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Yesterday French President Nicholas Sarkozy proposed that France ban the Burka for women in public:

Sarkozy Backs Drive to Eliminate the Burka

saying:

"The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue. It is a question of freedom and of women’s dignity," Mr. Sarkozy said. "The burqa is not a religious sign. It is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission, of women."

A further concern is public security: With all the video cameras and security devices in public places, how can we allow one group to be an exception to the cameras by, in effect, wearing masks? Especially in public buildings and on public transport.

I think President Sarkozy is right.  Both from concern of public security and subjugation of women, western countries should prohibit public veil wearing as a mater of public policy.

In the USA, if States and Municipalities start banning the veil, we will still allow (in fact the First Amendment to the Constitution requires us to allow) all kinds of religious garb, from black-coated Hasiddic Jews, to Indian saris, to Buddhist robes, and Muslim hijabs--just you can't cover your face. (Note: the veil is called a niqab.)

Historically in the USA, mask wearing in public was banned by many states in the early part of the 20th century to curtail the bigoted and threatening activities of the Ku Klux Klan. It is true that some public protestors (for example, at World Trade Organization meetings) have covered their faces (with ski masks or scarfs), and under this plan, to be consistent, this would no longer be allowed. So a general ban on public mask wearing (which is what I am proposing) will likely (and appropriately) raise freedom of speech issues. Still, the security dangers of allowing public mask wearing may outweigh any objections to the law when challenged in the courts. Or the courts may decide no masks in airports, buses, schools, etc., but it is OK to wear the veil around your neighborhood--the point being we won't find out what the courts will allow if we don't pass the initial legislation.

The veil degrades women. Many of these women do not want to wear the veil but can't object for fear of their husband beating them. Listen to Hirsi Ali in her book "The Caged Virgin"

The essence of a woman is reduced to her hymen. Her veil functions as a constant reminder to the outside world of this stifling morality that makes Muslim men the owners of women and obliges them to prevent their mothers, sisters, aunts, sisters-in-law, cousins, nieces, and wives from having sexual contact. And we are not just talking about cohabitation. It is an offense if a woman glances in the direction of a man, brushes past his arm, or shakes his hand. A man's reputation and honor depend entirely on the respectable, obedient behavior of the female members of his family.

I hope this initative is approved by the French and then spreads throughout Europe and the USA.x

Originally posted to sandbox on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 06:56 PM PDT.

Poll

Do you favor banning the veil and mask wearing in public?

45%129 votes
54%157 votes

| 286 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  How can you say with authority (15+ / 0-)

      that "half the women' dont' want to wear the veil but "their husbands will beat them"? That seems unsupported. I personally am not interested either in telling France what to do or in telling people of other faiths what to wear. I think the orthodox here in Cleveland Heights look pretty weird too; maybe their women don't want to look that dowdy but whatever. Not my business.

      Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

      by anastasia p on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:11:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please use full names in tags. P.S. As long as (12+ / 0-)

      we insist on the separation of church and state, we cannot legislate what people wear. Will we jail the Amish? Are baggy jeans an offense to public morals? Thong bikinis? Howard Dean t-shirts?

      I will defend the right of anyone to wear a burquini, against anyone. Yes, you can.

      Although, I really wish you wouldn't. I'd much rather defend your right to wear butt-floss on the beach. Truth be told, I'd be defending your rights much more than if you wore a sweatsuit into the water.

      Remember what FDR said, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." Have you written/called a congress-critter today? -8.25, -6.21

      by Jacques on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:16:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No (8+ / 0-)

      My stance towards this is a reluctant opposition. I agree that the veil degrades women (assuming "veil" means something like a burka that covers the face. A lot of people seem to use it to mean headscarf, or hijab, which conflates two completely different things). However, women's liberation is a cultural value. You simply cannot legeslate cultural values. A ban on the burqa would eliminate a symbolic garmet but do nothing to address the patrarchal system it symbolizes. Also, it would be met with great resistance, especially from women who consider it their traditional and religious duty-its been tried, even in majority Muslim countries. The Shah of Iran once went so far as to have his police grab women on the streets and rip the veil off of them. It did nothing except earn him the undying hatred of that country's pious Muslims. So-called Liberals trying to legeslate secularism is just as bad as the religious right legeslating conservatism.

      Long live Free Iran!

      by lexington1 on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:25:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I say that skirts and trousers (6+ / 0-)

      are oppressive, and that anyone can hide just about anything in a jacket.

      All men and women should be required to wear thongs only.  Therefore, we will know that they won't be hiding much.

      Khun David aka Crisis Corps Volunteer

      by Khun David on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:51:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why protesters were scarves (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pgm 01, enhydra lutris, noe44

      over their faces:  protection against tear gas and other chemicals.  Look at the pictures from Iran, you'll see them looking exactly like any group of G8 demonstrators, everybody with a bandana over the face.

      "When the government becomes a lawbreaker, it invites every man to become a law unto himself." ~ Justice Brandeis

      by ActivistGuy on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 09:15:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That and it makes it harder to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris

        identify a person, even with facial recognition technology.

      •  Masks are banned in Oakland, CA . I found out (3+ / 0-)

        during the anti-war protests when we needed them because of tear gas. Some people were detained/arrested for wearing bandanas or otherwise covering their faces.

        That probably isn't the reason the law was passed, but once a law is on the books, it can be used or misused for other purposes than intended.

        Burquas are not likely to catch on here. The French are just borrowing trouble.

        There was the case (in Florida, IIRC) where are woman was not allowed to have her driver's license picture take in a burqua. She sued.  I don't remember how the case turned out.

        There were also several cases where veiled women were not permitted in banks or court houses. They sued as well.  The bank rules had to do with making ID easier in case of a hold up.  The rule for the court was more complicated.

        •  This is the key... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftynyc, Joffan, sandbox

          I wouldn't support a ban on the burqa or niqab, as much as I don't like them, because you make a mockery of individual autonomy ("we banned you from doing this so you could be a free an autonomous individual")

          The key is not to ban these items of clothing. The debate is parallel to that which is fought in the UK, which is "should we force immigrants to learn English?" (to prevent ghettoisation, and pockets of (largey women) entirely dependent on the Pater Familias to engage with society at large.

          Again, we shouldn't force people coming to the UK to learn English, and we should legislate what they should wear. However, our mistake has been to be too accommodating over the past few years.

          The ID case is a classic. A sensible secular liberal state will say "of course you can choose to wear the burqa, but don't expect us to bend over backwards to accommodate your decision" - the burqa makes ID like Driver's license non-sensical, so if you want a Driver's License you have to decide which matters more to you: wearing a burqa, or having photo ID.

          Similarly, no-one will force you to learn English, but we're not going to spend £10m per Local Authority every year on "translation services" making sure that you can ask for a Council Tax rebate in Urdu or Bengali.

          I believe in Tolerance: respecting the behaviour of others that I dislike. If you don't dislike something, it's arguably not tolerance.

          I think we should tolerate the 'religious' decisions people make, but there should be a move made to establish that society has no duty to accommodate religious decisions

          "Gambling is a principle inherent in nature" Edmund Burke

          by Morus on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 01:55:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Nazi uniforms, swastikas, (4+ / 0-)

    France already bans certain items because they are symbols of intolerance.

    Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

    by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 06:58:40 PM PDT

  •  Burquas, Orthodox jewish garb... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redstar, fizziks, siduri

    To me, they are as much symbols of intolerance as KKK robes.  And I respond to them as viscerally.  They are an afront to my freedom.

    Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

    by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 06:59:38 PM PDT

      •  They are symbols of keeping women down. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        redstar, sandbox, siduri

        They represent the idea that women are less than.  

        Separate is inherently unequal.

        Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

        by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:05:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If a woman voluntarily chooses (25+ / 0-)

          to wear a burqua, a veil, hijab or dress up like Queen Victoria, as long as it's her choice and she's not forced to by law, I could give a rip.

          Freedom for women means freedom to let us choose what we feel is right for us. It's like the "mommy wars" and giving women crap for choosing to suspend or give up their careers and choose to be stay at home moms, or SAHMs condemning moms who work outside the home as horrible mothers.

          "It won't surprise you that I don't consider Dick Cheney a particularly reliable source" Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

          by Vita Brevis on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:10:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  in countries where they are mandatory... (15+ / 0-)

          they are a form of oppression.

          In countries where they are not mandatory, and where women have legal, social, and educational equality, they are just another variation on  the diversity of culture expressed through clothing.  

          Shall we also ban top-hats as a symbol of capitalism?

          Forbid rap artists from using the word "Nigga!" (Tupac Shakur (RIP), and others) because it's related to the N-word used by racists?

          How'bout forbid people calling themselves "smart cookie" because it's oppressive of their IQ-challenged neighbors?  

          •  Come on g2geek, I'm talking mask (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Marie, smartcookienyc

            wearing here. You very well know the difference between that practice and wearing a top hat!

            •  read my reply to your item about cameras. (6+ / 0-)

              Frankly I can't believe you're spouting this shit.  Are you sure you haven't caught swine flu?  It starts with ferocious diarrhea and vomiting for three days.

              You need to learn some history.  And I'm being kind to say it that way.

              •  So when states passed law banning mask wearing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                smartcookienyc

                re the KKK, I believe that was constitutional.  Would you have been in favor of that?. I hope so.

                •  Good point, Sandbox. Thanks! eom (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sandbox

                  Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

                  by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:26:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  KKK is a terrorist group. (7+ / 0-)

                  And KKK's use of masks was specifically an element in its terrorist acts, from burning crosses on peoples' lawns, to lynching.

                  It should be entirely possible to write legislation that deals with that issue specifically, rather than using it as an excuse to go after innocent people.

                •  Are the masks banned for parades, too? (0+ / 0-)

                  Are they general bans, or just wearing them when engaging in certain acts, such as conspiracy or burning crosses?  

                  Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

                  by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:50:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  CHURCH OF THE AMERICAN KNIGHTS of KKK v KERIK (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    skohayes

                    356 F.3d 197

                    Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor in on the ruling.

                    I. New York's Anti-Mask Law

                    New York's anti-mask law, reenacted in its current form in 1965, can be traced back in substance to legislation enacted in 1845 to thwart armed insurrections by Hudson Valley tenant farmers who used disguises to attack law enforcement officers.

                    II. Expressive Conduct

                    It is well established that "[t]he First Amendment affords protection to symbolic or expressive conduct as well as to actual speech." Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343, 123 S.Ct. 1536, 1547, 155 L.Ed.2d 535 (2003). As the Supreme Court has cautioned, however, "[w]e cannot accept the view that an apparently limitless variety of conduct can be labeled `speech' whenever the person engaging in the conduct intends thereby to express an idea." ...

                    We agree with the District Court that the regalia of the American Knights, including the robe, mask, and hood, are expressive; they are expressive in the way that wearing a uniform is expressive, identifying the wearer with other wearers of the same uniform, and with the ideology or purpose of the group. We do not doubt that a person who viewed a member of the American Knights wearing such regalia would likely grasp that association. New York's anti-mask statute does not, however, bar members of the American Knights from wearing a uniform expressive of their relationship to the Klan. The statute only proscribes mask wearing.
                    23

                    The mask that the members of the American Knights seek to wear in public demonstrations does not convey a message independently of the robe and hood. That is, since the robe and hood alone clearly serve to identify the American Knights with the Klan, we conclude that the mask does not communicate any message that the robe and the hood do not.7...

                    III. Anonymous Speech

                    In numerous decisions, the Supreme Court has recognized a right to anonymous speech grounded in the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association. In the seminal case, NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449, 78 S.Ct. 1163, 2 L.Ed.2d 1488 (1958), the Court held that the State of Alabama could not compel the NAACP to reveal to the State's Attorney General lists of its members' names and addresses. The Court found that "compelled disclosure" of the NAACP's Alabama membership "is likely to affect adversely the ability of [the NAACP] and its members to pursue their collective effort to foster beliefs which they admittedly have the right to advocate, in that it may induce members to withdraw from the Association and dissuade others from joining it because of fear of exposure of their beliefs shown through their associations and of the consequences of this exposure."

                    In contrast, the Supreme Court has never held that freedom of association or the right to engage in anonymous speech entails a right to conceal one's appearance in a public demonstration. Nor has any Circuit found such a right. We decline the American Knights' request to extend the holdings of NAACP v. Alabama and its progeny and to hold that the concealment of one's face while demonstrating is constitutionally protected.



                    Practicing Law without a License is my 3d favorite Crime.

                    by ben masel on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 09:58:00 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Only banned for parades and rallies (0+ / 0-)

                    see citation below.



                    Practicing Law without a License is my 3d favorite Crime.

                    by ben masel on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 09:59:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Are you intimidated by veils? (4+ / 0-)

                  That's why KKK masks are banned in some locations.

                  Are Muslim women so scary to you?

                  •  Both are symbols of intolerance (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    fizziks, sandbox, siduri

                    Representing ideas that rob members of the community of their complete personhood.  So, banning one and not the other is not necessarily inconsistent.

                    Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

                    by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:12:17 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Huh? (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mattman, Derfel, Calvino Partigiani

                      The KKK mask is a symbol of intolerance for "the other."  A means to intimidate the other -- the non-KKKer -- into submission.

                      The veil is a symbol of belonging, to the faith, to the value of modesty that is part of Islamic teaching.

                      These are totally different things, unless your fear of veils (an irrational fear unless some veiled Muslim woman has attacked you or yours, and I welcome the counterexamples) is comparable to your fear of KKK hoods.

          •  Banning in US. (0+ / 0-)

            Please read my response more carefully.  I didn't say I agree with banning in the US.  I merely responded how I felt when seeing such garb.  In my view, they are uniforms of rampant, unhealthy and detrimental sexism.

            Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

            by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:16:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  and all those kids who wear their pants... (6+ / 0-)

              ....hanging down so far that you can see most of their bottoms, are wearing a uniform that's derived from prison garb.  I happen to think it's obnoxious.  I don't want to see their rear ends, and the idea of a style derived from convicted felons disgusts me.  And?  So?  What?   It ain't up to me what other people do or don't wear, aside from some kind of covering on their asses so that the ones who don't wipe when they poop won't leave poopy-tracks on seats in public places.  

              Diarist supports a ban.

              I happen to think that the US ought to give Saudi et. al. an ultimatum on womens' equality and then if they don't deal with it, stop buying their oil (just say solar, wind, and nuclear).  

              I would have been happy to see Iraq rebuilt as a secular state rather than a theocracy.

              I have some particularly nasty things to say about the elements of Middle Eastern culture by which the lusts of males are projected onto women and translated to a style of clothing that resembles nothing so much as a portable prison cell.  But if women in France or the US want to wear that style as a cultural statement, freely and of their own choosing, that's up to them, and most assuredly not up to me.  

              And when someone suggests writing a dress code into the law in a secular western society, that's when I'm damn glad we still have the Second Amendment.  Because if it ever comes to the kind of tyranny where the state can dictate a dress code on the basis of cultural connotations, then me & a whole lotta' folks are going to have a revolt that'll make Iran look like a picnic.

            •  Sorta like high heels...especially unhealthy. NT (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              enhydra lutris
        •  No, they don't. They represent modesty. (6+ / 0-)

          Now, to someone looking to repress women, it comes in handy for that purpose too. But that's a perversion of the original intent.

          Wanna save up to $425 on a hotel room at Netroots Nation '09? Room with me! Please e-mail if interested.

          by Jyrinx on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:12:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  So do you want to ban Amish garb too? (10+ / 0-)

          I see these Amish women at events in awful bonnets and cheap, hand-sewn sacks of dresses? They look terrible and deliberately ugly. Should they be banned?

          Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

          by anastasia p on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:13:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, for starters, Amish women have an average (0+ / 0-)

            of 7 kids.  The social pressure brought to bear on people that want to leave the community is truly unbearable.

            I think if you're looking for some idyllic community where women freely choose to give up any ambition and be baby-factories, you may want to look elsewhere.

            Again, that's not to say it should be illegal; but we run the risk of way oversimplifying things by just saying that anything people can legally do is ethically acceptable.

            We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

            by burrow owl on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:16:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What The President says about veils... (8+ / 0-)

          From President Obama's speech in Cairo Egypt.

          Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion.  That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders.  That's why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it.  (Applause.)

          --Country before party--

          by chipoliwog on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 09:04:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  as a hijabi, i disagree. (7+ / 0-)

          i wear hijab because I choose to and it is an expression of modesty and  helps me to focus on my spiritual practice.  that is the real purpose of hijab, it has nothing to do with oppression, rather a freedom from being weighed down by worldly desires.

          you can dislke it all you wish, but that is not the original purpose of hijab.  

          "I aint scared of Al Quaeda, I'm scared of Al Cracker"-Chris Rock...

          by vmm918 on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 09:15:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "I wear it to express my beliefs." (0+ / 0-)

            Okay.  Many people wear things that demonstrate what they believe.  Some wear the confederate flag; many Americans find that offensive, too.

            If you wear something that represents a set of beliefs, be prepared that others may disagree strongly with what those symbols represent and those beliefs.

            I'm not arguing for a ban in the US.  But given France's interpretation of freedom as secularism in the public square, their decision would not be illogical.

            Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

            by smartcookienyc on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 04:01:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you mis quote me... (0+ / 0-)

              i wear hijab because i choose to
              it is an expression of modesty
              helps me to focus on my spiritual practice

              if that is offensive to you....i find it strange.

              "I aint scared of Al Quaeda, I'm scared of Al Cracker"-Chris Rock...

              by vmm918 on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 04:45:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  May I ask (0+ / 0-)

                how it helps you focus on your spiritual practice?  I don't understand the connection.

                For what it's worth, I have no beef with the hijab - a ban on the burqa would suit me fine.

                •  hijab is an experience (0+ / 0-)

                  it is hard to explain.  when i wear hijab and i pray, i feel as if i am creating sacred space wherever i am.  it is as if no negative energy can reach me from random eyes.

                  it is amplified by being with other women in hijab...it is not just clothing, it is a state of mind that is as if one is wrapped in something that protects the most precious, private part of the person, ...the spirit.

                  "I aint scared of Al Quaeda, I'm scared of Al Cracker"-Chris Rock...

                  by vmm918 on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 06:04:36 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thank you for your answer (0+ / 0-)

                    I like prayer with candles.  I guess everyone connects with a higher spirit in their own way.

                    Do you have a position on the burqa situation in France you want to share?

                    •  i think it is the woman's choice. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      leftynyc

                      Voluntary wearing of the veil or a burqua is a statement of the woman's level of piety and dedication to prayer, dhikr (chanting meditation) and fasting.  She is stating that she is voluntarily closing out the world so that she may concentrate solely on the spiritual path she is on.

                      It can also be a statement of status.  Women who do not have to work outside of the home and are free to pursue their spiritual life, or wealthy women may choose the veil as a sign of their protected, privileged status. It can signify the status of a "high lady".

                      It is un-Islamic to require or mandate either veil or burqua because there should not be any compulsion in religion.  It is also a violation of a woman's spiritual choice to force her to not wear the burqua if she so chooses.

                      "I aint scared of Al Quaeda, I'm scared of Al Cracker"-Chris Rock...

                      by vmm918 on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 01:05:10 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Madonna. Rosa Parks. "Black Boys... (0+ / 0-)

                White Boys" all bravely broke the conventions of "modesty." In their own way, they said No to what is expected of them.  

                I say, GO, GO, GO!

                Now that's freedom.

                Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

                by smartcookienyc on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 08:43:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  you can and anyone can choose (0+ / 0-)

                  to be immodest if they wish.  I try not to be.

                  "I aint scared of Al Quaeda, I'm scared of Al Cracker"-Chris Rock...

                  by vmm918 on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 01:12:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Immodest. (0+ / 0-)

                    Whatever that means.

                    Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

                    by smartcookienyc on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 01:20:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  you interpreted it by the video (0+ / 0-)

                      to mean not being bound by certain social conventions it seems.  I think that we agree that being bound by social conventions can feel oppressive.  I just choose to be free of different social conventions than you do.  The expectation that I dress like other people, or wear fewer clothes than other people is a social convention that I choose not to be bound by....i would feel immodest if I dressed like that.  That is me, and that is true of some other women.  It is not true for you.  

                      I am not offended by that.  I just choose to dress a different way.

                      "I aint scared of Al Quaeda, I'm scared of Al Cracker"-Chris Rock...

                      by vmm918 on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 06:50:32 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  That's... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RonV, G2geek, Nick Zouroudis, jtb583

        ... Freedom™ with a capital "F" and a ™ plus a few teabags.

        Not "freedom".

    •  Good lord. (7+ / 0-)

      You might want to consider being a smart cookie in a different city.  Just sayin'.  I imagine you're not too happy here.

      Good snark is hard to come by.

      by LarryInNYC on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:03:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They don't affect my freedom in any way (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mattman, Jacques, Vita Brevis

      And my town is crammed with orthodox Jews.

      Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

      by anastasia p on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:12:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Walk through their neiborhood in shorts, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Derfel

        a tank top and sandals.  See what happens then.  In some neighborhoods in Israel, women are being STONED for such dress.  Not a long time ago.  Now.

        Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

        by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:29:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um, they don't cordon off Orthodox neighborhoods (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scotths, Faeya Wingmother

          in NY. I imagine there are women in shorts walking through there all the time.

          And as for Israel … well, clearly there's a problem with Israeli law. Israeli law.

          Wanna save up to $425 on a hotel room at Netroots Nation '09? Room with me! Please e-mail if interested.

          by Jyrinx on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:33:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, here in the US. (0+ / 0-)

            Let her try to dress like that walking around certain neighborhoods of Rockland County, New York.  

            Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

            by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:40:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you think she would be stoned? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Euroliberal, scotths, Jyrinx

              Do you think women get stoned in Rockland County?  

              You know someone named Arsenio Billingham? No.

              by Mikey on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:51:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's very likely she would be threatened. (0+ / 0-)

                To leave the neighborhood quickly.  

                You don't believe that ultra-Orthodox in Rockland County would act like threatening thugs if they didn't like a secular woman's dress in their neighborhood?  

                Isn't that intolerance?  

                Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

                by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:58:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Threatened how? (3+ / 0-)

                  It's illegal to threaten violence, and she would be well within her rights to prosecute.  We don't need to ban Orthodox clothing to get there.

                  I'd guess she would face a lot of scowls and dark glares.  Which is obnoxious and should be called out, but should under no circumstances constitute a crime.

                  You know someone named Arsenio Billingham? No.

                  by Mikey on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:03:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Please read my remarks carefully. (0+ / 0-)

                    I am not arguing for a ban of anything in the US. It might, however, not be illogical for France.

                    All I did is give my own point of view on my reaction to such clothing.

                    To me, such dress is a uniform of a set of beliefs which include extreme and detrimental intolerance and sexism.

                    Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

                    by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:07:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So, you're not talking about laws... (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mattman, Euroliberal, skohayes

                      in your own country, you want to see laws in another country, restricting what members of another religion can and can't wear, because you find those people way over there, threatening or offensive?  

                      And you use dirty looks by a different group of people over here, regarding another style of clothing, as justification?

                      Yeah, that makes sense.  Go freedom.

                      •  Read my comment more carefully. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        sandbox

                        All I said was, given France's emphasis on secularism in the public square, separation of church and state which arguably promotes freedom fromreligion, this decision would not be illogical.  Obviously, it's for the French people to decide what they think is a beneficial balance.

                        Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

                        by smartcookienyc on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 03:47:11 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  I invite you to take a walk with me and my mom (9+ / 0-)

                  to our local market some day,she wears a veil; The nasty looks, the racist remarks she has to deal with on a daily basis are too much too bare for any person. Ive worked for the local city council where Theo van Gogh got murdered and have witnessed a muslim girl slammed of her bicycle with a iron chain used to secure bikes from theft. Islamophobia is a much bigger phenomenon in Europe than Anti semitism,and both equally evil. Two wrongs dont make a right, and how somebody looks shouldn't invite this kind of hostility and violence. If the state decides what to wear; maybe we should singling out other clothings also; the kippah;star of david; a cross on a neckless, and lets give jews stars and muslims green crescents so they can be identified by our security camera''s......see where this is going...

                  •  If you dress to express beliefs .... (0+ / 0-)

                    I think violence is wrong, and absolutely, I am not promoting it.

                    Nevertheless, if you wear something to demonstrate to the world a set of beliefs, you've got to be prepared that others will disagree, sometimes strongly, with those beliefs and what the clothing represents.

                    Some Americans, for example, react very strongly to the wearing of the confederate flag.  Some women react strongly to what they view as a symbol of sexism.

                    Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

                    by smartcookienyc on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 04:06:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Horseshit (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jyrinx

              I grew up in Rockland not far from New Square (where the Orthodox live).  I drove and walked through there countless times.  The worst that happened was dirty looks.  I never had anything thrown at me or my car.

            •  What the heck? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jyrinx

              I live here in Rockland County, New York.  I've never heard of such a thing happening.  Never.

        •  Yeah, but. . . (5+ / 0-)

          it's not the way they dress that's offending you.  It's their demands on how you dress.

          And that's exactly what you propose to do to others.

          Good snark is hard to come by.

          by LarryInNYC on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:37:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My perception of their dress. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            valadon, beforedawn, siduri

            I view it as a uniform which symbolizes a set of ideas and beliefs that promote extreme intolerance and sexism.

            My reaction is similar to what others experience a KKK robes and swastikas.  That's how I see it.  

            Please read my remarks carefully.  I am not promoting a ban in the US.  However, that doesn't mean it's illogical for France, given their more secular culture.

            Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

            by smartcookienyc on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:47:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  What if someone voluntarily wore ... (0+ / 0-)

            A bright yellow star of david, the same size and color as the Nazi regime imposed on people of Jewish background?  

            If you saw that today as you walk down the street, would you not say that wearing it is offensive?  

            Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

            by smartcookienyc on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 04:10:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm hard to offend. (0+ / 0-)

              It's possible that the wearer of a yellow star of David would be doing it to offend, but it's also possible he or she would be doing it for some other reason.  If the meaning's unclear, it doesn't pay to assume the worst.  And if the meaning were the worst, it still doesn't mean that I'd be in favor of making it illegal.

              Good snark is hard to come by.

              by LarryInNYC on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 04:54:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I bet Israel (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sandbox

          has laws that deal with assault, battery and all the acts you just described.

          Those extremist Jews should be in jail, not because they hold these weird dress ideas but because they broke laws that apply to all regardless of their beliefs.

          "It takes two to lie. One to lie, one to hear it." Homer Simpson

          by Euroliberal on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 03:55:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I don't quite understand (27+ / 0-)

    the desire to do something for "freedom" by banning someone's decision to do something freely.  I hear the issue of women's rights and dignities, but this is in the same category as forced democracy: dissonant and counter-productive.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:00:38 PM PDT

    •  I'm confused about that, too. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, somtam, Vita Brevis, Jyrinx

      Nazis and burkas were compared two comments up. Don't get it.

    •  Take xian misogyny: while it shouldn't be banned, (5+ / 0-)

      I think it's good practice to apply social pressure to prevent it.  Social practices and beliefs reinforce one another: cut down on the practice, and we can cut down on the misogyny driving the practice.

      Or, as Pascal noted: "kneel, and you will believe."  We can go at noxious beliefs, such as misogyny, by going after the practices.  That's not to say we should de jure ban them (except in the most egregious forms like polygamy), but we can and should apply social pressure and norms to coerce a de facto prohibition.

      We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

      by burrow owl on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:06:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmm (0+ / 0-)

        With respect to the polygamy ban, at least as it exists as a criminal prohibition in certain states (like the noxious ban in Utah), I'd disagree.  As far as being married and obtaining a marriage license with another, that's a different matter.  

        What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

        by Alec82 on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:28:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In theory, the net we cast with the ban can (0+ / 0-)

          capture people that maybe we shouldn't.  But it's a good enough trade-off that on balance it's worthwhile.  That old-timey SCOTUS case reflecting on the evils on polygamy still holds up, IOW.

          We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

          by burrow owl on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:30:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But the criminal prohibition in the case... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            burrow owl

            ...of Utah bans cohabitation with another while married, IIRC.  

            The polygamy statute is ignored until there's a case of abuse, usually (i.e., with an underaged girl).  It's too eerily similar to the sodomy laws being used in, say, public restroom stings.  It just makes it easier to obtain a conviction, and I don't think it has much of a deterrent effect.

            What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

            by Alec82 on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:33:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is getting a little inside baseball, but I (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Alec82

              thought that the statute banned holding oneself out as married.

              Interesting parallel re: bathroom stings, although there seems to be a material difference re: the ability of the parties in each instance to consent.  People in bathrooms?  No problem w/ consent.  14 year olds?  Not so much.  

              We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

              by burrow owl on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:45:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No age requirement (0+ / 0-)

                The statute applies to any person, regardless of age. And they did try to challenge it on Lawrence grounds, but they were unsuccessful.  

                (The Utah Supreme Court said lots of nice things about gays and lesbians and how polygamists weren't anything like them, in a kind of funny opinion with a dissent that was more convincing, imo, but I digress...)

                What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

                by Alec82 on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:51:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I deplore the way women and treated in (15+ / 0-)

      every society.  I especially dislike the forced veiling of women and other things that stem from some backward adherence to some ancient cultural system.  I think that in many cases: female genital mutilation, honor killings, forced veiling, etc. this adherence to ancient tribal customs is masquarading as religious piety is not much different than the talibanglicals here in the us.  Look to the FLDS as an example.
       That said, I agree wholeheartedly with PICO on this one.  You cannot empower anyone by taking their choices away from them.  For some Muslim women the wearing of the veil is an important expression of their faith.  Just like for Catholic Nuns.  Who would propose outlawing them from wearing their habit in public?(I know some no longer wear the habit.)

      That passed by; this can, too. - Deor

      by stevie avebury on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:09:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't the habit an anachronism at this point? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agathena

        I understand it's a pet peeve of many that nuns always appear wearing habits on TV and in movies (see Act, Sister; for counterexamples, see Walking, Dead Man; and, er, Oz).

        Wanna save up to $425 on a hotel room at Netroots Nation '09? Room with me! Please e-mail if interested.

        by Jyrinx on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:15:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jyrinx

          a few orders have "taken back the habit" because it engenders a certain amount of respect ( and not just from those of us who lived in fear of rulers getting whipped out without warning!)

          "It won't surprise you that I don't consider Dick Cheney a particularly reliable source" Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

          by Vita Brevis on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:02:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I deplore the way women are treated in the U.S. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RepubsonCrack

        There is a major drive by the Christian, Republican right to control women's sexuality. And only 17% of our congress is women, which is pretty appalling.

        Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

        by anastasia p on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 09:04:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Foot-binding was outlawed for good reason. (0+ / 0-)

        May high heels should be banned for the same reasons.

        •  so foot binding involved mutilation (0+ / 0-)

          of the feet of young girls by their families. The feet were bent in such a way that the toes were under the foot to the point that the bones were broken. In this country it would almost certainly be considered a form of child abuse.

          Not sure that high heels can compare to that!

          •  Not as severe, but still causes health problems (0+ / 0-)

            Here's a link that list some of the problems caused by wearing high heels.  

            http://www.ynhh.org/...

            Many things are banned that cause fewer problems than this.  They could tax them like alcohol and tobacco, and raise enough money to pay for the surgeries.

            •  what are these banned things about (0+ / 0-)

              which you speak? Consider that high heels are..

              1. Voluntarily worn
              1. Harm only the individual in question (unlike for instance smoking in a public building).
              1. Are often very popular with those who wear them.
              1. Are a significant enough part of our culture that an attempt to ban would likely lead to significant outrage.

              I would also question if a tax would be fair in the sense that an individual who owns a large number of pairs of high heels doesn't necessarily wear them the most. (Unlike alcohol where the amount of alcohol purchased directly correlates with the amount consumed).

              I would note also that the article does not address the question of the effect of heel wearing in moderation versus more frequent use. Someone who wears heels only some of the time and/or when standing or walking can be kept to a minimum probably suffers far less health problems.

              I wouldn't mind seeing a cultural shift which discourages the wearing of heels at work or at least the perceived requirement of such. Moderation and planning I think is the key. Just as we don't ban fatty foods but encourage people to limit their intake, perhaps a similar effort should be made here..

  •  No, Nooooo! (20+ / 0-)

    While I'd always favor a law freeing women from the necessity of wearing a burka, to disallow voluntary wearing it is an intrusion into their religious freedoms.

    Moreover, as applied to France, it is mostly an exercise in xenophobia.

    Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects. -Herodotus

    by TerribleTom on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:01:21 PM PDT

  •  I agree w/ Sarkozy, but we have that blasted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TerribleTom

    First Amendment, so it's a non-starter here.  Really, the security interests just aren't compelling enough to overcome the religious liberty interest.  

    For a driver's license pic or on the stand in court, sure, but in day-to-day practice a ban doesn't fly.

    We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

    by burrow owl on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:02:35 PM PDT

  •  I guess I'd like to know... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, khereva, Nick Zouroudis

    ... how the hell they propose enforcing such a ban.

  •  It's a free country; wear want you want (5+ / 0-)

    but if you want to be a cop, etc, I think people do have a right to see your face.

    Aside from that... freedom always means the freedom for others to do things that you don't like.

    Human reason is beautiful and invincible --Milosz, Incantation

    by juancito on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:04:46 PM PDT

  •  Forcing people to take off the veil (20+ / 0-)

    is just as oppressive as forcing them to veil in the first place.

    Maybe we should try to understand why Islamic women veil and then determine whether its a national security threat.

    Sarkozy can suck an egg.  This is one area where I truly think the US is more progressive than Europe.  

    The question to everyone's answer is usually asked from within. -Steve Miller

    by jtb583 on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:08:15 PM PDT

    •  Women should take off the veil for license or (6+ / 0-)

      passport photos. That is one area where I find the argument of religious freedom to be severely lacking. ID is designed to identify someone - a veil or burkha is designed to do exactly the opposite.

      The Shane Life - Chock full o' juicy Shane-bits!

      by Shane Hensinger on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:15:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  France, Tunis, Turkey...and belgium (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandbox, Faeya Wingmother

      hardly representative of Europe. France and Turkey can be very zeaulous in their quest for secular purity; dividing church and state,  ends up with the state meddling with peoples basic rights to dress them selves up how they dress(in public places; public schools in tis case). I abhor the mask like burqa; but they are a cultural phenomenon in just some countries. In europe burqha's are an absolute rarity;chadors;niqaabs etc are seen, but still not in threatening numbers. As tensions in Europe have grown between insiders and outsiders, with nationalsim and islamophobia the veil has become a strange obsession of secular and religious, liberal and conservative people alike. I have familymembers who wear a classical veil that covers their mouth; I have only heard them speak about it in the sense that they where proud to wear the veil in this old fashioned style, their aunts and mothers did it, and it had become a rarity on the streets. These women where preserving a fashion style; not expressing a political or even religious view. Some women wear pink veils other black ones; it hardly says anything about wat they think on the inside.

      for a muslim's perspective:The veil question in Belgium

      Apparently there is a saying: "when it rains in France, it drips in Belgium" or "als het giet in Frankrijk, druppelt het in België". Well, the French have banned the veil or hijāb in the public sphere and now people are starting to talk about it in Belgium where I reside. I believe that it is important to set the discussion about and the reaction to the hijāb (veil) into perspective.
      The hijāb is not an absolute, religious element without which women cannot please God, as some have been saying. To say such thing would only denigrate God: what kind of God would God be if the only thing He/She would be looking at was the veil? The absolutization of the veil as a religious necessity (as an absolute religious sacred duty) rather than as a practice that entails a great degree of personal choice seems to me to be out of focus. There are very few things that are absolute in Islam, and the hijāb is not one of them. In fact, only God is Absolute (the Tawhīd). It appears to me that this is one of the implications of the statements of the Grand Imam of al Azhar, in Cairo, Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi who said recently that France is free to pass a law banning the veil given that it is not a Muslim country and that Muslim women ought to abide by the law of the countries where they happen to reside so as non Muslim women must obey Islamic law when they live in constitutionally Muslim countries. His opinion must be read, of course, as concerning Muslims abroad. Muslims in countries other than France must accept that the democratically elected French government is entitled to pass laws for France. His opinion however does not say anything about Muslims living in France. It is the Muslims living in France that are the ones who before anybody else have the right to take issue with their government’s decision, and ought to do so because it is a civil liberties issue. The question is: how are they going to tackle the issue? Moreover, how are Muslims here in Belgium going to deal with the issue?
      The hijāb is indeed an old, established, social practice among Muslim women. It is a cultural object that overtime became a symbol of women’s dignity. In other words, by wearing a hijāb women want men to realise that they do not want to be reduced to being erotic items for male consumption. The veil is a statement on the part of women. The fact that it is not an absolute, religious duty placed by God upon Muslim women but a social, religious practice does not mean however that these women cannot demand from society that their right to wear a hijāb in the public sphere be honoured.  The state where they live may be secular, but its members cannot be forced to be secular, too. The secular character of the state entails rather that its structures (its buildings and its national symbols, for instance) be kept free from particular religious symbols that would compromise the state’s neutrality, not that of its citizens. It belongs to the essence of the secular state that it will not favour any belief community. This rule applies also to not favouring agnostics or atheists since they, too, uphold religious views. The fact that they word their views on religion in negative terms ("if there is a God one cannot know much about Him/Her/It," proclaim the agnostics in differing grades, or "there is no such thing as a Deity or Deities," confess the atheists) does not mean that they do not profess their creed. Their belief is that there is either no knowledge of God or no God at all.
      Furthermore, the fact that the hijāb is an established social, religious practice explains why some women may feel the inner, personal conviction or need to wear it. Religious life is not made up only of those things that have been revealed by God, but also of symbols, rituals and practices that have grown overtime and have become so engrained within the community that they can no longer be ignored. Despite the fact that such practices are not absolute and could/may therefore undergo changes in keeping with the context where the believers reside, they are still very important for the faithful since they are constituents of their social, religious identity. And it belongs to the very nature of a democratic state, be it secular or confessional, to facilitate the conditions whereby all social groupings can be who they are in all equity and within the bounds of the law. This is after all the principle behind the acceptance of religious schools, associations, trade unions, political parties, gay and lesbian rights, even soft drug policies etc. The question is therefore: if these communities are allowed to be who they are and to show it in the public sphere, why should Muslim women be deprived of their right to wear a hijāb? Especially considering that the hijāb is one of those symbols or practices whereby Muslim women give out a bodily message regarding who they are and how they want to be treated.
      I am of the opinion that the argument against the ban on the hijāb in the public sphere ought therefore not to be based on the claim that it is a religious necessity without which women cannot please God and would be forced to sin, simply because that is not the case. There are thousands and millions of Muslim women who are truly devout and decent without the hijāb (their choice not to wear a veil must also be honoured, but that is another issue). One can preferably stress that it is a civil right: these women must not be hindered from expressing their religious affiliation and from protecting their own femininity in the way they see fit. Why should Muslim women be prevented from wearing a hijāb as a statement about their faith convictions and their perception of their own femininity, while other women are allowed to express their own self perception by wearing revealing, erotically charged outfits in the public sphere? Is it not strange that while the latter case does not appear to upset European sensibility, the former does?! For it is indeed a case of "sensibility," otherwise how is the uproar about the hijāb to be explained rationally?
      While the veil discussion has reached social heights in France, here in Belgium it is still in its inaugural stages. We shall have to wait and see how it unfolds both within and without Islamic circles. Both groups must avoid absolutizing and radicalizing standpoints, always seeking ways that are in keeping with the democratic nature of the country and that are conducive to national unity, especially in cities where racial tensions can easily surface.

      •  Appreciate you thoughful response (0+ / 0-)

        You should consider, IMO, that western countries are generally much more tolerant than Muslim countries of speech and religion.  So if the tolerant west finds the veil too much to tolerate, then that is significant.

        You wrote:
         

        Why should Muslim women be prevented from wearing a hijāb as a statement about their faith convictions and their perception of their own femininity, while other women are allowed to express their own self perception by wearing revealing, erotically charged outfits in the public sphere? Is it not strange that while the latter case does not appear to upset European sensibility, the former does?! For it is indeed a case of "sensibility," otherwise how is the uproar about the hijāb to be explained rationally?

        It's a fair question, but these Muslim women are living in European countries, so when in Rome....

    •  I don't think so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandbox

      It's part of my moral value system, a liberal moral value system, that my fellow citizens are enabled to become the people they were meant to be.

      At a basic level, a person interfaces with the world through their body, particularly their face.

      Without the ability to directly view a person, any personal interaction is indirect. We can't see the face and communicate through a rich humanly natural language of facial expression. All emotion and thought shows up on a person's face somehow, and that how a person communicates and exists as a human in a human society.

      Without that direct interaction, women in burkas are effectively as isolated from the public life as anyone restricted to the Internet would be. It's inherently limiting.

      A woman cannot become the person she was meant to be, the person she is capable of becoming, if she cannot interact with the world around her.

      --Austin Texas Democrat

      by pdrap on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:52:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  By your logic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Faeya Wingmother

        a blind woman is incapable of interacting with the world around her.

      •  Two points: (0+ / 0-)
        1. I think that face to face interaction that you think is important in daily life is a construct of the society you live in.  In the US eye contact is encouraged, especially in business dealings.  Other cultures have different views on the importance of eye contact.
        1. Even if a woman is veiled she will have her eyes uncovered, which means she will still be able to have the face to face interaction that you think is important.  Eye contact will still be possible.  I  don't think this discourages a woman from interacting with the world around her.  

        The question to everyone's answer is usually asked from within. -Steve Miller

        by jtb583 on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 10:25:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We agree on the broad points (0+ / 0-)

          Point number one, we seem to agree. I was talking about body language and facial expression, not just eye contact, but I think the general idea I was trying to communicate you understand.

          Point number two - you say that the eyes are uncovered. I maintain that at least the face should be uncovered.

          So, I conclude that we both are in agreement on the principle, but are not in agreement on how much should be visible to meet the requirements for supporting a full interaction with the world. You say eyes, I say at least the face, and desirable more should be uncovered.

          I should point out that you do indicate that face-to-face interaction can occur through a veil, when only the eyes are visible. This is a violation of the definiton of face-to-face. I can't see her face, so it's not face-to-face.

          --Austin Texas Democrat

          by pdrap on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 01:53:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Here's a list of cases in US about veils in court (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandbox

      There have been more cases than I thought. I remembered the one of the woman in Atlanta that was arrested and jailed for refusing to remove her veil in a courthouse.

      http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/...

      Courthouses seemed to be a problem area for head coverings of various types for men and women.

  •  France has a very different view of religion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, dufffbeer, andydoubtless

    and public life than we do in the United States. Extremism is also more of a threat in France.

    Personally I don't like women wearing burkhas but can see how forcing them not to do so would violate the 1st amendement. I do, however, feel that they should be required to take them off for their drivers license and passport pictures or when requested to do so for reasons of security.

    The Shane Life - Chock full o' juicy Shane-bits!

    by Shane Hensinger on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:12:32 PM PDT

    •  Boradly (5+ / 0-)

      France has a very different view of diversity than we do over here - for example, they don't record racial and ethnic data on their censuses, on the grounds that everyone's race is "French" and therefore who cares where they're from.

      Their theory is that all citizens of the Republic have the same rights and should be treated equally, and hence that all things that would promote some type of division/differentiation between "equally French" citizens should be eliminated. If everyone is forced to be equal and non-distinguishable by the government, then everyone will be equal and there will be no racial issues, since everyone will be of the same ("French") race.

      By their logic, the veil is something that causes a division (since it's not "French" culture, but rather a foreign culture that only some French are interested in) and hence should be not permitted.

      AT&T offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application.

      by Scipio on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:19:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we banned the veil (11+ / 0-)

    then how else would Michael Jackson be able to go out in public?

    Pragmatic progressivism is the future.

    by Pragmaticus on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:13:16 PM PDT

  •  Banning cultural expressions (8+ / 0-)

    is dumb.  If someone wants to cover their face then let them.  Yes, it does make it harder to identify someone.  However, I believe that 'security' is a poor excuse for outlawing acts of personal and cultural expression (within reason, obviously).  Banning burquas or niqabs or the chador will only serve to make wearing them a political issue.  Let it be.

    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

    by Triscula on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:14:10 PM PDT

    •  There has been (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl, jabney

      A number of issues relating to this in Canada recently - the two that come to mind have to do with voting and testifying in court.

      On the first one, there was a minor controversy in the last election about having women who wear the veil be forced to take it off to identify themselves when voting. First they were forced to take it off, then they were guaranteed the right to take it off in front of a female electoral clerk, and after a few more flip-flops they settled on some complex ID regimen that allows women to keep the veil on if they have other ID.

      There's also an ongoing court case that's (indirectly) about the issue of testifying while wearing a veil. One side says it's a religious matter and should be respected, and the other says that the common-law right to face one's accuser should force them to remove it, and that being able to see a witness' face is essential to being able to judge their demeanor and emotions about what they're they saying. As of now, this one is on-going and unsettled.

      AT&T offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application.

      by Scipio on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:29:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those issues are more complicated (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl, Matilda, Vita Brevis

        When it comes to identification for legal purposes, such as a driver's license or testifying in court I tend to side with those who insist on no veil.  But if we're talking about just going about one's daily business out in public I think it's silly to ban articles of clothing.

        "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

        by Triscula on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:32:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There's also an issue regarding Sharia law in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sandbox

        Ontario Canada. Muslims are advocating that they come under Sharia law and not Canadian law. I'm shocked that Canadian politicians would even consider this.

        When it comes to ID for voting, for any photo-ID, for court appearances, Canada should stand firm, no exceptions.

        This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

        by Agathena on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:28:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bravo! Advocating sharia law for the (0+ / 0-)

          host country's muslim population is bad.

        •  Not exactly (5+ / 0-)

          It's slightly more nuanced by that. No one is seriously suggesting that Muslims are governed by Sharia (as opposed to Canadian) law - some extremists are, but they exist everywhere. What was suggested was that Muslims could opt-in to an alternative dispute resolution scheme governed by Sharia, but subservient (and appealable to) secular Canadian law.

          About fifteen years ago Ontario passed the Arbitration Act, which allowed the arbitration of private and family disputes. The idea, for the latter case, was that people of devout faith may want their faith to play a role in how family law is conducted for their affairs, as family law is generally covered by most faiths.

          So if a piece of family law came up that would normally be covered in court (and is, under the law, able to be arbitrated privately), both parties could agree to appoint an arbiter or tribunal of their faith to make the decision, as a way of following what their faith decrees should be the law of families.

          The important parts of this are that both parties have to agree on taking part in the process, and that both parties have to agree on the arbiter. What the arbiter decides, however, is legally binding and enforceable - and can be appealed to the (civil) Court of Appeal by either side. This system has worked fine for about fifteen years - the main users of the family provision have been certain Christian groups and most Orthodox Jews. Catholics mostly used it to annul marriages under Canon Law, and Jews formed a Beth Din under it to mediate many personal disputes.

          It became a thing when a Muslim organization announced they were going to set up a tribunal compliant with the law, so that families could opt-in to certain questions being covered by Islamic law/adjudicated by Islamic community elders. The main outcry, as expected, was over the claims that women would be unfairly discriminated against under Islamic law.

          As a result of the outcry over this, several studies were done (by secular organizations) over how the system was doing so far, and pretty much all of them said that there was no systematic disadvantaging of women in the religious dispute resolution process, and that the system worked OK. Despite this, the process was eliminated - for all religions.

          Perhaps surprisingly, the group most outraged by this decision is the Jewish community, who have been using Beth Dins to solve disputes since the mid-1800s.

          AT&T offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application.

          by Scipio on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 09:12:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "a way of following what their faith decrees (0+ / 0-)

            should be the law of families"

            The law is the law of the land and family law is just one division. If Canadian family law decrees that a divorced man must support his child by a certain percentage each month for example, and Islamic or Sharia law decrees otherwise, Canadian law must prevail.

            Thank you for the explanation.

            This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

            by Agathena on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 03:21:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  UK allows veils in court (0+ / 0-)

        Here's a link to the decision and how they came to it.

        http://www.islamtoday.com/...

  •  I don't want to ban it (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank, Derfel, Shane Hensinger, sandbox

    I just want change the culture so that no one would think of wearing one.

    "I'm going to be on you like a numerator on a denominator." -Principal Skinner

    by dufffbeer on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:15:37 PM PDT

    •  Have you ever considered the possibility (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scotths, noe44

      that what is normal and correct and appropriate for you is not so for others, especially if they have grown up in  a different culture?

      What you are saying is that you are the arbiter of what is right and what is wrong.

      "Leap, and the net will appear." -- John Burroughs

      by somtam on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 11:17:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dang... (0+ / 0-)

    "...mask wearing in public was banned by many states..."

    Holy trick or treat, Batman. Halloween is illegal in many states?

    Sheesh.

    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

    by RonV on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:22:00 PM PDT

  •  Ban Baseball Caps! (5+ / 0-)

    oy vey

    You can't BAN a culture.

  •  Is it really anyone's business (7+ / 0-)

    what someone is wearing?

    For me, the underlying message to women of faith is: we know what is best for you, and you will obey or we will make you.

    What an appalling thing to do, and frankly there's probably more than a little anti-muslim thing going on over there.

    Well, it beats the alternative.

    by lalo456987 on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:31:46 PM PDT

  •  I think a distinction has to be made (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, sandbox, Vita Brevis

    as to whether it is forced upon a woman against her will or whether she chooses to wear the clothing.

    In France there is support among Muslim women in government to ban the burka; and it is viewed as denigrating to women. But I certainly resent the criticism of s couple people here describing France as xenophobic as if there is a uniform agreement either way. I find that quite insulting.

    Obviously a solution might be to let the women choose. However it would be hard to tell if it was coerced or worn of their own free will.

    Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

    by valadon on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:35:12 PM PDT

  •  First the burqa (9+ / 0-)

    then Hoodies, then Sun Glasses, then Mini Skirts, then Butt Cracks, then Mustaches, then Do-rags, then Football helmets, until we get to ban Fig leaves.

    What a stupid and ridiculous response to a serious problem.

    Prohibition for clothing!!?? WTF?

  •  On a related point, according to diarist... (9+ / 0-)

    Still, the security dangers of allowing public mask wearing may outweigh any objections to the law when challenged in the courts. Or the courts may decide no masks in airports, buses, schools, etc., but it is OK to wear the veil around your neighborhood--the point being we won't find out what the courts will allow if we don't pass the initial legislation.

    This is approximately the most convoluted and back-assward approach to law making I've ever encountered. That is: Just ban something and let the courts sort out the constitutional issues.

    Kinda reminds me of the dreadful phrase: "Just kill 'em and let God sort 'em out."

    OK, so that was a tad OTT but, seriously, is this your approach to civil liberties?? You'd pass draconian--even downright fascist--laws and let the poor suckers who are affected pay for the costs of litigation while they are possibly confined in the meantime while you put the onus on the individual to prove their Constitutional rights?

    Oh, and by the way...under what circumstances is it legal to wear a ski mask? Only while skiing? In the vestibule of a ski lodge? On Halloween? Geez.

    Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects. -Herodotus

    by TerribleTom on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:45:55 PM PDT

    •  Masks have long been illegal in public. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandbox

      Weird, right?  But it's true; there's probably some interesting articles on the topic out there on exceptions for halloween, ski lodges, etc.

      We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

      by burrow owl on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:49:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Without doing an intensive survey (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jgilhousen, Coilette

        of state laws pertaining to masks, let me lay this out to ya: Find me a single example where mask wearing can lead to a conviction without a concommitant requirement that the prosecution make a showing of mens rea ("evil intent").

        In the U.S., that's the tempering principle to most laws like this--a criminal state of mind is a necessary element to most crimes. Thus, I don't think it is terribly necessary to winnow out precedents distinguishing ski slopes from ski lodges. Intent, not location, would typically be the determining factor.

        OTOH, from what little I know about the proposed French law, this law would make burka wearing a "strict liability" criminal act. That's characteristic of French law and other systems founded upon Roman Civil Law and/or the Napoleanic Code where it is usually not necessary for the prosecution to prove intention.  

        Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects. -Herodotus

        by TerribleTom on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:01:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The diarist has said nothing (4+ / 0-)

      about banning fascist or nazi clothing and symbols in the US.  This person sees veiled women as more dangerous than all the rightwing crazies out there.  Why is that?

  •  So now we know what's best (8+ / 0-)

    for women? Sounds like we're saying they just aren't smart enough to not wear a burqa. Like they're not smart enough to decide for themselves if they should have an abortion.

    This is stupid. And I'm shocked and disappointed to see this kind of diary/sentiment in this forum.

  •  Sandbox (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftynyc, Derfel, sandbox, Conure, siduri

    I admire your spunk and the courage you had to raise this issue. I think you will be busy here for quite some time. LOL

    Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

    by valadon on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 07:55:14 PM PDT

  •  Doing business (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, sandbox, siduri

    If I walked into a bank and had to do business with a teller who covered half of her face, I would request a different teller.  Why?

    If I cannot see your face, I do not know that I can trust you.  You are an anonymous pseudo-human head in a cloth sack.

    Likewise, I would not frequent a 'topless' beach...I believe some things are best left to the imagination.

    I can't codify my preferences in law, but suffice it to say that some beaches are by law not topless.

    I want institutions that I do business with to support my freedom FROM religion.  If they cannot accommodate, I take my business elsewhere.

    If a governmental institution has me to do business with a burka-clad woman, I would request a different person.  Sorry...trust starts with being able to identify someone and let me see visual cues that they are trustworthy.

    Imagine a Caucasian, male state trooper pulling you over for speeding, with a bandanna over his face.  Would you trust him?  I sure wouldn't  - not enough to trust him with my license and registration...that is until he called for backup who wasn't wearing a bandanna.

    One of Western Civilization's most cherished institution is to know your accuser...how can you when their identity is hidden from view?

    Lastly, I guess I am kind of a quasi-reverse prude, except that being a male, I will objectify a woman I can't even see more than a woman whose face  I can see.  I hope commenters can make sense of this - if I can see your face, I can see your humanity; you're not just a robot.

    Truth has a liberal bias!

    by cheval noir on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:07:34 PM PDT

    •  But that's a cultural norm (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lost and Found, Coilette

      you've been raised with.  If you grew up in Egypt, you'd be surprised to see the local women going without a scarf.  It's a matter of culture.

    •  I might have felt the same way in the past (0+ / 0-)

      But I have on a few occasions lived in another country (in Asia) for periods of 6 months at a time. I had to get used to all kinds of cultural differences.

      I haven't always been so accepting of the differences, at least not at first. But each time, in the midst of ranting, either to friends or just in my own head, I would remind myself that this is one of the reasons I was there. To learn about other cultures and to learn about myself. And to become more aware and more accepting of others.

      It has definitely changed my perspective.

      "Leap, and the net will appear." -- John Burroughs

      by somtam on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 11:25:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's the thing... (6+ / 0-)

    I know several women who wear Burkas and or veils because they find it sensual.  They enjoy the mystery evoked by being so covered.  That's their choice, though as a fellow woman I have a hard time understanding/ relating to their choice.

    No one should be forced to wear clothing they find oppressive or exploitative.  But banning traditional clothing of any kind bothers me.  It seems like a subtle way to force people to conform with what the government thinks is good for them.

    And don't even get me started on cameras being everywhere.  The idea that any supposedly democratic society would ban clothing because Big Brother can't see you well enough is frightening.

    There was a time when a crime was a crime. Now I think I'm losing my mind or taking it all too hard. - Barenaked Ladies "Maybe You're Right"

    by Coilette on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:23:28 PM PDT

  •  You people are so silly. (14+ / 0-)

    Don't you know there was a time in European history, when ladies of repute could go out in public wearing a mask and cape, as a way to protect their identity and reputation?  This allowed them to come and go as they pleased.  As THEY pleased.  The cover is just as likely to be freedom as it is to be a cage - it's a matter of choice.

    I've had bad days when I've wished I could throw on a burqa so that noone would look at my greasy hair and stained sweat pants and tear-swollen face.

  •  I wouldn't interact with (3+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, leftynyc, sandbox
    Hidden by:
    Derfel

    anyone if I couldn't see their face. How do I know it is that person? Imagine if you were in a hospital and some masked stranger were trying to give you a shot- how do you know they are qualified to do so when you can't compare their face with the one on the badge?

    Perhaps not a ban in public but a ban when performing certain roles?

    •  Wouldn't want a mask on a surgeon or a nurse... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Faeya Wingmother, noe44

      ...in the operating room?

    •  Derfel, you are engaging in hr abuse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandbox

      please remove it before I am forced to contact admin. If you have a different opinion, please express it in a more adult manner- I love a good debate, stop trying to stifle rationl discussion.

    •  Even if you could compare their face with their (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      siduri

      badge, how could you be sure that the badge was not a phony? At some point you would have to trust that the hospital is on top of things and the person giving you the shot is qualified to do so.

      I'm not saying that I don't understand your point, but I think you might feel differently if you grew up in a different culture or even went to live in a different culture for some period of time as an adult.

      Besides, even with her face covered, you can still see her eyes. The eyes will tell you all you need to know :-)

      "Leap, and the net will appear." -- John Burroughs

      by somtam on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 11:33:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pardon me if I, a transsexual woman... (7+ / 0-)

    ...don't want the government involved in telling me how I have to dress.

  •  Good of the many outweigh the Pogood of the few.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandbox

    crucial example... smoking.

    Smoking is legal however in many cities and states there are various laws banning indoor smoking.  Does this not violate a smoker's right to assemble?  However it is for the health of the many that these laws are being passed all over the country.

    Now you're going to say "there's no case of a woman in a burka committing a crime."  This is true, however, is it not hard to catch a criminal in a crime if their entire body is covered?  How can you convict someone when you don't know what they look like?  Point is, you do not have the right to cover your face in western society.  Period.

    Should I be allowed, as a man, to start a religion where I wear a ski mask and gloves every time I go in the bank because I feel banks are sinful due to their charging of interest?  It's laughable but really, but where do we draw the line?

    Like Christians, some muslims pick and choose on this issue.  They want to wear the Burka but also get a drivers license and drive a car even though this is against their law.  So what makes that rule less important than the other?

    Bottom line is we live in an identity society.  Your face must be verifiable.  If you don't like it, don't leave the house.

  •  Ban high heels? (4+ / 0-)



    Practicing Law without a License is my 3d favorite Crime.

    by ben masel on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 09:30:11 PM PDT

  •  It's A Security/Identity Verification Issue (0+ / 0-)

    If you think it isn't, try walking into a bank or jewelry store while wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet.  Or try buying a fifth of Jack Daniels in a burqa while insisting the picture ID you are presenting is really you.

    I support the banning of the refusal to remove the veil when asked to in appropriate situations. If my job as a cop, or a liquor store clerk, require me to identify you or better assess your intentions, the veil must come off. I also support banning wearing of any form of veil that impedes peripheral vision while in public.  I spent some time in Saudi Arabia and heard many tales of women and girls struck by vehicles they didn't see coming.  Imagine driving a car in a burqa... oh wait, men who insist women wear veils probably don't allow them to drive either.

    As for the rantings about banning all sorts of "offensive" garments I raise the B.S. flag. Thongs, camel toe, butt crack, Dodgers caps, Kiss-Me-I'm-Irish T-Shirts may be offensive to some, but none prevent a human from confirming your identity or reading non-verbal clues.

    My view on the "cultural" need to wear the veil is that any culture that forces women to alter their behaviors to compensate for males need for dominance or inability to control their lust is a culture that is best allowed to wither away.  

  •  he is completely right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandbox

    because the veil IS oppression of women, which should not be tolerated in society. And security is truly a risk with those things. Given how France has busted numerous terrorist operations in the past, and how Europe, in the UK, Spain, and Netherlands have seen attacks, it would be very easy for a suicide bomber to shroud himself up, not be seen on camera, and blow everyone to smithereens.

    Also, Europe is having a problem with mass immigration, and many Muslims are having trouble assimilating. This helps them do that because they have to be more western without out, and doing so will help them identify more with the mainstream and secular and less likely to get ultra-religious. Religious oppression of women, be it Christian or Islamic is absolutely wrong, and we should have no tolerance for the intolerant.

    "If someone was sending rockets on my house where my daughters were sleeping at night, I would do everything to stop it"-Barack Obama, Sderot, Israel

    by deaniac20 on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 10:44:45 PM PDT

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