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RSS 17tblom1

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5 most recent arguments.
1 point

this seems like a middeven oppretion to women because it's a way of taking away there choice, and now it has become illegal in france so the "choice" of there cloths it's now not being welcomed

1 point

not that many people that put on a burka ever day so just ban it

17tblom1(6) Clarified
0 points

Predictably, this has angered opponents, who view the ban as an attack on the freedom of expression and worship. With 0.003 per cent of the French population wearing the burqa/niqab, and in an era in which many extreme behaviours are often tolerated, why does a piece of cloth generate such highly-charged debate?

17tblom1(6) Clarified
1 point

President Nicholas Sarkozy has declared: “We cannot accept that in our country some women will be imprisoned behind a fence cut off from all social life, deprived of identity. This is not a principle that the French republic has about women’s dignity.” He called the bill to ban the burqa a “moral choice”, and similar laws are now being considered across Europe

1 point

President Nicholas Sarkozy has declared: “We cannot accept that in our country some women will be imprisoned behind a fence cut off from all social life, deprived of identity. This is not a principle that the French republic has about women’s dignity.” He called the bill to ban the burqa a “moral choice”, and similar laws are now being considered across Europe.

Predictably, this has angered opponents, who view the ban as an attack on the freedom of expression and worship. With 0.003 per cent of the French population wearing the burqa/niqab, and in an era in which many extreme behaviours are often tolerated, why does a piece of cloth generate such highly-charged debate?

First, the ban strikes a practical balance between individual liberties and the wider security concerns of the community. It should be noted that the ban will not affect the hijab, the most common type of headscarf worn by Muslim women in the West that covers the hair only. It recognises individuals’ right to cover their heads and bodies in deference to the time-honoured religious principles of female modesty and respect. The issue of contention is in covering one’s face. Second, the French bill does not seek to ban the burqa in private homes, but in public spaces, including post offices, banks and public transportation.

It is also important to note that the ban is not specifically targeting Islamic women. The draft legislation stipulates that “no one can, in the public space, wear clothing intended to hide the face”. Under the legislation, all facial coverings, including helmets and balaclavas, would be prohibited. Indeed, it is reasonable that civilians expect not to encounter masked strangers in public spaces. Accountable and healthy participation in society fundamentally requires identification: the need to be able to recognise our fellow citizens and be recognisable in turn. Lifting the veil upon request does not resolve this issue.

The burqa creates a one-way window through which some members of society are recognisable, while others remain invisible. This is a rather confronting prospect with which to be faced, especially when you are the one who cannot see the person staring back at you. It is not a manifestation of so-called ‘Islamophobia’. It is a basic principle of social cohesion that has developed since time immemorial and is especially important in advanced, mobile-age economies such as ours that place a very high premium on successful communication and interpersonal relations. According to Jean-Francois Cope of The New York Times, the burqa prevents women from engaging in socially meaningful lives, thus undermining employability and the ability to climb the socio-economic ladder.

No doubt, the burqa has a range of meanings for the women who wear it, and speaking from a predominantly Western perspective, it is difficult to appreciate these fully. However, the burqa’s origins lie not in the Qur’an, but rather in an extremely conservative interpretation of Islam known as Salafism. This interpretation is commonly associated with countries such as Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, where the burqa is mandated by Sharia law, which also forbids women from driving, leaving the home without supervision or engaging in various socio-economic interactions, including minor medical procedures, without the consent of a male ‘guardian’.

It is difficult – perhaps even naive – to separate “choice” from the fundamentalist and inherently gender-biased religio-cultural context in which it is made, especially since the burqa is usually worn by immigrants from these Gulf regions. This is a particularly jarring concept, given that it sits contrary to the ideals of universal human rights, gender equality and individuality.

In the alternative, if their “choice” turns out to be the result of fully autonomous, informed decision-making, the legislature may have no basis for imposing its whim on a woman’s fashion sense. But what if the women inside genuinely need help? Or a platform for liberation? Instead, political correctness is tying the tongues of those who would normally be at the fore to campaign for women’s rights. Unfortunately, evidence points to coercion as being at least one factor that influences women in wearing burqas.

A piece of cloth is just that; but various moral and security dilemmas arise when that cloth is used to entrench social invisibility. Ultimately, the burqa is a visible statement of separateness that entrenches differences and creates distance between its wearer and society. To borrow the words of the South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi, “it’s symbolic barrier is far greater than the measure of cloth it is created from”.

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