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View Diary: The One About A Follow Up To France's Law Banning The Burqa Is Anti-Woman. (32 comments)

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  •  The notion of free speech is interpreted (0+ / 0-)

    very differently in France and in the US. In the US free speech is a freedom which seems to be set above all other rights. In France there are a number of fundamental rights and principles, which include freedom of speech. Each of these rights and principles is sacred, but none can be carried to the extent that it infringes upon another one.  
    Laicity is one of these fundamental principles.

    The US constitution (the way it is understood and implemented) is very individualistic. The French constitution establishes a balance between individual and collective rights. That explains why our right to bear arms is severely limited by the right of others to live in a secure society,  the right of expression is also limited by the right of other people not to be hurt or unjustly attacked verbally, taxes can be raised in order to create collective protections and anybody pretending that it's illegal would be laughed at.

    In a school, you're not allowed to carry conspicuous religious signs, and you are supposed to be discrete and unobtrusive about your religious creeds because the school is the most sacred place of the French Republic.

    In public, you are perfectly allowed to carry religious conspicuous religious signs or clothing. A priest, the Dalai Lama or anybody else, for that matter, is allowed to dress the way they like in public as well as in private.

    I think that the problems the partisans of this bill have with the burqa are more or less the ones you have (and I have too). Hiding completely a woman's body (and why not a man's?) is going too far, is negating that person's dignity according to the codes of the French society as of 2011. It is, in short, an obscenity. Just as walking naked in the streets poses a problem to that same society. You could argue that walking naked in the streets is a form of expression which should be protected. It is not, because it's contrary to our accepted codes to too great an extent. In the French context, one can argue that the same is true of the burqa. Probably in the US context the perception would be different.

    I guess any society is entitled to impose certain modes of behaviour, and all societies do it. In that sense, I'm comfortable with the fact that wearing the Burka or more generally hiding one's face in public is forbidden. What I don't like at all, is that this law was passed in a spirit of stigmatization of the muslim community.

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