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Should France Outlaw The Burka?

June 22, 2009

Many readers might recall the somewhat recent controversy in France regarding Islamic headscarves.  They are now banned in public schools there.  But now another interesting dilemma is facing France, and Muslims.    Are burka’s representative of a religious code, or a stifling  of women’s potential and place in society?

And how does one strike a balance?

While the burka is a wretchedly uncomfortable garment, and one that few (one must assume) would voluntary wear, I think it best left to the individual to make the choice.  As long as one is not forced to wear it, then I think it fine.  Modernity will ultimately win out, and the burka will be a museum piece one day.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken out strongly against the wearing of the burka by Muslim women in France.

In a major policy speech, he said the burka – a garment covering women from head to toe – reduced them to servitude and undermined their dignity.

Mr Sarkozy also gave his backing to the establishment of a parliamentary commission to look at whether to ban the wearing of burkas in public.

In 2004, France banned the Islamic headscarves in its state schools.

“We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity,” Mr Sarkozy told a special session of parliament in Versailles.

“That is not the idea that the French republic has of women’s dignity.

“The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic,” the French president said.

But he stressed that France “must not fight the wrong battle”, saying that “the Muslim religion must be respected as much as other religions” in the country.

A group of a cross-party lawmakers is already calling for a special inquiry into whether Muslim women who wear the burka is undermining French secularism, the BBC’s Emma Jane Kirby in Paris says.

The lawmakers also want to examine whether women who wear the veil are doing so voluntarily or are being forced to cover themselves, our correspondent says.

  1. Shere permalink
    June 23, 2009 9:13 AM

    I say Bravo! My daughter lived in Ryahd for several years, just moved to Bahrain and I can tell you from my 4 month visit to Saudi that everyday I wanted to call the King and discuss the burka. It has nothing to do with the Muslim religion. It has something to do with a war several 100 years ago. My daughter is married to a wonderful Muslim man and I can tell you from all the very nice young people I met while in Ryahd, the Burka, and Abia (black robe) is not worn for any reason except for the religous police that will take you away. The Muslims believe in modesty, and the burka is a symbol of every prophet words taken out of text. I think modesty might have a place in our world, I really dislike seeing young girls dressing like hookers, and I thank God I had the good sence to teach my daughters to dress with class. In the beautiful Malls in Ryahd young girls flock to the bathrooms to put on massive eye makeup, so they can look sexy and older for the purpose of attracting young men, which is crazy because it’s against the law for them to talk to each other. I respect the Muslim religion but it seems the Muslims aren’t reading or practicing what the message of Mohamad . Sorry about the spelling. And the other thing I wanted to discuss with the King, Do you realize how extremely hot it is in Ryhad during the summer, those robes and scarfs, he prefers black, are made from polyester and the men are walking around in a very nice white cotten outfit. Brava president Sarkozy, these women are NOT wearing this crap voluntarily. No reason unles they have been brainwashed, It’s HOT, it’s depressing and I think it’s probally pissing off God.

  2. ennY permalink
    June 23, 2009 8:23 AM

    BAN THEM! If a Western woman was to go to a country where burkas were required, she’d be expected to wear one. She’d be forced to assimilate, right?

    Why is it different the other way around? Or is Western society not allowed to have it’s own “culture” and expected norms? If we allow “anything” to be transferred over from other world cultures then Westernized society will eventually mold into whatever culture has the largest population here.

    Not that I think it can be stopped… There are too many weak leaders afraid to “insult” some group and spend their time trying to stay PC and not step on toes. Someday this lunacy will have to stop. If it doesn’t, this world will not be worth living in, and the very “freedom” these PC idiots think they are promoting will be a distant memory.

    Call me crazy… Just you wait and see.

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