Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Burqa ban in France

Last week, the lower house of France's overwhelmingly voted to ban the burqa in public places.Why is this a big deal? Well a Muslim population that already feels hounded and looked down upon,will further feel the West is out to get them.
I have mixed feelings about this Being born and brought up in India, where secularism means accommodation of every religion,(its a unique brand of secularism.. found only in India) I personally would not support the burqa ban. On principle, why stop someone from wearing a burqa when we don't stop them from wearing a mini-skirt. But you can turn around and say, why allow the burqa in Paris, when you can't expect to see a mini-skirt in Saudi Arabia?
But saying the burqa is a mere article of clothing like the mini-skirt is an understatement.
Its a reflection of attitudes towards women. From what I understand, a burqa is supposed to keep Men from having impure thoughts about women. So women are objectified as mere vessels of temptation by one interpretation. Its a reflection of the truly unequal status accorded to women. On principle I cannot find any reason to condemn France's burqa ban. But any true reform cannot be imposed from outside , it will have to come from within.
On a side note, I found it interesting that 2/3rds of Americans did not support a ban on burqa's while 80% of Europeans support it.
So maybe its time to revise the opinion n who the Great Satan is?

1 comment:

Noam said...

If Europe is famous for something, it's for religious intolerance. Whether burning protestants at the stake, slaughtering Muslims on crusades, or gassing Jews in concentration camps, this is their thing. Religious tolerance is an American thing, and we haven't done a good job at exporting it.

The ban on the burqa still permits the niqab. So really, there's not much of an effect, and it may be helping women who are forced to wear the burqa against their will. On the other hand, it does send a message of religious war to the Muslim world, since it's not the first law targeting Muslims, after the French ban on overtly religious dress in school and the Swiss ban on minarets. Fodder for the extremists who respond with violence, and for the anti-Muslim bigots in Europe. So is it really for the greater good?