Tuesday, September 1, 2009

France debates banning the burqa


PARIS — It is a measure of France's confusion about Islam and its own Muslim citizens that in the political furor here over "banning the burqa," as the argument goes, the garment at issue is not really the burqa at all, but the niqab.

A burqa is the all-enveloping cloak, often blue, with a woven grill over the eyes, that many Afghan women wear, and it is almost never seen in France. The niqab, often black, leaves the eyes uncovered.

Still, a movement against it that started with a Communist mayor near Lyon has gotten traction within France's ruling center-right party, which claims to be defending French values, and among many on the left, who say they are defending women's rights. A parliamentary commission will soon meet to investigate whether to ban the burqa — in other words, any cloak that covers most of the face.

The debate is indicative of the deep ambivalence about social customs among even a small minority of France's Muslim citizens, and of the signal fear that France's principles of citizens' rights, equality and secularism are being undermined. [....]


  1. And when they ban sthreimls made from real fur because it's cruel, what will we say?

  2. France has a long history of banning religions they don't like.

    So much for living in an "enlightened" age!

  3. they wont ban shechita so fast -- too similiar to halal!

  4. Coercive enforcement of the groups norms...is France a cult?

    I think that we Jews in America worry too much about the treat to the first amendment from Evangelicals blurring the distinction between Church and State and too little about the funny notion of freedom of religion as is becoming popular in Europe and among their adoring fans in America's left.


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