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Author Topic: Your thoughts regarding Banning Burqas
HimuraKenshin
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Hi all,

I'm rather new here (meaning I mostly read, and almost never write in the forum [Smile] ) so Hi again!

Recently I read a bit about france banning the wear of burqas by muslim women. To anyone who is neither familiar with Burqas, or the banning of such here's a link:
Burqa_Ban

This ban of course seemed to me quite odd: Is it our place to start ordering about people what to wear? What about the freedom to practice religion? Its a matter of personal choice, so what is really different between the Burqa and the "jewish" Sheitel?
Wouldn't many of us start calling the french antisemetic if they started banning costumary jewish clothing? Or (heaven forbid) even christian clothing?
Even as a non-religious person this ban seems to me in many aspects just... Silly. Or anachronist. Belongs to previous centuries. Perhaps even to times when burning witches was a favorite pastime..

So I'd be happy to hear your thoughts regarding to the subject. (Pro/against/who-cares? [Wink] )

-HK (which is still the display name since I didn't quite find where/how to change it [Confused] )

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starLisa
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As far as Europe is concerned, I don't really care. As far as the US is concerned, I would be against them banning burqas.

And the French tend to be antisemitic, so your example isn't much of a stretch.

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Grant
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I have no problem with Burqas being worn in the US. As far as I know, no woman is being forced to wear a Burqa in the US, unless it is through peer, family, or religious pressure. In all those cases, a woman can simply walk away. If her family beats her, then they go to jail.
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cherrypoptart
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I don't know of any other religion that has an outfit that hides your face so well like that. So it's not completely just an attack on Muslims but the government wanting to be able to identify people. I looked at the picture of that sheitel and it looks like from what it covers, there wouldn't be much point to banning it because of identification concerns unless humans had our faces in the backs of our heads instead of the front. Nobody has been talking about banning the male headdresses or the long flowing white blouses the Muslim men wear that allow cool breezes to flow through them and caress your skin so softly. Oh, goose bumps…

But if ninjas wanted to walk around in the middle of France with their fancy yet fashionable all black outfits (out of style this season, by the way), they'd probably get stopped the same way someone wearing the full burqa will now.

Hockey players would probably be asked to remove their masks as well, and people going to the ski slopes with their ski masks on along with them.

I'm sure it doesn't help though that so much of the terrorism nowadays is coming from fundamentalist Islamists, and protests like this one probably aren't likely to improve matters:

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1590608.php/Report-West-African-kidnappers-demand-France-annul-burqa-ban

----------------------------------------------

On freedom of religion, if someone thinks that Muslim women should be able to wear the burqa would that only apply to Muslim women?

Or could some big redneck from Texas wear a burqa with his cowboy boots if he has some sort of weird fetish?

The point there is that religious freedom shouldn't give one group more rights or freedom than any other. If Muslims can wear the Burqa, then anyone should be able to wear similar get-ups regardless of their religion. Otherwise, it's discrimination against people for their lack of religion which is just as bad as discriminating against people because of their religion.

------------------------------------------

I don't know if we need the burqa ban yet. Have there been some crimes committed by people using the burqa to hide their identities? I haven't heard about it so the burqa ban may be premature.

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Viking_Longship
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It must be a blue moon because I find myself in agreement with Cherry.

I think Europe is getting to the point that their tolerance (mistaken both by many muslims and Americans for weakness) is getting exhausted.

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Pete at Home
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Banning Burqas? Religious discrimination.

Banning walking around in public in any sort of masque except on Halloween? Fine.

If Muslim Fundies want to practice their religion on Haloween, dandy.

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Finvarra
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It seems obvious to me, based on the timing of of this debate and based on specific statements made by Sarkozy and other prominent French politicians that the reason this issue has surfaced recently has much less to do with the way in which a Burqa could help conceal a weapon or disguise someone about to commit a crime or act of terrorism than it has to do with protecting the national French character.

The process of secularizing the French state, in contrast with the American model, had much more to do with protecting the State from the Church than it did with protecting the Church from the State. This stems largely from the obstructive role the Church played during the French Revolution, but is not limited to that.

The reforms passed over a century ago under President Jules Ferry effectively removed the Church from public education and furthered the concept that the public school system was not simply an educational institution but an institution that was designed to graduate French citizens well versed in republican ideals.

The belief in France that its secular, republican national identity is under attack by an influx of deeply religious immigrants who have shown an inability or a lack of desire to assimilate is not necessarily rooted in extreme racism or xenophobia, and characterizing such concerns as such is as misleading to me as suggesting that this debate is about protecting Muslim women from gender-based social injustice.

Muslim women don't want "help" from the state. That's just not what this is about, even if some might support the ban for this reason.

Judge Tulkens wrote in the dissent for a german case on this issue, “Equality and non-discrimination are subjective rights which must remain under the control of those who are entitled to benefit from them.” Even if it is hard for certain Western feminists or politicians to comprehend how Muslim women might not view wearing the veil as symbol of their own subservience, they do not have the right to make this value judgment themselves and impose it upon women who disagree. In fighting what they believe to be gender discrimination within the Muslim community, these feminists are practicing racial, ethnic, and cultural discrimination by the majority women upon a minority. There are numerous reasons why young Muslim women choose to dress in a certain way, including a desire to avoid the very sexual objectification that many of the same feminists decry in other contexts. Yet these reasons have been ignored or marginalized by feminists who dismiss the viewpoints (and essentially the very autonomy) of these women by arguing that such beliefs are a result of false consciousness, that they simply do not understand what is in their best interests.

Opponents to the ban of religious symbols in the public schools argued (and I think the evidence supports their arguments) that even ignoring the girls who do genuinely want to wear the veil, (or by extension the burqa) the ban does very little to protect women, living in France, that are actually being coerced through threats and acts of abuse by male family members. Religious families that forced girls to cover themselves against their will pulled the girls from school when that was no longer an option.

Where the ban actually has an effect is in combatting the indoctrination of parental and religious authorities of young girls whose characters are still being formed and in creating a Muslim community in France that is at the very least more clearly disassociated from the part of the Muslim immigrant population that does legitimately pose a threat to traditional French values.

Clearly some level of balance needs to be found between the state's legitimate right to encourage certain values and to combat injustice with the state's duty to respect certain religious freedoms and the rights of parents to raise their children according to the religion of their choice. As an atheist I may be biased but I don't honestly have an issue with a secular state actively trying to discourage the immigration of a religious population that will (even if you feel it shouldn't) have a much harder time assimilating to French culture and adopting French values.

Banning the headscarf in the public schools and now the burqa in public is not finding a balance; it's throwing your hands in the air and saying that Islam is just so incompatible with notions of French republicanism that we might as well call it quits. It is not an attempt to find common understanding, that I believe does exist, and will not only further incite incidents of violence like Cherry mentioned, but further alienate "moderate" Muslim families that treat women with more or less the same level of respect or lack of respect as their Catholic, French, American etc counterparts and view (correctly) all this as a much larger attack on their religion.

The ban of both the headscarf in the public schools and the burqa in the public sphere is in my opinion wrong, not because the state doesn't have a legitimate interest in shaping its national identity and of encouraging the immigration of populations seeking to conform to such ideals, but because these bans are not an effective means of solving the problems that have been identified. This will not lead to a "moderation" of French Muslim immigrants. It will lead to a more fragmented society and the emergence of an even more alienated Muslim community that sees the many ways in which ignorance, racism and xenophobia have contributed to the formation of what they perceive to be anti-Muslim policy. This will radicalize the Muslim community further, not serve as a force of moderation. The only reason to make this move is if a type of compromise is impossible and its simply time for France to cut its losses. I hope that in America we never feel that we have reached that point.

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Pete at Home
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A better law might be, whoever threatens or otherwise coerces a woman into wearing a Burkha or headscarf shall have his face and hands tattooed with large passages from The Satanic Verses.
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HimuraKenshin
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
I don't know of any other religion that has an outfit that hides your face so well like that. So it's not completely just an attack on Muslims but the government wanting to be able to identify people.

I'm not sure if that was the purpose of the legistlation. Why not put it simply as "People are not entitled to wear cloths that completely hide their features?" Why specifically target burqas? Why, perhaps we should altogather forbid beards/hair of extreme length too [Smile] (And then what would *I* do...?)

quote:

...But if ninjas wanted to walk around in the middle of France with their fancy yet fashionable all black outfits (out of style this season, by the way)...

Ninjas are very fashionable mind you. Look at how good anime market flourishes everywhere! [Smile]

quote:

I'm sure it doesn't help though that so much of the terrorism nowadays is coming from fundamentalist Islamists, and protests...

Yes I agree that threatning with terrorist acts does little to improve the situation here. But I also suspect that terrorist organizations aim to do just that: creating clashes between the muslim population and the government might just help them get more recruits.

All in all I feel that banning burqas is a wee bit silly, which is to say that it is just arbitrary, no more than banning say, pink-dotted hats (which is, unlike ninjas, truely out of fashion [Smile] )

-HK

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Viking_Longship
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Finvarra

Attaturk banned the headscarf from all government buildings including schools in Turkey and he had a pretty good familiarity with Islam. Turkish women often have very strong feelings about headcarves which seldom have much to do with Islam per se and a lot to do with an attitude towards women even that garment, let alone the burqa, bring with them.

Himurra
It would have been more PC for some of the labor laws France passed a few years ago to be tacked to length of employment rather than age of employee too. I guess to them this is going straight to the goal rather than getting it from the side.

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Pyrtolin
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It's a hard line to judge, especially because it's hard to tel where cultural pride ends and destructive psychological abuse begins. On the balance I'd say that this is a battle fought on purely cultural grounds, but with a clear public support system in place to help get people out of abusive situations as soon as they become apparent.

quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
I have no problem with Burqas being worn in the US. As far as I know, no woman is being forced to wear a Burqa in the US, unless it is through peer, family, or religious pressure. In all those cases, a woman can simply walk away. If her family beats her, then they go to jail.

You would do well to learn even the smallest bit about the psychological effects of abuse before making assertions from complete ignorance like that.

Odds are, by the time any beating occurs, she already believes that she deserves it, and that worse things will happen if she tries to leave these people that she's "forcing" to do this to her.

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TheRallanator
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I'm all for having police keep an eye out for women who aren't wearing culturally appropriate clothes, and I believe the best response to the problem of men abusing and exploiting women is to punish the women. How else are we going to show fundamentalist islamic theocracies that we reject their oppressive ways?
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Pete at Home
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Hk, if the silly fremch are just going after the nurkha, cant the requirements of fundy Islam be satisfied by putting women in something that covers body and face, like a giant bear costume?
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Viking_Longship
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Perhaps the goal is less concern for the rights of women than concern for maintaining French cultural norms.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
Perhaps the goal is less concern for the rights of women than concern for maintaining French cultural norms.

if you look at the history of human rights -- both the ones we have now that we didn't used to have, and the ones that we used to have that we don't have anymore -- you might wonder how many of what we think of as rights, really are manifestations of our cultural norms and expectations.
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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
Perhaps the goal is less concern for the rights of women than concern for maintaining French cultural norms.

No, the concern is tapping into a rising wave of anti-islamic sentiment in the community. The public has a bee in its bonnet and has decided that Something Needs To Be Done, and woe to any politician foolish enough to vote against this law or attempt to point out that it doesn't actually achieve anything.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator:
quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
Perhaps the goal is less concern for the rights of women than concern for maintaining French cultural norms.

No, the concern is tapping into a rising wave of anti-islamic sentiment in the community. The public has a bee in its bonnet and has decided that Something Needs To Be Done, and woe to any politician foolish enough to vote against this law or attempt to point out that it doesn't actually achieve anything.
Doesn't do anything? Sure it does something. It makes sure that any woman who can't or won't give up her burqa will stay home and out of sight where he family can protect her from accidentally saying anything that might make people think she was being abused.
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HimuraKenshin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Hk, if the silly fremch are just going after the nurkha, cant the requirements of fundy Islam be satisfied by putting women in something that covers body and face, like a giant bear costume?

Unfortunately, I tend to agree with Pyrtolin - in all likelihood banning burqas will just serve to limit the freedom of muslim women much more, for without the burqa how will they still adhere to their religion? They'll be pressured and forced to staying at home.

Which is a rather childish way of the french to dealing with the "problem" of religious wear.
But you know what? You might be onto something: Wearing a giant bear costum might just as well be a very interesting way of protest [Smile] Someone should suggest it to the muslim community in france - "Bear instead of Burqa" day [Smile]

-HK

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RickyB
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A couple of Muslim chicks mocked this law as it should be mocked by running around Paris in Burkas - and hot pants and high heels... [Big Grin]
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
I have no problem with Burqas being worn in the US. As far as I know, no woman is being forced to wear a Burqa in the US, unless it is through peer, family, or religious pressure. In all those cases, a woman can simply walk away. If her family beats her, then they go to jail.

Do you really think it is that simple?
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by HimuraKenshin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Hk, if the silly fremch are just going after the [burkha], cant the requirements of fundy Islam be satisfied by putting women in something that covers body and face, like a giant bear costume?

Unfortunately, I tend to agree with Pyrtolin - in all likelihood banning burqas will just serve to limit the freedom of muslim women much more, for without the burqa how will they still adhere to their religion? They'll be pressured and forced to staying at home.

Which is a rather childish way of the french to dealing with the "problem" of religious wear.
But you know what? You might be onto something: Wearing a giant bear costum might just as well be a very interesting way of protest [Smile] Someone should suggest it to the muslim community in france - "Bear instead of Burqa" day [Smile]

-HK

It's the "Bear-qa." Unfortunately the french word for bear is "ourse," pronounced "oors," so the pun is lost.

Alternately, they could wear a big mumu, and a face-mask of President Sarkozy.

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HimuraKenshin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
It's the "Bear-qa." Unfortunately the french word for bear is "ourse," pronounced "oors," so the pun is lost.

Alternately, they could wear a big mumu, and a face-mask of President Sarkozy.

Alas, and I already had an arsenal of them! "Bear with the Burqa" tolerance day for example [Smile]

-HK

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Mormegil
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Banning burquas is an outrage oppression of personal liberty.

Any of the stuff about "it could apply to people in ninja outfits" is just bogus. There are not women in burquas running around causing mayhem and committing crimes. Let's drop that one right now.

I don't believe for a minute that any of the proponents of such a ban had "let's protect woman from being oppressed into wearing one" as their motive. It's just something that sounds good to take attention of the fact they are oppressing women themselves by definitely taking away deeply held religious freedom, because the women *might* have been pressured.

It's about "muslims are terrorists." That's all it is. That is all it is.

On another site I visit, people are generally all in favor of a ban... because to them, all religion is stupid and they really have no problem limiting religious freedom, because religion is stupid anyway. So, that's the company you're in if you want to ban burquas. Which isn't company that respects the founding principles of the United States. I know it's European countries doing the banning, but I'm talking about Americans who support such a thing. They support something that would be blatantly criminal in the US. Wonderful.

Yep, let's ban burquas and GI Joe's two-inch rifle from airports. That'll make us safe.

I wish people would quit being such cowards though. So people are muslim, and dress differently. SO WHAT?!

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Viking_Longship
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So what shall we do, invade France and insist that France obey OUR constitution? I would not do that France any more than I would do it to Iran or our "ally" Saudi Arabia
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Mormegil:
Banning burquas is an outrage oppression of personal liberty.

Any of the stuff about "it could apply to people in ninja outfits" is just bogus. There are not women in burquas running around causing mayhem and committing crimes. Let's drop that one right now.

What makes me want Burkhas and other masked outfits banned is the Elizabeth Smart story, which had NOTHING to do with Muslims. Those bastards kept an underage kidnapped rape slave whose face was on practically on every post and wall in the country, under everyone's nose, in a Burkha.

Never again.

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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator:
quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
Perhaps the goal is less concern for the rights of women than concern for maintaining French cultural norms.

No, the concern is tapping into a rising wave of anti-islamic sentiment in the community. The public has a bee in its bonnet and has decided that Something Needs To Be Done, and woe to any politician foolish enough to vote against this law or attempt to point out that it doesn't actually achieve anything.
Doesn't do anything? Sure it does something. It makes sure that any woman who can't or won't give up her burqa will stay home and out of sight where he family can protect her from accidentally saying anything that might make people think she was being abused.
That's just one of its many benefits. It also lets legislators talk up how they're being tough on islamofascism without having to do anything that'll actually cost the taxpayer money [Big Grin]
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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
So what shall we do, invade France and insist that France obey OUR constitution? I would not do that France any more than I would do it to Iran or our "ally" Saudi Arabia

Wait, who's suggesting we should do anything except point and snigger at France?
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Pete at Home
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I am. Ban masks in public except for specific events like Halloween. Islam isn't the problem.
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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I am. Ban masks in public except for specific events like Halloween. Islam isn't the problem.

The authorities in an awful lot of countries (including a lot of western democracies where they're supposed to play fair) have a long and exciting history of identifying people at protests and conducting campaigns of surveillance or intimidation based on nothing more than the political leanings of the protesters. Banning masks in public curtails anonymous speech, and limiting or removing anonymous speech can have a chilling effect on the sort of free exchange of ideas that's necessary to the health of a free and democratic society.

Also, I can't really think of any pressing public concerns which make it a terrible thing for people to go out in public with their faces covered.

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Pete at Home
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Can't think of any? What about sex trafficking, and missing children?

quote:
Smart testified last week that she accompanied Mitchell and Barzee to California after a police officer questioned them at the public library in Salt Lake City. The police officer, Jon Richey, testified last week that a caller who claimed the young woman wearing the veil had Elizabeth Smart's eyes, brought him to the library.

She wore a veil, and Mitchell refused to let the officer lift it, saying their religion prohibited anyone but the young woman's husband to see her face.

Afterwards, Smart testified, an additional veil shielded her eyes because, as Mitchell told her: "The world wasn't ready for that light in my eyes."


Note that when folks could see her face, they could see that something was wrong, and alerted authorities:

quote:
Trevelin Colianni, a disabled Navy veteran, testified that he saw the hitchhikers at a Burger King in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The teenager "had kind of a grayish wig on and a scarf around it, sunglasses, and a look that I'll never forget. She was very frightened, very nervous," he told the jury.

The man had a hold on the young woman's wrist and led her around, he said. "She never looked like she moved on her own."

He said he told his wife, "something's not right" and called police. Colianni was asked what compelled him to call the police.

"The look in that little girl's face."



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Hannibal
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Why banning the Burka is bad, banning the swastica is good ?
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Unfortunately, I tend to agree with Pyrtolin - in all likelihood banning burqas will just serve to limit the freedom of muslim women much more, for without the burqa how will they still adhere to their religion? They'll be pressured and forced to staying at home.
Nobody cares about the freedom of Muslim women. This is not the purpose of the law. As others have noted, the law is purely a backlash against Islam in French culture. People see a threat against their way of life and they're lashing out. As they should, since Islam is fundamentally incompatible with a French way of life.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
As others have noted, the law is purely a backlash against Islam in French culture. People see a threat against their way of life and they're lashing out. As they should, since Islam is fundamentally incompatible with a French way of life.
When Turkey banned the hijab in public buildings, was that done because Islam is fundamentally incompatible with the Turkish way of life as well?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
Unfortunately, I tend to agree with Pyrtolin - in all likelihood banning burqas will just serve to limit the freedom of muslim women much more, for without the burqa how will they still adhere to their religion? They'll be pressured and forced to staying at home.
Nobody cares about the freedom of Muslim women. This is not the purpose of the law. As others have noted, the law is purely a backlash against Islam in French culture. People see a threat against their way of life and they're lashing out. As they should, since Islam is fundamentally incompatible with a French way of life.
That's completely inside out- law should be about about preserving freedom and protecting people from harm, not a tool to preserve any given culture, even though current culture may exert short term influence on the law and there are certainly cultural ramifications to the structure of the law. Trying to directly impose culture through law (as opposed to doing so incidentally by way of blocking oppressive aspects of a culture) is essentially codifying oppression.

That's why burqas are such a sticky issue- while the fundamental duty of the law is to protect people from using them as a form of oppression, it's not clear that an outright ban serves to do anything but compound that oppression.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
That's completely inside out- law should be about about preserving freedom and protecting people from harm, not a tool to preserve any given culture, even though current culture may exert short term influence on the law and there are certainly cultural ramifications to the structure of the law. Trying to directly impose culture through law (as opposed to doing so incidentally by way of blocking oppressive aspects of a culture) is essentially codifying oppression.
You can either be oppressed by codifying a tolerant culture that welcomes all cultures (provided they are themselves tolerant) or you can be oppressed by the gradual ascendance of fundamentally intolerant cultures that seek to destroy tolerant cultures from within.

I don't see the banning of the Burqa as particularly effective public policy, frankly. But what it stands for, the backlash against Islam's insidious creep into western societies, is beneficial. It indicates that the host nation still has a healthy immune system. Maybe it signifies that a much needed backlash against Islam is coming.

quote:
When Turkey banned the hijab in public buildings, was that done because Islam is fundamentally incompatible with the Turkish way of life as well?
Nope.
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KidTokyo
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quote:
Banning masks in public curtails anonymous speech, and limiting or removing anonymous speech can have a chilling effect on the sort of free exchange of ideas that's necessary to the health of a free and democratic society.
Um...the internet?

Or did your parents actually name you "The Rallanator?"

Personally, I'm with Star Lisa. I would not want to see this in the U.S., but I'll leave it to France to decide. Obviously, being able to see one another's face is a deeply-held value in France. I'm not going to mock that any more than I'm going to mock anyone's religion, as it is entirely possible for secular values to be held with as much passion and integrity as religious values. Saying that your beliefs are "religious" doesn't make them better.

I'm not concerned about the welfare of Muslim women any more or less than that of other women, and I do support personal choice in all matters. But I also believe in respecting a culture, and it bothers me that a certain group of persons wants to live within a society and completely flaunt a total lack of interest in that society's norms. I would feel the same way about a French woman in Iran insisting on her right to wear the latest Paris summer-skimp while strolling through a small farming village.

This issue about "what is best for Muslim women is France" seems an unfortunate distraction. Why does France suddenly have to accommodate people who have no interest in being French?

If they want total freedom, they should go to America, who's greatness is based on basically not giving a shyte about these things. The world needs an America, but it doesn't follow that America is a role model for the world. America is here for the outcasts.

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JWatts
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I definitely don't have a problem with France banning the Burqa, but I'd be against a blanket ban in the US.

Of course, banks and Federal buildings, etc always have the choice to apply conditions on entry, much as they restrict bringing firearms into the building.

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Pete at Home
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French banned the Burkas as cover for a broader suppression of religion; crucifixes and Jewish skullcaps were banned as well from schools. French Atheist statism is a jealous god that will have no other gods before it.
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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
quote:
As others have noted, the law is purely a backlash against Islam in French culture. People see a threat against their way of life and they're lashing out. As they should, since Islam is fundamentally incompatible with a French way of life.
When Turkey banned the hijab in public buildings, was that done because Islam is fundamentally incompatible with the Turkish way of life as well?
The Turkish relationship with Islam is pretty conflicted.
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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
French banned the Burkas as cover for a broader suppression of religion; crucifixes and Jewish skullcaps were banned as well from schools. French Atheist statism is a jealous god that will have no other gods before it.

I find that far less plausible than this being a move to let the Muslims see the handwriting on the wall.
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