Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To Burqa or Not to Burqa

There you go again, Niko. Thanks a lot, Mr. President, for declaring that the burqa is not welcome in France and suggesting that it may possibly violate a slew of French laws related to the wearing of religious symbols and women's rights. Now Al Qaeda has gone and issued a threat against France, "by every means and wherever we can reach them." Yeah, I've been through this before. I was just five blocks from the White House on September 11th, there was anthrax in my neighborhood post office later that fall, and my community was terrorized by a deranged sniper for weeks in 2002. By comparison, living in Paris seemed pretty safe.

France banned wearing of religous symbols in schools back in 2004. But it didn't limit religious expression in daily life and you still see folks on the street in yamulkes, turbans, head scarves, and yes, the occasional burqa.

I didn't bring any plastic sheeting and duct tape with me to Paris but there's still time to assemble my emergency survival kit. A panel has been convened of lawmakers from various parties to look into weather the burqa poses a threat to the secular nature of the French constitution. Recommendations are due in six months.


Anonymous said...

I disagree with you slightly. I agree that Sarko probably went too far in calling for a total ban of the burqa, but the burqa cannot be compared with the yamulke or head scarf, for example. The burqa is a form of repression, is unsafe (i.e., from a security point of view), and is antisocial. I hope that the French legislators won't be cowed by Al Qaeda and back down on this.

Starman said...

The turban is not a religious symbol. You might want to re-think who the enemy is in reality. Al Qaida is not the massive organization it is made out to be in the "news" media.

Nathalie said...

I do wish people, by which I mean everyone, would stop telling women what to wear.

And Starman, the turban is certainly a religious symbol for Sikhs, as has been recognised in many parts of the world by allowing Sikh exemptions from the legal necessity to wear a motorbike helmet, or whatever an on-duty police officer would usually be expected to wear on his (or sometimes her - some Sikh women also wear turbans) head.

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