Burqa and Niqab

News from Spain


And another article on banning in burqa in public

I'm not so certain about this one.  I think the intent may be good, but the understanding may be weak.  Is it offensive to the dignity of women?  In Western eyes, certainly it is.  But the question is how do the women themselves feel about it?  Of course the argument may be made that women living under systematic oppression cannot say how they REALLY feel about it.

There is a simple aspect to this--the government has the right and responsibility to protect all citizens and ready identification of any person is a reasonable expectation in any government building.  However, there are those who say that this is a half-measure, that to mean anything at all the burqa must be banned in all public locations.  And this I must wonder about.  Must we also ban the wearing of a mantilla?  Is that not also offensive to the dignity of a woman?  Should we eschew and strictly limit any public display of religious artifacts?

I'm not a fan of the burqa myself.  I am sympathetic to the argument that it can be interpreted as demeaning to a woman.  But I also recognize the ingrained prejudice I operate from. And I have read arguents from Muslim women themselves who do not find it either demeaning or oppressive.

I also have to wonder about these blanket statements regarding the dignity of women and wearing the burqa.  They may be true; they may be cultural prejudices.  I just don't know enough to distinguish, and until it is perfectly clear, I'm certainly not willing to restrict the rights of individuals on the basis of my own prejudices.  

I don't know whether my opposition to the burqa is rooted in prejudice or whether it is right-thinking.  Until then--I think the government must act to make every as secure as reasonably possible in government buildings; however, whether that should extend beyond the limited government purview is something that should be examined carefully for echoes and repercussions.

On the other hand, articles like this one about the ascendancy of ultra-nationalist and other fringe politicians, lead one to question motives.  The news is old (2007) but has the trend actually changed?

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