anyway) to hate France.
    And yes, just like in certain cultures it’s cool to treat women as objects, as being *owned* by their husbands. If you want to polish your halos about how much better you are, start by *acting* better. You hate how these women are being told how to live their lives? And yet your best suggestion is to force them to live their lives *your way*?

    As mentioned above, there are *in some cases* safety issues at play. In some cases, it’s pretty essential that someone can be identified without having to undress them. So ban burkas in those specific contexts. That makes sense, and it has nothing to do with culture, religion or even fashion.

    But “I hate them” is hardly a reason to ban anything. You can find someone who hates virtually *everything*. Aren’t we supposed to be a civilized society? One which operates on more than whims, prejudices, hate and fear?

    I’m all for relieving the plights of Afghan women, but you’re not going to do that by banning the burka in France. Instead of forcing women to wear it, you want to force them to *not* wear it?

    Here’s a radical idea: if you want to empower these women, how about given them the *choice* of what they want to wear?

    How is it more oppressive if their husband tells them to wear a burka than if an American who’s never even *met* someone wearing a burka commands that you must **not** wear it?

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Hmm….tough one. In general, I’m not a big fan of full bans on essentially safe items (hello, peanuts in schools.)

    Are burkas themselves unsafe? No. And some women may actually choose to wear them. I’ve never tried one, maybe they’re great, so why should a woman (who should have a choice of her clothing) be banned from wearing what she likes? Heck, I think more men should wear kilts – skirts are WAY cooler and more comfortable than pants or shorts when it’s 100 degrees out, so I’d hate to ever see men here banned from wearing something seen as unusual in our culture.

    However, I agree that women shouldn’t be REQUIRED to wear burkas, whether by men or the culture/faith system they were raised in. Again, women should have the choice. I’m also concerned that a ban would be a hard adjustment for women who know no other way of life. It’s not like these women probably have easy access to therapy to deal with such a big change. For some it may be freeing to not wear the burka, but for others it may be scary as hell. And removing a piece of clothing in public isn’t necessarily going to change the mindset of their families, or remove the repression at home that made them wear the burka in the first place.

    Again, tough one.

  • km:

    Through a prism of atheism of course it is ridiculous. Through a system of belief it is more understandable. Through our Western prism however we see it as something forced on women. It is a public safety issue though we should ask ourselves if that too is through a prism of belief that Muslims are criminally inclined. If safety is the issue we should insist all men be facial-hair free so we can recognize them should they commit a crime. No more bearded rabbis or hellraising Amish guys:) What about Sikhs and their turbans? What about me who changes her hair color a million times (not to mention her waist size). I must read the article. Is it specifically the burqa or chador or all head covering etc?
    I have often thought it might be liberating to be chador-ed up but my heart aches for the burka-ed women. The thick grill covering even their eyes, formless and shapeless. I read the Swallows of Kabul and the image always stays in my mind.

    And now switching gears….Just do it!

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_TWDIyi5pqlc/SleOVNP6F0I/AAAAAAAAE6U/lIH2NtQk4bg/s1600-h/Picture+2.png

  • I think Jesus just needed to learn how to accessorize. I mean those flip flops and rope belt did nothing for his figure. Maybe he should have tried a nice wedge heel and maybe a hip belt and some beads. Oh and he definitly needed some shape to his hair… lol

    Just say no to burkas. How degrading to have to always hide under a veil because you are not good enough to be seen.

  • Kirsten:

    I don’t like the idea of governments banning things that should be choices. A person’s garb should be their own choice. the rest of the world is free to deem it appropriate or not as they please but should not be able to make someone change. Yes there are those who may be forced to “choose” to wear it and yes there will be those who use it as a way to commit violence. that is the risk in a free society. there are people who say the human body is made to go barefoot, but that doesn’t mean i want people barefoot in restaurants or schools!

  • ps… I had a dream about you and your sister last night. Go on over to my blog and read all about it. Oh and you might want to keep an eye on Clay. :)

  • No, burkas should not be banned. Our government’s job is not to dress (or undress) us. That’s our moms’ jobs until we move out of the house.
    I do believe that some women like burkas, just as some like high heels. I wouldn’t wear either one of them. I find it hard to believe that anyone freely would! But I won’t stop them as I’m a live and let live kind of gal.
    Keep the government out of my closet!

  • Rechelle:

    The US is set to ban corporal punishment in schools. Some might consider this as going against freedome of religion ‘spare the rod spoil the child’ yet common sense makes it very hard to demand the right to beat a kid in school. Doesn’t common sense also tell us that Burkas only serve to oppress and control women? They should be illegal. Some freedoms should be violated. It makes us all better.

    • Clay:

      And where do you stop violating freedoms? Once the precedent is set that bell can’t be unrung. It will surely be turned against you sooner or later in the most capricious, arbitrary way.

      I don’t like burkas, and what you say about them is true, but if this ban is instituted its biggest effect will be to substantially radicalize the muslims who see it as a target attack against their faith.

  • km:

    Corporal punishment is allowed in schools??

  • km:

    googled. It’s legal in 22 states. Try hitting anyone in my family and my Irish ass will be at your desk in 15 minutes and I won’t be playing. (Memories of violent teachers flash through my mind..)

  • No, my common sense doesn’t tell me that (“Burkas only serve to oppress and control women”).

    My common sense tells me that no government and no religion should tell me what to wear. It’s oppressive either way.

    The Federal government, by design, has very limited powers (much to their angst). It should be kept that way.

    Leave dress codes to the PTA. Leave interstate trade to the Feds.

  • km:

    your AdSense advertising is now showing Islamic clothes . 70% off. The price, that is !

  • Sandra:

    Agreeing with Kat and Maria. It’s not the government’s job to dress me any more than it’s a church’s job.
    Common sense tells me that religion is stupid, but common sense is not fashion sense. A ban is as bad as a requirement.

  • I love the idea of freeing women from that god awful clothing requirement and yet find the idea of the government dictating what a woman can and cannot wear to be problematic. On the whole I side with banning the fucking things.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Burkas may serve to control and oppress women, but removing them isn’t going to make them less controlled or oppressed, only less hidden. Maybe their men won’t let them out of the house at all now. Or can control them more – perhaps a nice beating when they get home because now he could see her eyes and accuse her of glancing at another man, not having her eyes to the ground, etc. Burkas are such a small piece of the picture. A ban just seems like Band-Aid politics.

    As for public safety, or keeping your woman covered, I suppose a full-length trenchcoat with a scarf covering the head and face won’t be banned.

  • Mindy:

    Meh. I don’t like the context of the bill. I can understand banning face-covering garb in government offices, banks and the like, but all public spaces? Seems like overkill, especially since only 2,000 women in France wear a nikab or burka. The arguments against the clothing seem to be religious or philosophical in nature, rather than safety related, so it seems like just ideologue against ideologue here. What’s the point in it? Is it because it’s different than what they’re used to seeing? Why should the French government be involved in this? Aren’t there larger groups of oppressed women to worry about than the 2000 that wear nikabs or burkas? The reasoning just seems bigoted to me. Should we make it illegal for men to wear makeup and crossdress because it’s “weird” or different? Because that’s what it seems like the arguments against the clothing are worried about, rather than possible crimes committed.

    I’m not a proponent of nikabs or burkas, but I don’t see any harm in people wearing them if they want to in a restaurant or park. If they don’t want to be wearing them, then that’s a different issue altogether, and one that is better addressed by social services rather than a ban. After all, some of those women do choose to wear them (believe it or not) and why should they be punished just because there is a negative stereotype attached?

  • Honestly? It seems like attacking the symptom to me, which gives a good appearance of doing something important while not actually reducing the core problem (in this case, controlling and repressive patriarchy).

    And this does seem to be more related to the religion than to actual public safety concerns, which – unless we’re planning to ban, say, the yarmulke as well – strikes me as a tad hypocritical.

    So unless someone can convince me that this will accomplish something useful, I’d oppose it.

  • blogcruzr05:

    Adsense got it right this time. “Quality Islamic clothing at Low Price.” It illustrates your blog for you. You almost don’t have to put up pictures anymore.

  • Christine from Canada:

    I’m all for political correctness, live and let live and all, but come on! Ban this sack! It’s hardly a yarmulke or a turban or any other national garb. If a woman’s hair is so enticing, a head scarf or hijab should suffice.

    Can you IMAGINE what it must be like to have to look through a friggin’ cloth screen, for gawd’s sake?! To have to BREATHE on a hot day?

    AND the fact that nothing distinguishes one woman from the next. I remember seeing a video of a child, crying in the middle of some street, looking for its mother WHOM HE COULD NOT RECOGNIZE BECAUSE HE WAS SURROUNDED BY A SEA OF BLUE TABLECOTHS! These women have no identity. They are invisible.

    The problem is: It doesn’t stop at the burka. These women must also walk slowly, not sing, be accompanied by a male relative, blah, blah, blah. It’s a friggin’ OPPRESSIVE piece of clothing.

    Enough! Enough! Western civilization doesn’t know everything, but it sure as hell recognizes, globally, when women need help emancipating themselves. This isn’t just a religious Muslim thing, either. Women all over the world need to be educated and shown options to improve their lives. (Doctors helping those who have had female genital mutilation, and women with fistulas have always been around. Same goes for giving girls an education, or teaching women a trade/craft, or how to plant a farm. When women are educated and happy, it helps an entire society.)

    Burkas are dangerous, yes. But they’re a social disgrace. I’m ashamed that I live in an era where they’re still around.

  • I understand the intent of France’s proposed law, and I even agree with the law’s mandate to imprison any man who ‘forces’ his wife to wear a burqa. I understand that the main issue is safety, as a niqab or burqa obstruct the face, and could very easily lead to identification issues if someone is involved in a crime. But. Even if the law does pass, how will they enforce it? I presume that in a large, heavily populated country like France, their law enforcement officials have more important things to do than chase down criminal scarf-wearers.

    I think the law will, if anything, succeed only in driving the few Muslim women in France who do wear the full veil, to retreat from going in public. Whether they are wearing it willingly or not, if they are wearing a niqab or burqa, and the law says that they can’t in public without risking persecution, they simply will not leave their homes.

    I didn’t see anything in the article that said they would also ban the hijab, so I guess they could still wear that if they wanted to keep their head covered.

  • Potco:

    I want it gone as well, as well as any other religious garb. But I want it gone by teaching people to be free of their religion. I want a world full of free thinkers who understand good scientific thought and work to make a better place. I do not want to ban any religious garb, because no matter how brain washed a woman is, why should she not be able to wear what she wants. Yes, in a philosophical sense she might not be free to make another choice but in the real world she has every choice.

  • tess:

    We were recently at Universal Studios parks in Orlando, FL and I saw several women in burkas. One was sitting holding an umbrella and fanning herself. The man w/her was in comfy shorts and sandals. She looked like she was baking. I felt so sorry for her.

  • Kay in KCMO:

    While I think burqas are hideous things a ban is not the way to go. As it is now a believing Muslim woman living in a western country can go out of her house and have a job, go shopping, go to the park, etc. If the burqa is outlawed her husband will keep her at home; it’s already happened (there was an article at HuffPo a couple of weeks ago). So, which is better, wearing a burqa and being able to go out or being kept at home so you can observe your religion? What’s better for *her*? Remember, we’re talking about believers here and any argument has to be within that context. Saying, “Well, she shouldn’t think that way about herself” is irrelevant. Observant Muslim women believe they need to be covered. Period. So, prisoners in their own home or being able to go out? Choice seems obvious to me.

    Also, banning outward signs of religious observance will only serve to radicalize believers no matter what language the ban is couched in. This. Will. Happen.

    I would love it if all the believing Muslim women in the world threw off that restrictive garment, but that won’t happen until they stop believing and that’s not going to happen.

  • Kay in KCMO:
  • Action Squirrel:

    I live in a European city with a huge Muslim population. Burqas are quite rare here except perhaps in inner streets of Muslim neighborhoods or accompanying some diplomats, but Hijab (modest headscarves) are very common all over the country.

    It’s my personal observation that Muslim women wearing Hijab here are not in any way oppressed by the clothing they wear or reactions to them, but women wearing burqas always have to walk behind the accompanying male, and they don’t speak in public. There is no interaction with them whatsoever. It just doesn’t mesh in this society.

    But with a ban, I agree with those who say these women will simply be made to stay home, being further isolated. I don’t think the western world is equipped to deal with this issue.

  • Kay in KCMO:

    Ack! The blog changed all of a sudden! Holy cow!! It looks good! Congrats on the redesign. Man, is it ever different. Good job, Margot!

  • Mindy:

    Well, this is different. And you changed the name! Were you ever plugged? Nice look!

  • Cheyenne:

    Ooh, love the new site! Awesome!

  • some kid:

    Wow. New layout is freaking gorgeous.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Oh, cool!

  • Holy Crap! The new site is up!

  • Meow? Meow? Meeee-ow???
    Like when a cat strolls into the room after you’ve moved the furniture around…

  • Don’t walk around the blog in the dark until you learn where everything is…you might hit your shin on something.

  • Christine from Canada:

    I don’t give a flying fig if Muslim women themselves give me a thousand reasons why they don’t mind wearing a burka. Kidnap victims often form close bonds with their captor, and make excuses for them.

    It all starts by saying, “No more”.

    No more looking at the world through mesh.

    No more female genital mutilation. No more acid being thrown into the faces of women who are “at fault” for being raped. No more trafficking of women into prostituion. No more marrying off little girls. No more leaving them to die when they’ve torn their insides up giving birth. No more letting crippled widowed women beg for food on street corners.

    This is not an issue of “I don’t think the government should dictate what we should wear”. We wouldn’t have the heart to make our children wear a burka. Heck, we treat our pets better. It is NOT okay to wear a burka — either in western civilization, or anywhere. There ought to be a law against them. And it starts with one brave soul saying “No more”.

  • Kiara:

    The site changed! It was really disorienting at first, I even forgot what website I’d come to. It looks awesome though!
    Oh, and the add next to the burka post when I first came to the page was for Islamic clothing. I thought it was pretty funny.

  • Linda:

    Love the look and new site.

  • Love the new site and the new look!

  • Brooke:

    I’m not sure what to think. The only experiences that I’ve had with Burka clad women have been negative…but not because of the women, because of their husbands. Boo. I don’t like seeing a woman walking through Walmart grocery shopping and not making eye contact with anyone around her while her husband looks like he just stepped out of some flashy hip-hop video all decked out in chains. Not cool. I also don’t appreciate seeing a woman go in for HER obgyn appointment (because SHE is CLEARLY the one who is pregnant) only to have her ass of a husband make a scene because she isn’t supposed to look at or talk to anyone. Not okay. These women need to be given a choice; however, even given the choice, how many of them would continue to wear them out of fear? I have mixed feelings on this one.

  • Brooke:

    By the way, I like the new blog :)

  • On the one hand, I think nobody should be forced to wear a garment that covers them up in a way they don’t want. On the other hand, it seems to me that the law is basically saying “Other people shouldn’t decide what you should wear, so we’re going to decide what you shouldn’t wear”. It doesn’t make sense!

    There’s also the problem that women who, whether by free choice or not, won’t go out without burkas will end up not going out at all.

    Also, it seems hypocritical that a woman may not go out if she covers too much *or* too little. What will happen if you were to go out bare-chested? The same people who find burkas abhorrent will find your nudity equally abhorrent. To me, those demands are different only in degree, not in kind, because both are a way to police and sexualize women’s bodies.

  • Jimmy-boy:

    Banning is a serious imposition: for those of you who do not know any Muslim women who wear a burqua, I do: there are many all over the world who choose to wear it. It is part of their culture like baseball is part of yours, say. Actually – it’s much more profound than that. They would feel semi-naked in public without it.

    To get some kind of equivalent: imagine youself walking down your local high street in your underwear and you might get close to what some of these women would feel like without what they perceive to be the protection it offers. Not all of course. But some of those who choose to wear it.

    You may ask what is going on there. You might think it is imposed. You may think it is demeaning.

    Many of them think otherwise and their views do matter. They think that we with our liberal western ideas are demeaned and imposed on by our societies. They think that we do not know what freedom is.

    This ban would cause genuine suffering to many women, a number of whom will no longer be able to leave thier houses. This is a form of PC facism and I can’t support it. Of course I hate the burqua. But that’s the point: it’s just my view and I won’t impose it against the wishes of a minority group.

    I absolutely support criminalising coercion however. Any woman who is force to wear one should have the full support of the law. This is easy territory. The difficult one is what to do with children. I think that potentially a ban there is justified. One should be an adult to choose to wear a burqua.

    But: if we want to impose your views on a minority we should go and live as part of that minority for a while before doing so. How liberal are we with our desire to impose ourselves? This is very dangerous ground.

  • Beverly:

    Despite the obvious cultural bigotry of banning one type of religious apparel, the truth is that this ban will not liberate women. Do you think their husbands and fathers and brothers will say that they can now wear more revealing clothing? Or do you think they will be locked indoors because they are unable to cover up in a way that their religion dictates?

  • amy:

    I’m with you, Rechelle–my heart also leaps for joy at the thought of burkas being outlawed everywhere. Just finished Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book “Infidel” and would love to see Islam wiped from the face of the earth.

    It’s interesting, though, over at Unreasonable Faith, the discussion is leaning heavily in opposition to government regulating what people can wear. I get that but have a really hard time not wanting to ban an item of clothing that has been used solely to oppress women.

  • Ann:

    Rechelle,
    Hate the new look, much to small, a little busy in the way PW’s site is so fricking busy you’re not sure where to look. Like where are the posts anyway? Ban burkas–Hell yeah! and don’t forget the Amish prayer bonnets and Spain’s mantillas and Jewish yamikah…ooh you get the message.

  • Christine from Canada:

    A propos of your new site look: I like it!

    It reflects the new, hip, edgier Rechelle.

    Ann: See my response somewhere above yours. Burkas does not equal yarmulkes. Different things. Different things.

  • Your comment is right on target, thanks.

    Frankly, while I dislike burkas and the reasons for wearing them, I admit to an anxiety over restrictions to religious expression – especially when it involves something that impacts no one beside the participant.

    The “safety” argument is a specious one, banning burkas will not reduce crime.

    The ban is an oppressive move. Oppression leads to rebellion.

  • I think a ban is a little overboard, although I do like the whole quadrilion higher fine for men FORCING women to wear them.

    I don’t really have a problem with people wearing Burquas and think that people worried about safety should focus on crime prevention rather than punishing people who are not actually involved in criminal activities, simply because their mode of dress has been hijacked by a handful of criminals.

  • to circumvent a religious law governing what people can and cannot wear we’re going to make a secular law governing what people can and cannot wear?

    sounds like a terrible idea to me.

  • p.s. the new look is nice :-)

  • Odd that you put this up today. My younger son, who is 13, was accepted at a higher achievement program at a prestegious Catholic school here in NYC. They were on a trip today and a woman in a burka walked by. One of the “Catholic” kids (they’ve already unearthed who is and isn’t Catholic) said “Look out for the terrorist.” My son told the kid to shut up and not say things like that. The student teacher said to my son “What? Are you Jewish?” My son replied and said “No I’m offended.” Brilliant answer I thought.

  • Freth:

    Ban the Burka!

    All men should be forced to wear a dishdasha (a man dress) with an abaya in the winter. It is only right that they should cover up and conceal their “private parts” … and besides it would cut down on skin cancers. :)

  • How ironic that there is a Google ad for “Quality Islamic Clothing at Low Price” in the upper right hand corner of your blog at this very moment.

  • Sharon:

    Yes they should be banned. We’re talking about the full burka with only eye openings. If you’re comfortable with women walking around in these things, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable shopping in a store with a man in head-to-toe black sweats complete with a black ski mask. It’s about public safety.

  • Axelle the french reader:

    Hello, I’m french and even if I don’t want to participate to this debate, I just want to tell you something : burga are banned (?) from public spaces and not in current life. They can wear it in streets, for example.
    We are a atheic country and we want to defend this atheism. We have separated Church and Politic since a very long time !
    The most important part of our schools are publics (with governement implication, I mean) where we can’t have “visible” signs of religions, even catholic. We have private schools and religious schools, too, where everyone can show his own religion.
    And please, there’s noting to compare between nun’s dress and burqa !! Even if I don’t care about nuns !
    Burqa is a cage ! We don’t talk about their “foulard” or about the long dress musulman women have, we’re talking about BURQA !
    Most, I just can HOPE that in this century, women who become nuns have choosen it ! And I’m not convinced that every musulman women have choosen to wear this burqa !
    There husband choose it for them.
    But of course, don’t begin to think that musulman are all terrorist !! There’s nothing to compare. A musulman is not a terrorist !
    Sorry for my english.

    • Rechelle:

      Axelle – your English is beautiful. Thanks for commenting. It is interesting to hear the French perspective on this issue.

  • Axelle the french reader:

    I just would like to ad a point (for somone who didn’t want to participate to this debate… I talk maybe too much !), this debate, in france, went just after a police control. They have arrested a woman dressed in a burqa while she was driving. They have considered that it was very dangerous.
    Other point, you have to know that, in france, (I don’t know in others country), we can’t walk with something who could hide our entire face.
    We don’t have the right to put (sorry, I don’t know the right word) “black screen paper” on the windows of our cars, to avoid sun. For security.

    • Elisabeth:

      Axelle, hasn’t France banned all religious symbols from public places, schools and universities? Is it legal to wear a christian cross around your neck at school?

      I know there was a lot of debate about this a few years ago, but I don’t remember if the law was passed or not.

  • LucyJoy:

    Hmmm…not sure how I feel about burkas. I most certainly don’t like what they stand for, that I know, but banning…Hmmm…I generally don’t like laws that “make” us do something that we should be able to decide for ourselves, ie seatbelt laws, mandatory helmet laws, etc. I’m going to have to think about the burka thing a bit more. Wow, you sure know how to get us thinking!

  • Elisabeth:

    I think it is mainly a safety issue. Ski masks aren’t allowed in public places either in Sweden, after neonazis used them during demonstrations and riots. They know that the police was there videotaping them and covered their face.

    There have been problems with women wearing burqas and niqab in Sweden when they go to the bank, the post office or visit the authority buildings. You are always required to show some sort of ID to do this (to prevent fraud) and the staff find themself in a impossible position if the woman refuse to show her face to them and then press charges against them for “discrimination” when they refuse to serve her.

    Plus we don’t want terrorists (male or female) to get in and out of the country under a burqa. And Europe is a lot more secular than the US and our church and state are separated so we really strive for fewer visual religious symbols in the society and not more.

    The burqa wearers choose to come here and therefore I think they should accept our laws and practices.