Woman, 28, stopped by police in shopping centre car park north-west...


I know we've discussed the rights and wrongs of the burqa ban endlessly before, but Monday was an historic day in France and deserves some notice. 

In my opinion all legislation is a crude mechanism for controlling human behaviour, and there's always an inbalance between competing public goods, but I welcome the burqa ban.

I know there's a small minority of French women who feel their right to express religious freedom by covering their faces has been trampled on. I'd support their position if there were incontrovertible evidence that all women who wear face veils "for religious reasons" do so entirely of their own free will. In fact, I feel really pissed off when I see a few privileged women whingeing about their "right" to wear what they want when they know damn well there are millions of muslim women all over the world who are forcibly (and often brutally) denied that very same right. They should be ashamed of themselves. 

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Well, it's kind of all messed up, because demonstrating 'against her will' is freaking impossible.  It's a blanket-ban or nothing.
I suspect that may be a false dichotomy. If a woman is being forced or threatened into doing something against her will, there are other avenues she can explore for safety and redress. Maybe some don't know about them or maybe some are afraid to take them, but they are there. The burqa ban is a meat-axe approach to social engineering where a scalpel would be more appropriate. It cuts into the bone of civil liberty as well as the problem it's intended to address. 

... there are other avenues she can explore for safety and redress.


That's not the problem, though.  They're more worried about the women held in mental bondage.


And ... come on Hugh, come back to reality here, with us.  When was the last time you've ever seen a government act with a scalpel, rather than an axe?  I'm not sure governments are capable of acting with such delicacy.  They pass huge, sweeping laws and then iron out the details in the courts.

If someone has to do something against their will, it's going to be hard to get them to admit it, don't you think?

Why should there be a requirement that all women wear face veils only of their own free will before you decide a law like this is an infringement on religious freedom? Civil liberties are the properties of individuals not groups, so that doesn't make sense to me. If the law had stated that no one should be forced to wear a burqa, I would have no problem with it. That's not what it does though.

It's the only way to address the issue, though.  The cultural acclimation and security issues are viable reasons for it, in my opinion, even if they're not the primary motivating factor.

Why should there be a requirement that all women wear face veils only of their own free will before you decide a law like this is an infringement on religious freedom?


I think you mistook me, Hugh. I'm not saying all women have to be free before the burqa ban can be deemed an infringement of civil liberties. It IS an infringement, but the privileged women who ARE in a position to choose shouldn't be wingeing about the infringement on their civil liberties while so many others are suffering a much greater form of oppression. And by complaining and making an issue of it, they are actively working against the interests of those other women. It's a matter of proportionality and of female solidarity.

Is there any difference between making laws against covering your entire face and body, and laws that exist all over the world against walking the streets naked?

Actually, the total covering thing is much more sinister than the agenda of nudists.


If Pat Condell is right about it, there have been many rapes in Sweden by Muslim immigrants trying to punish Swedish women for being too immodest.  Or maybe the Muslim men simply don't know how to deal with a woman who isn't covered head to toe.  I dunno.


Either way, there seems to be a major issue with Muslim immigrants trying to push their customs on the indigenous populations of European countries.  I don't think a little government-mandated acclimation is particularly out of order.


Anyone else got another perspective on this one?  I've only heard about the rape issue from the side of those opposing the Muslim immigrants, and obviously I don't have a first-hand perspective.

I agree about nudism actually; it only makes the nudist more vulnerable, but it makes it harder for them to commit a crime instead of easier. But for the reason that nudity can be outlawed, I don't see why a total covering ban is more controversial. (In some European countries, though, they are more flexible about nudity.)


The rape issue is not about only immodesty (though it is related to the "I am entitled to have sex with you if you are not fully covered" mindset) but it is also an act of hostility against the West.


I don't see a law requiring everyone to show their face as horribly oppressive either, although I would be very against outlawing a hijab or scarf.

Indeed, this ban is definitely better than doing nothing. Government already regulates what you can and cannot wear in public - Women often cannot, for instance, walk around with no shirt, so why can't the opposite, covering to much skin, be an issue? 


Unless you take the totally libertarian approach where you can wear nothing, or cover your body with a black tent in public and 'there is no problem.' In reality I doubt two groups with such differing rules regarding public garb could coexist peacefully for any moderate period of time.

I think the ban is a reasonable action.  The burka or hajab conceals not just the identity of the individual but also the sex. Having what are essentially masked individuals moving freely among the population is, in fact, a security issue. Even if they do not have terrorist intentions, concealing one's identity would be an advantage in any number of criminal acts – bank robbery, assassinations, kidnappings and others . Imagine a couple of individuals wearing ski masks walking into a bank – now imagine a couple of individuals wearing hajabs walking into a bank. Who knows if the individuals are even Muslims much less females?




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