January 16, 2006

"It's a medieval symbol, a symbol against women."

Says Dutch VP Geert Wilders explaining the criminalization of traditional Islamic dress:
The Dutch government will announce over the next few weeks whether it will make it a crime to wear traditional Islamic dress which covers the face apart from the eyes.

The Dutch parliament has already voted in favour of a proposal to ban the burqa outside the home, and some in the government have thrown their weight behind it....

"We don't want women to be ashamed to show who they are. Even if you have decided yourself to do that, you should not do it in Holland, because we want you to be integrated, assimilated into Dutch society. If people cannot see who you are, or see one inch of your body or your face, I believe this is not the way to integrate into our society."...

Mr Wilders' name was included on a list of "infidels, who deserved to be slaughtered", which was found pinned to the body of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.

Van Gogh was murdered two years ago for making the film about women and Islam called "Submission". It starts with a shot of a woman's face covered by a burqa. Slowly the camera shows that, from the neck downwards, she's naked but for a thin veil.

Mr Wilders has explicitly linked his wish for a burqa ban with terrorism.

"We have problems with a growing minority of Muslims who tend to have sympathy with the Islamo-fascistic concept of radical Islam," says Mr Wilders.

"That's also a reason why everybody should be identifiable when they walk on the street or go to a pub or go into a restaurant or whatsoever."

61 comments:

PatCA said...

I agree with it, in light of the terrorist murders there and of promises and threats of more to come. Its mighty easy to conceal a weapon in a burqa, and the radicals there have already said of Hirsan Ali, "a woman will kill her."

If they want a Muslim society, there are any number still available in this world.

IMO for the Dutch and for us, multiracial is good; multicultural is bad.

aidan maconachy said...

This is a tricky one.

I have a problem with government telling people what they can and can't wear. Will the same law be extended to Mennonites, Hindus and others should they opt to appear in public in traditional religious dress?

The problem of the double standard could lead some in the Islamic community to view this as stigmatization. So it may have the effect of leading to increased sympathy for radicals rather than vice-versa.

Some punitive measures are simply reactionary, and often stem from the desire to punish. For example recently a couple of German legislators came up with the dubious idea of tagging Islamists so they can be tracked - ankle tags I believe. The other idea involved loyalty exams.

These measures are knee jerk responses to a genuine security threat. Tagging a man may reveal his geographical location but it tells you nothing about who is talking to, conspiring with or even if he is engaged in bomb making. Muslims if they choose can lie on loyalty tests. As with a burqa ban, such punitive measures may actually add to the sense of the larger Islamic community that they are being persecuted.

Despite some reservations, I think that there are indeed grounds for this burqa ban. I know that in Turkey, even the hijab is worn as a sign of defiance and an open token of the rejection of secularism. This is why Turkish university administrations have been so adamant about demanding that students adhere to a "modern" dress code.

The burqa is an extreme statement, even by the standards of the Qu'uran. Mohammad addressed the need for modesty and suggested female dress should reflect this, but there was no hard and fast law that women should be swathed from head to toe in blue sheets with only a peephole of sorts to look out of. This is more related to the cultural development of Islamic customs than it is to actual scriptural requirements.

It could be argued that the burqa is a security threat. Male Islamist bombers have disguised themselves as women to perpetrate acts of violence and to move undetected from place to place. So it can be argued that it is more than a simple statement of piety.

Yes, I support the ban but not with a sense of glee. It is always regretable when government authority impinges upon the rights of the individual - even if these rights extend to the most radical type of fashion statement.

AJ Lynch said...

Right or wrong, his message and stand is pretty clear....Muslims Must Assimilate or Go Home!

Mark said...

patca: Out of curiousity, why do you say "multiracial is good"?

What's good about it?

The Dutch aren't good enough, racially, as they are? They need some arab and african blood mixed in to be "good"?

Does that go for Africa and arabia too? Do the people in, say, Burkina Faso need more white people to move there and interbreed with them before they are "good"?

How about if we say that the ethnic Dutch are good as they are, and the ethnic africans and arabs are good as they are, and stop insisting that the world won't be right until there are no distinct races left? If you truly do favor diversity in the world, you should not be in favor of blending all races into one amorphous brown average.

clint said...

Ah, yes. The nations of Europe so often held up as the gold standard for civil liberties, to which the U.S. supposedly can't compare.

Anyone think such a ban would pass the laugh test in any court in the U.S.?

(I'm not saying the ban would be wrong -- the Dutch are in a really tough spot right now -- just that this is a clear example of where the U.S. really is on the tradeoff between liberty and security, compared to "enlightened" Europe.)

RogerA said...

Great issue--I find myself in agreement with aidan maconachy above--at one level of "principle," is this case not about the conflict of rather basic rights? and the degree to which the state can diminish one right in favor of another right?

Lets see--I know: warrantless surveillance versus 4th amendment rights. Is there any difference between the two cases at the level of principle?

PatCA said...

"If you truly do favor diversity in the world, you should not be in favor of blending all races into one amorphous brown average."

Oh, for heaven's sakes, I mean that in this world with massive immigrant populations, I have no objections to many races living together with the caveat that in the US, our culture would prevail: for example, our belief in the equality of women would trump another culture's view that women are not equal.

And, posters, how do you know "they" feel persecuted? This is what the self-appointed mouthpieces say. My lefty Dutch friend, a novelist, was quite surprised when she asked her Muslim friends after Pim Fortuyn was killed what they thought of him. "Of course we would have voted for him!" they shot back at her, "we know what the radicals can do."

Sloanasaurus said...

I agree with the idea that it is bad to have laws telling people that they cannot wear certain religious dress. However, the difference between the Dutch issue and the Omish and memmonites is that the Omish and mennonite men also dress traditionally. In Islam the Burqa is designed specifically to put down women. In that matter I don't have a problem banning it.... especially if it is the legislature banning it and not the Courts.

Also, the muslims in the Netherlands have an out... they can move back to their homelands.

Sloanasaurus said...

"....Anyone think such a ban would pass the laugh test in any court in the U.S....."


Actually, I think a ban could pass COnstitutional muster. Could you prove to the court that the state had a compelling interest to ban Burqas. I think if you showed that Burqa's were designed to limit the freedoms of women, upholding a ban would be easy for the court.

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe I am too used to the United States, but I sure wouldn't want this sort of thing here, and, of course, it most likely wouldn't fly, except in certain security situations (thanks to our 1st Amdt.)

I will admit that the Dutch, as well as most of Europe, are caught between a rock and a hard place here. They have a birth rate below the replacement rate, and have work that needs to be done, yet don't have the native born people to do it.

But my view is that they should either accept the immigrants for whom they are, or they shouldn't allow them in.

For the most part, no one is making these girls wear those silly outfits. They are doing it on their own to show pride or solidarity with their religion and culture.

For me, I see little difference here between a burqa, chadar, etc. for some Moslem women and a yarmulke or Star of Davvid for Jews or a cross for Christians.

I do note though that this country is not without some controversy here. Note the furor on Alabama drivers' licenses. But I suspect that is more likely to survive scrutiny as the standard is presumably being applied to all neutrally, regardless of religion, and the state has a compelling interest in being able to identify drivers.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sloanasaurus

I disagree that it would be slam dunk. The right to religious freedom in this country is grounded in the First Amendment. In order to infringe that, and this I think would fall under religious freedom, a regulation, etc. would have to pass strict scrutiny. I don't see some vague concept about female equality, esp. since apparently many of these women and girls do this voluntarily, passing this test.

On the other hand, I do see requiring that they be removed for driver's license pictures would qualify, under the theory of public safety. And note here the impact. Removing headdress is a one time thing, and isn't required if the person decides not to get a license after all. Also, it is presumably enforced regardless of religion. All factors tending towards minimal impact and passing strict scrutiny.

You are suggesting however a situation where the restriction would apply pretty much whenever someone was out of the house. Not minimal impact at all. And clearly not tied to public safety or the like, since it would apply regardless of danger to the public.

michael said...

Frankly, I'm a bit surprised at the insipid commentary on this post. Do you all realize that you're condoning a law that effectively makes being a muslim illegal? Is there any "principle" based on freedom that could reasonably be used to justify such a law? I think not.

To be sure, the Dutch and much of the rest of Europe do indeed have a problem with the non-assimilated muslims living there. But rather than addressing the structural and institutional problems (e.g. the creaking welfare state) that exacerbate such conditions, Europeans instead decided to pass laws intended to make muslims uncomfortable, therefore discouraging them from moving to Europe, and potentially encouraging the current denizens to leave. Essentially, muslims are being harrassed out of Europe. After the muslims are gone, which disfavored group will be next?

Moreover, doesn't anyone find it just a bit nauseating how the issue is being framed by Mr. Geert Wilders? Suggesting that banning someone's style of dress is just becuase "we want to know who you are!" What a load of crap! It sort of reminds of that Seinfeld episode where everyone in Jerry's building start's kissing and hugging when they see one another, and Jerry gets ostracized because he doesn't want to take part.

The Dutch (et al.) should by all means seek ways of integrating the muslims, and of protecting against islmo-fascism. Passing silly laws intended to harrass, however, won't do the trick.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add that in many cases, religious dress remains long after the reason for it disappears. The Amish appear stuck in the early 19th century in their dress and living. Yet, we don't begrudge that of them. It is now part of the way that they distinguish themselves from the rest of us, whereas when they started dressing like that, much of it was typical of the time. They just didn't change, and the rest of us did. And now that difference is a religious statement.

Many of these Muslim women and girls don't look at their dress as being a constraint, but rather as an expression of their religion and ethnicity. By their dress, they are saying: We are devout Moslem women and girls, and not sinful western ones. Many do this in pride and solidarity.

bearbee said...

Does that mean legislation would need to encompass the mu mu, sundress, caftan, maternity apparel, poncho, granny dress or anything loose fitting capable of concealing weapons or explosives?

Recently finished reading "Massacre in Munich". To the degree Black September was successful, many times it recruited Europeans and others, sometimes unwittingly othertimes not, to infiltrate.

The 1972 Lod Airport revenge massacre was carried out by the Japanese Red Army in the name of Black September

knoxgirl said...

I don't like the idea of legislating what people can wear, especially when it's a religious matter.

But I have to admit, if we were getting large numbers of Muslims immigrants here in the U.S., I would NOT like to see our culture becoming one where a large number of women wear burqas. Muslim women might wear them volunarily, or even proudly, but that doesn't change the fact that the "backstory" is one of repression and inequality...sometimes worse!

knoxgirl said...

Michael,

the point is that in these countries, many Muslims don't *want* to integrate... Un-assimilated extremists killed Van Gogh because of his movie. What does the welfare state has to do with it?

Harkonnendog said...

"Do you all realize that you're condoning a law that effectively makes being a muslim illegal?"

Lots- in fact the great majority, I think, of Muslims choose not to wear burkhas. The burkha isn't a pillar of Islam. And you could take that argument way further. You could argue that giving Muslim women the protections of Western courts as opposed to Sharia laws "effectively makes being a Muslim illegal."

Hell, you could argue that jailing Theo Van Gogh's murderer makes being a Muslim illegal since he was practicing jihad, for that matter.

michael said...

Knoxgirl:

I agree that many muslims don't want to integrate, but making it illegal for them to practice their religion isn't going to change that. I also agree that the subjugation of women in the name of islam is abhorant in the western tradition. But again, making a style of dress illegal won't change that.

As for the welfare state, it serves to exacerbate the problem by shutting out any means of integration through the channels of commerce -- i.e. hard work. Muslim immigrants are encouraged to come and live off the dole while offered little to no opportunity to advance their position in society. Instead, they are nearly bpermanently relegated to an underclass that exists at the pleasure of the government.

Theo van Gogh was killed for shedding light on the practices of sharia law, and enlisting the help of a muslim woman to do so. His murder is exemplary of the unmitigated tension between muslims and those who wish to live a socety where one is free to speak their minds and live their lives as they see fit. The putative Dutch law would do nothing to change that.

knoxgirl said...

michael,

You make some good points.

But--I am assuming that the point of this law is to tell Muslims: "If you refuse to assimilate, you need to leave. We will no longer tolerate enemies of a free society in our midst." If it does get extremists to leave, then the law would, in fact, be effective in solving a lot of the problems you list.

* I am also not so sure that women shedding their burqas wouldn't cause some positive changes on the Muslim populations of these countries! But that could be naive...

AJ Lynch said...

Michael:

Said Muslims ...don't asimilate due to institutional and structural problems".

That is a crock, They don't assimilate because they dont' want to. Many look down on the ways of the Europeans and Americans. Let's at least be honest about that.

jbisch said...

A couple of folks mentioned a requirement in the US to remove burqas for drivers license photos. I wonder too about the legality of wearing them while actually driving. I know that you cannot wear full-face motorcycle helmets while driving cars because it severely limits a driver's sight. I'm not sure if burqa's would face the same problem.

michael said...

knoxgirl:

But--I am assuming that the point of this law is to tell Muslims: "If you refuse to assimilate, you need to leave. We will no longer tolerate enemies of a free society in our midst."

Do you see the inconsistency in that statement?

harkonnendog:

Lots- in fact the great majority, I think, of Muslims choose not to wear burkhas. The burkha isn't a pillar of Islam.

I think your facts are a bit off, but I think I understand your point that this law would only affect a segment of muslims cosidered the most virulent and hostile towards Western society (i.e. the host countries). Even if this is true, does it actually serve to integrate the community? Does the law address any of the problems with militant islamo-fascism being fomented within Western countries? Or does it throw more fuel on the fire?

And you could take that argument way further. You could argue that giving Muslim women the protections of Western courts as opposed to Sharia laws "effectively makes being a Muslim illegal."

Well, no that wouldn't be a logical extension of the argument since the "burqa law" forbids voluntary behavior and the "court protections" allows voluntary behavior (the women wouldn't be forced to utilize western legal traditions, although such would be at their disposal).

Hell, you could argue that jailing Theo Van Gogh's murderer makes being a Muslim illegal since he was practicing jihad, for that matter.

Again there is a distinction ... murder is not condoned as a religious practice because it harms someone else's rights. Wearing a burqa in fact hurts no one except (arguably) the wearer, and that is an entirely voluntary function.

JimNtexas said...

Here in the United States we of course could not tolerate a law directed at one religon.

But it is my understanding that a number of states have 'anti-mask' laws which prohibit going about in public with most of ones face covered.

These laws were passed to help control the KKK. I vaguely recall that the ACLU has fought these laws, but I don't know which states have them nor what the courts may have said about them.

As someone who owns a retail store, I'm certainly not thrilled about people coming in to my door wearing masks.

knoxgirl said...

Michael: sure I do, but there's a difference between a free society and a blindly tolerant one. The Dutch law is one step toward saying "We're not going to just tolerate your b.s. anymore."

As to whether or not there's anything to gain from banning burqas... who knows.

You say "NO!"

All I'm saying is "Maybe."

Chum said...

'A couple of folks mentioned a requirement in the US to remove burqas for drivers license photos. I wonder too about the legality of wearing them while actually driving.'

Interesting point. In my experience doing business in the United Arab Emirates, the fabric of the burqua that a woman secures over the lower half of her face when in the presence of a man, while not 'see through' is usually made of silk and and somewhat 'see through' from the wearer's perspective. Regardless it would still impede good peripheral vision IMO.

With regard to the Dutch ban, it is discriminatory. Are they going to forbid Indian woman from wearing a sari?

Wilder's statement about not wanting women to be ashamed is just as sexist and restrictive as he perceives an Islamic woman's decision to wear traditional dress. Wilder assumes the women have no say in the matter. Any of the women I've spoken with, wear traditional dress (to varying degrees) by choice and at home frequently wear western clothes.

The UAE however, is more sophisticated than the Islamic countries with a huge population of fundamentalists.

knoxgirl said...

"Wilder assumes the women have no say in the matter. Any of the women I've spoken with, wear traditional dress (to varying degrees) by choice"

I am somewhat skeptical of this... I mean, I certainly trust your experience in the UAE, but why then were so many women in Afghanistan happy to shed their burqas when the Taliban were kicked out?

bearbee said...

September 2004 article-
Italian woman ticketed for wearing a burqa

Chum said...

'but why then were so many women in Afghanistan happy to shed their burqas when the Taliban were kicked out?'

Clearly in strict fundamentalist countries the situation can be very different. I remember seeing film of women in Afganistan being beaten in the street because some part of their clothing was 'wrong'.

What I don't like about Wilder's statement is that he assumes a lot about traditional women. That they have no say in the matter. This is probably true for some but anyone who thinks they know best for someone else gets my hackles up.

miklos rosza said...

Having your face covered on your driver's license was dealt with in Florida two years ago or so, where a recent convert ultimately lost her case on appeal.

In Syria it has come out that under the burqa young wives often wear Victoria's Secret lingerie, and/or corsets and suchlike. It's funny how this connects in some sense with Victorian-era pornography of "white slavery" and the secrets of the harem, phenomena which still exist.

My memory is that this sort of all-covering, disguising garment was uncommon until Khomeini took power in Iraq in 1979.

I never saw a burqa in Morocco in the mid-1980s. But women often covered their hair, or wore veils, even in Tangier.

Chum said...

'In Syria it has come out that under the burqa young wives often wear Victoria's Secret lingerie, and/or corsets and suchlike.'

and Brunomagli shoes. Consequently, the seeming contradiction has the effect of making these women look very sexy and mysterious.

bearbee said...

Update on Italy- only pertains to covering the face:

Italy Senate approves terror laws

"Lawmakers on Thursday and Friday added some new amendments to the package approved by the Cabinet, including one increasing the penalties to up to two years in prison and a €2,000 fine for anyone who purposely hides their features by covering their faces in public -- whether they're wearing burqa or a helmet. The previous law called for a maximum of one year in prison and €1,000 in jail."

Sloanasaurus said...

Wearing a head scarf is not even close to wearing a burqa. head scarfs are perfectly acceptable. Wearing a Burqa, however, in the United States is the same as wearing a Halloween costume. It would be completely ridiculous.

Perhaps people should be free to wear Halloween costumes where ever they go. However, it doesn't mean that it is illegal to ridicule them - that is free speech too. I would encorage our society to make fun of people who wear burqas... just as I would make fun of some idiot wearing a jawa costume while he or she was a the local food mart. Further employers can ban the women from wearing burqas at work. Wearing a burqa is not professional attire (not even for a coffee shop). It would be impossible to get a job with a burqa. How about riding a bus... people with Burqa's should be banned from buses, too much of a security risk. could you imagine someone wearing a burqa serving you your breakfast at Perkins.....how disgusting.

Steve said...

Here is a link to Georgia's mask law, found, oddly enough, on an anime convention site.
http://wani.bbsnavi.net/wc/www.awa-con.com/index.php?id=40

I live in an area with a relatively large number of Muslims (in metro Atlanta) and while it's not rare to see women in traditional muslim dress, it is rare to see women with their faces covered.

That being said though, I've never heard of a Muslim being arrested undre the mask law.

brylin said...

The Dutch attempt to ban the burqa is only the latest symptom of the overriding European problem with rapidly growing numbers of unassimilated Islamic masses. See car burnings in France as another example.

The real problem, for Europeans, is the refusal of Muslims to integrate into European society.

This problem becomes ominous for Europeans when you consider the widely different birth rates of Europeans and Muslims in Europe.

Does anyone really believe that banning the burqa will have any effect on this rising Islamic tide?

Mark said...

If you emigrate to another country it should be with the understanding that you are going to utterly and completely assimilate into that country, becoming in every way indistinguishable from natives of that country. If you aren't willing to do that, you have no business coming to that country. Stay in your own and live in the ways of your ancestors. But if you go to another people's country to live, you have an obligation to become a part of that people - even I would suggest, to the point of adopting their religion as well as their manner of dress, language, holidays, customs, and so on.

If the people of a country do not insist on this from immigrants, then when a faster-reproducing set of immigrants comes into the country they will quite simply take over the country in a number of generations. If muslims become the majority in a western country they can quite legally take control of the government, and quite legally vote to change the laws and constituion of the country to anything they please. They could very plausibly make sharia the law of the land, for example. That is a perfect illustration that democracy in itself is not a solution. Democracy is only appropriate in a nation of a homogenous people that are on the same wavelength, sharing the same culture and values and customs. Otherwise democracy becomes a tool for fertile invaders to use to overwhelm a native population.

Frankly I think immigration from the third world is a terrible bargain for the west and a brain drain on the third world. The solution to third world problems is NOT for the third world to pack up and move en masse to the West. The solution is for disgruntled, ambitious third worlders to make changes in their own countries, using the West as a model if they like, and fix their own problems at home.

I think the muslims complaining about the Dutch have a lot of nerve. If they don't like the culture of the Dutch they have no business being there. Their aggressive insistence on not being required to assimilate is a foretaste of what they have in mind for the native Dutch as they become a larger demographic force. The Dutch would do well to take strong action now to insist on complete and immediate assimilation or else deportation. Otherwise their grandchildren will be the emigrants looking for someplace to live.

brylin said...

Mark, I think Muslims come to Europe for the money. I don't think they have any intention of giving up their culture.

If you assume I am right, there is no solution, unless you are willing to forcibly expel these people. And this solution is just not politically feasible.

Or you rapidly increase European birth rates.

So there is no solution for the Europeans and the Islamic takeover of Europe is inevitable.

brylin said...

Mark Steyn argues that the West is in danger of extinction.

RogerA said...

Michael said: "Frankly, I'm a bit surprised at the insipid commentary on this post. Do you all realize that you're condoning a law that effectively makes being a muslim illegal? Is there any "principle" based on freedom that could reasonably be used to justify such a law? I think not."

Michael makes no good points; in fact he only amplifies the fact he knows very little. His ignorance is surpassed only by his arrogance-

If for example, you can tell me why banning a TRIBAL dress custom NOT recognized in Islam proscribes the practice of Islam I might be a bit more convinced; further, is a benefit to society as a whole that could be obtained that would reasonably justify such a law--Yes, As Justice Jackson famously said, the constitution is not a suicide pact--Proscribing Burkahs does NOT proscribe Islam--there is nothing in Islam that mandates Burkhas--and when it comes to balancing the rights of the public to free of fanatics who dont mind blowing themselves up to advance their warped views, I see absolutely nothing wrong with banning a type of garment that aids abets such activities--

So dont give me the "isipid commentary" crap, and dont tell me that whoever in the Dutch political system that advances the idea invalidates it--I dont believe, for example that Tony Lewis or Ted Kennedy is the purveyor of truth; nor is Paul Krugman the test of economic reality--so who says it is something to be considered, but it doesnt negate the validity of the comment.
And citing Seinfeld--Damn--there is a really impressive argument.
It really impressed me.

Harkonnendog said...

Michael-

"Again there is a distinction ... murder is not condoned as a religious practice because it harms someone else's rights."
This ignores reality. Think about the context a little. The entire reason this law is being imposed is because so many Muslims believe murder IS condoned as a religious practice. That's WHY this law is being enacted, so that Muslims will assimilate and no longer condone such murders. Keep in mind that van Gogh was killed, basically, for a free speech violation.

"Even if this is true, does it actually serve to integrate the community?" I'd say yes. "Does the law address any of the problems with militant islamo-fascism being fomented within Western countries?" I don't know. "Or does it throw more fuel on the fire?" Doesn't matter, I think. There comes a point where the fire kills- you can risk making it hotter because it is already deadly as is. Anything is better than going along to get along because long term that is suicide.

Anyway, it comes down to whether you think the vast majority of Muslims, women included, would rather assimilate or not given a relatively free choice. I think this law is motivated by the belief that the burqa is not just a symbol or repression, but a tool of it.

"Well, no that wouldn't be a logical extension of the argument since the "burqa law" forbids voluntary behavior and the "court protections" allows voluntary behavior (the women wouldn't be forced to utilize western legal traditions, although such would be at their disposal)."
1st, you have no way of knowing how voluntary use of the burqa is. Nobody does. 2nd, a woman who is regularly beaten is not given a choice about whether or not her husband is prosecuted as a wife beater.

Steven said...

"Do you all realize that you're condoning a law that effectively makes being a muslim illegal?"

Well, no, I don't. If you can show me where in the Quran, Sunna, or the five madhhabs (four Sunni, one Shiite) the burqa is required, and maybe I will. But you see, you can't.

Why can't you? Because even the most strict of the standard schools of Islamic law allow the face and hands to be uncovered. The burqa is not required by any of the madhhabs.

The chador and the abaya are the most strict forms of required dress; they are required by the law in Iran and Saudi Arabia, respectively; and they both leave the face and hands uncovered. The face-covering Afghani burqa and south Arabian niqab are local cultural dress requirements, not mandated by any school of Islam.

The French effort to outlaw headscarves actually threatened the dress rules of schools of Islamic religious law; this Dutch effort doesn't.

Now, I tend to believe anybody should be allowed to wear pretty much wahtever they want, regardless of whether it's religious dress, so I would tend to oppose this Dutch law. But not because of any false belief that it would make being a Muslim illegal.

Chum said...

'Stay in your own and live in the ways of your ancestors. But if you go to another people's country to live, you have an obligation to become a part of that people - even I would suggest, to the point of adopting their religion as well as their manner of dress, language, holidays, customs, and so on.'

God, how boring. Not much chance of that, thankfully, otherwise all US citizens would be Puritans. No Jews, no Sikh's, no Buddhists, etc. Besides, who gets to decide what is the 'norm' that everyone else should be adopting? Diversity creates tolerance and makes for an interesting cultural experience as over time everyone embraces aspects of other cultures whether you're aware of it or not.

Sloanasaurus said...

I actually agree with Mark on this point. The sky is falling! I am tired of the victimized muslims living in Western countries.

In regards to this quote...

"...there is no solution, unless you are willing to forcibly expel these people. And this solution is just not politically feasible...."

This reminds me of Chesterton responding to the old cliche, you cant turn back the hands of time... Chesterton said..."sure you can, just take your fingers open the door on the clock and push the hands back..."

I think that Europeans will eventually solve this problem. We should not forget that Europe does not have a history of being a "tolerant" place, especially continental Europe. If threatened with extinction I imagine that Europe will come up with some intolerant answers about the muslim problem. Europe will not go quietly.

The great thing about relativism is that you can justify anything and still be just as progressive and enlightend as you were the second before. The examples are endless. As we all know, Europe is full of relativism.

Mark said...

chum wrote (in response to my opinion that people should stay in their own culture and change that if they don't like it):

"God, how boring. Not much chance of that, thankfully, otherwise all US citizens would be Puritans. No Jews, no Sikh's, no Buddhists, etc. Besides, who gets to decide what is the 'norm' that everyone else should be adopting? Diversity creates tolerance and makes for an interesting cultural experience as over time everyone embraces aspects of other cultures whether you're aware of it or not."

You don't have to be bored - go visit other cultures, watch travel documentaries, read up on them, personally adopt aspects of their cultures in your own life if you want. But don't import foreign peoples in any significant numbers or they will take over your own culture. It's like saying you'd be bored if you had to eat only chocolate ice cream all the time - of course you would! But that doesn't mean you should stir all the chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, fudge pecan, boysenberry, peach, etc etc etc all together into one undifferentiated mush. If you don't keep the flavors separate there won't be separate flavors to enjoy.

And there would not necessarily have been "only puritans" in the US at this point. The puritans likely would have chosen to evolve in different directions by now - but not because they were overwhelmed by a massive influx of people of alien cultures that simply made more babies (irresponsibly many in some cases) and took the country away from them.

You ask, "who gets to decide what the 'norm' is" -- the people of each nation, each culture get to decide what their norms are. Wahabbis decide what their norms are; the Dutch decide what their norms are. If the Wahabbis don't like the Dutch norms, they have no business being there.

You say "diversity creates tolerance". I'm sorry but this is exactly wrong if by "diversity" you mean having more than one distinct ethnic/cultural group in a nation. The strife in the world is almost entirely caused by having "diversity" in the nations - the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, the Shiite/Sunni/Kurds in Iraq, the muslims in Europe, the Mexicans and blacks in the US, etc, etc, etc -- look at anyplace in the world where there is war and strife and you will likely find that the cause is "diversity" in a nation. If you want peace, each ethnic/cultural group should have its own nation with borders respected by its neighbors and the right to choose its own way of life and own destiny. It is people who insist, contrary to all evidence, that "diversity" as you define it is good who are unwittingly sustaining this strife.

michael said...

Roger A:

Michael makes no good points; in fact he only amplifies the fact he knows very little. His ignorance is surpassed only by his arrogance-

OK. Let's assume you're right and that I'm factually-challenged, ignorant and arrogant. How does that change the fact that the sole persons targetted by this law are Muslims?

If for example, you can tell me why banning a TRIBAL dress custom NOT recognized in Islam proscribes the practice of Islam I might be a bit more convinced; further, is a benefit to society as a whole that could be obtained that would reasonably justify such a law--Yes, As Justice Jackson famously said, the constitution is not a suicide pact--Proscribing Burkahs does NOT proscribe Islam--there is nothing in Islam that mandates Burkhas--and when it comes to balancing the rights of the public to free of fanatics who dont mind blowing themselves up to advance their warped views, I see absolutely nothing wrong with banning a type of garment that aids abets such activities--

Well the burqa-wearers certainly seem to think it has something to do with Islam. And maybe you missed that class about "modesty" in your extensive study about Islamic traditions. Either way, you (and some others) completely missed my point. Since we are assuming that I am stupid, ignorant and arrogant, let's also assume that this was my fault. So here it goes again: banning burqa's, or face-coverings of the sort mentioned in the story, is banning a style of dress peculiar to one religion -- Islam. In fact, Mr. Wilder openly touted the fact that this is whom the law is intended to punish -- muslim women. To be sure, not all muslim women wear burqas, but many do. Regardless of how you try to frame thie issue, this law is sepcifically intended to prevent muslim women from practicing their religion as they see fit.

So dont give me the "isipid commentary" crap, and dont tell me that whoever in the Dutch political system that advances the idea invalidates it

I'll give whatever commentary I like, and I'll call it like I see it. I don't understand what you mean by the second half of the sentence, since I made no comment about invalidation.

I dont believe, for example that Tony Lewis or Ted Kennedy is the purveyor of truth; nor is Paul Krugman the test of economic reality

It's good to see we agree on something.

so who says it is something to be considered, but it doesnt negate the validity of the comment.

OK? I'm still not sure what you're getting at here.

And citing Seinfeld--Damn--there is a really impressive argument.
It really impressed me.


Well, thanks! Although technically that wasn't an "argument" but instead an "analogy." They're different. But you probably knew that.

harkonnendog:

"Again there is a distinction ... murder is not condoned as a religious practice because it harms someone else's rights."
This ignores reality. Think about the context a little. The entire reason this law is being imposed is because so many Muslims believe murder IS condoned as a religious practice. That's WHY this law is being enacted, so that Muslims will assimilate and no longer condone such murders. Keep in mind that van Gogh was killed, basically, for a free speech violation.


I agree with you that the law was passed to force assimilation (or harrass muslims out of the country, whichever comes first), but murder was and still is illegal. Making it illegal to wear burqas or whatever doesn't add to that nor would have kept Mr. van Gogh from being killed in the first place.

"Even if this is true, does it actually serve to integrate the community?" I'd say yes.

Fair enough. We disagree.

"Does the law address any of the problems with militant islamo-fascism being fomented within Western countries?" I don't know.

I don't either, but I'm hard-pressed to believe it will. I suppose I could be convinced otherwise, but I've yet to encounter that argument. Instead, I see a law intended to oppress certain members of a disfavored group in order to make the others feel more secure.

"Or does it throw more fuel on the fire?" Doesn't matter, I think. There comes a point where the fire kills- you can risk making it hotter because it is already deadly as is. Anything is better than going along to get along because long term that is suicide.

Look, I agree that something must be done. I'm simply pointing out that making it illegal to dress a certain way doesn't address that. How about a strictly enforced law against inciting violence? That seems to me like it would much more effective and actually get to the root of the problem. Of course it comes with its own set of problems, but it is a law that could be evenly applied without having to single any particular religion (at least theoretically).

Anyway, it comes down to whether you think the vast majority of Muslims, women included, would rather assimilate or not given a relatively free choice. I think this law is motivated by the belief that the burqa is not just a symbol or repression, but a tool of it.

I think to a certain extent we agree here too.

"Well, no that wouldn't be a logical extension of the argument since the "burqa law" forbids voluntary behavior and the "court protections" allows voluntary behavior (the women wouldn't be forced to utilize western legal traditions, although such would be at their disposal)."
1st, you have no way of knowing how voluntary use of the burqa is.
Neither do you. Nor the lawmakers. So why assume it isn't?
Nobody does.
Presumably the burqa-wearers know.
2nd, a woman who is regularly beaten is not given a choice about whether or not her husband is prosecuted as a wife beater.
Ummm ... OK? So what if they made it illegal for women to wear high heels? I mean, there so uncomfortable and women who walk around in them all day complain about how much they hurt their feet. The only reason that women wear such obviously cruel shoes is because their husbands/boyfriends make them. Why on earth would they do it otherwise? Personally, I LOVE it when my wife wears high heels ... does that make me the equivalent of a wife-beater?

Steven:

I won't cut n'paste your whole post here, but suffice it to say that I did not state, nor did I mean to imply that the muslim religion was being outlawed. And, as I pointed out to Roger A above, there are a good number of muslims who believe that the burqa (or some form thereof) IS an important part of being a muslim woman. For the Dutch lawmakers to decide otherwise is ridiculous.

Moreover, despite your and Roger A's assertions to the contrary, the Koran does in fact discuss the proper attire for muslims, including specific mentions of hijab and jilbab -- although what exactly constitutes "proper" hijab and jalabib varies from culture to culture.

Kev said...

Michael: "Look, I agree that something must be done. I'm simply pointing out that making it illegal to dress a certain way doesn't address that. How about a strictly enforced law against inciting violence?"

But that won't work if the violence-inciters are content to blow themselves up along with their victims. This may not be the right answer to the problem, but at least they're trying to find a way to stop violence before it happens.

Chum said...

'You don't have to be bored - go visit other cultures, watch travel documentaries, read up on them, personally adopt aspects of their cultures in your own life if you want. But don't import foreign peoples in any significant numbers or they will take over your own culture.'

Well thankfully your forefathers weren't as xenophobic as you otherwise you'd never have been born.

'The strife in the world is almost entirely caused by having "diversity" in the nations - the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, the Shiite/Sunni/Kurds in Iraq,'

Cultural diversity isn't by any stretch, the same as historical tribal and clan conflict within a nation. In fact, this issue is exactly why many people immigrate to a new country.

Your fear of immigrants is strange given your own ancestors came from somewhere else and likely didn't fully assimilate until the next generation.

'each culture get to decide what their norms are. Wahabbis decide what their norms are; the Dutch decide what their norms are. If the Wahabbis don't like the Dutch norms, they have no business being there.'

Except this doesn't exist in the real world.

'The strife in the world is almost entirely caused by having "diversity" in the nations - the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, the Shiite/Sunni/Kurds in Iraq, the muslims in Europe, the Mexicans and blacks in the US,'It is people who insist, contrary to all evidence, that "diversity" as you define it is good who are unwittingly sustaining this strife.'

Clearly you have a problem with people of color. Bit tricky about blacks in the US though. That forced immigration sucked for them.

Mark said...

chum said:

"Your fear of immigrants is strange given your own ancestors came from somewhere else and likely didn't fully assimilate until the next generation."

My ancestors were a conquering people who took this land away from the natives. They were stronger than the natives and were not shy at all about saying that their way of life was superior or about imposing it on the natives. They were self-confident, industrious, fertile, and ingenious, and the result was the greatest nation in the history of the world with the greatest culture ever. What would be tragic would be to surrender that nation and that culture to a wave of third-world people who bring nothing but an ability to reproduce with abandon and a religion that commands them to use any available means to subjugate the rest of the world.

Is it not self-evident that (a) we do not want to live under muslim rule, and (b) that is exactly what will happen if we allow muslims into our countries to reproduce, spread their culture, and overwhelm us demographically?

"Clearly you have a problem with people of color. Bit tricky about blacks in the US though. That forced immigration sucked for them."

Ah, the ol' "call em a racist" ploy, designed to cut off discussion.

Yes, the "forced immigration" for the blacks was bad for them. I'm not sure how this is an argument in your favor, though. The country is still struggling, still segregated, and still in conflict 140 years after slavery ended. So I don't think the black experience is exactly an argument for "diversity".

"Cultural diversity isn't by any stretch, the same as historical tribal and clan conflict within a nation."

Nonsense. You're playing word games to avoid acknowledging the truth that "diversity" within a nation leads to friction, violence, and civil war.

There is a natural, normal human desire to have a home for one's family and a nation for one's people. A place where your people's customs, traditions, and culture can be nurtured and protected from unwanted intrusion. You can't have that if there is a large group of people with a culture quite unlike your own in the same nation because the two (or more) groups will naturally fight for control.

I bet that you would have no problem with any other people but white Westerners insisting on having a homeland for themselves free from unwanted outside influence. If it were a tribe of Amazon bushmen, or Tibetans, or Kurds, or Pygmies, or any other group, you'd feel their desire to maintain their culture and people free of Western influence would be understandable and noble. But you don't extend the same feeling to your own culture or people.

It's not a matter of xenophobia, or fear, or hate, or problems with "people of color" (god I hate that phrase! it is so racist). Wanting my people to have their own nation is as natural as wanting my family to have their own home. Because I want that for my family doesn't mean I hate or fear other families. But if you force me to allow others to intrude in my home, to intrude on my family, THEN you will have hate, and fear, and violence.

Palladian said...

brylin- I started to like that Steyn piece until he compared 9/11 to the Aids pandemic and radical Islam to the "the gay agenda" (dum dum DUM!). Brave words from a former theatre critic.

Slocum said...

I'm waiting for the first instance of a bank robber (of unknown race, sex, age, etc) pulling a job in a burka. You can't wander into a bank wearing a ski-mask, but you can walk right through the door covered completely from head-to-toe like a black ghost -- it's the perfect disguise, really.

I think garments covering the face could, in fact, be banned on grounds of public order and safety--for the same reasons that driver's license photos require showing the face.

Steven said...

Michael, of course the Quran deals with the requirements of hijab and jilbab. As do the Sunna and the madhhabs, in far more detail. The madhhabs go so far as to detail what exactly must be covered, and what does not. And the face is never included, in any of the five schools.

Face-covering is not established in the Quran, it is not established in the Sunna (haddiths of the Prophet and the Companions of the Prophet), and it is not extablished in the madhhabs. The requirements of hijab and jilbab do not, in any of the schools of Islamic law, require covering of the face, and assertions that they do is an assertion made from ignorance of Islam.

Headscarves are specifically required in the madhhabs, and so the French ban constitutes a restriction on religious practice, even if they aren't mentioned in the Quran. A ban on face-covering is an entirely different matter.

It's like the difference between a Prohibition that bans even Communion wine to Catholics in Mass, and a Prohibition that bans beer even on St. Patrick's Day; one rule infringes on the actual religion, the other infringes on just a cultural practice folk-associated with religion.

michael said...

Steven:

The requirements of hijab and jilbab do not, in any of the schools of Islamic law, require covering of the face, and assertions that they do is an assertion made from ignorance of Islam.

That's simply not true. You are correct that the Koran does not explicitly require the niqab, but there are schools of Islamic thought that interpret the scriptures as requiring such. There certainly is a push from certain, more modern Islamic authorities to clarify the issue about what constitutes proper jalabib, but you go too far in asserting that no school of Islamic teaching requires the niqab.

It's like the difference between a Prohibition that bans even Communion wine to Catholics in Mass, and a Prohibition that bans beer even on St. Patrick's Day; one rule infringes on the actual religion, the other infringes on just a cultural practice folk-associated with religion.

This is a pretty good analogy, except that there isn't anything about the Catholic religion, perceived or otherwise, that requires drinking. Even taking communinon at mass is considered optional. Nevertheless, I agree that the niqab is a cultural interpretation of a religious doctrine. My point was simply that targetting those who consider the niqab to be a necessary part of their religion (rightly or wrongly) does nothing IMHO to address the actual problem presented -- i.e. un-assimilated and militant muslims.

Bruce Hayden said...

This sort of culteral clash has been going on since we started settling down as a species. Much of our history is that of massive migrations - we are just watching one happen in front of us in Europe right now.

Part of the clash has always been to see which culture ends up triumphing. China was invariably triumphant over its conquerers because of its population and its advanced culture. But many others have succumbed over the millenia.

I am reading a book right now on the intersection of language and history. It is interesting that the one Semitic language that has flourished is Arabic, because of essentally one man (Mohammed). Of the rest, only Hebrew really survives, and that is the real anomoly, as it was really rarely spoken outside of religion for better than 2,000 years. All the rest of them are pretty much dead. Aramaic, the primary language of the first millenium BC in the Middle East is spoken almost entirely today by Biblical scholors and Rabbis. Phoenician disapeared almost immediately after the Punic wars. And so on.

I can trace my father's side of the family down from Scandinavia down into Normandy, then across to England, to MA, down to VA, then KY, TN, MO, OK, and finally, CO. During that time they went from speaking a Nordic dialect to French, Middle English, and finally, to modern English. And they went from pagan, through Roman Catholic, to Protestant.

So, no surprise that many of the Moslems in Holland don't want to assimilate, and the Dutch want them to. It is a struggle to see which culture (and religion and language) is ultimately going to triumph. The Dutch have incumbancy and, currently, numbers on their side. The incoming Moslems have vigor and a much higher birth rate on theirs.

brylin said...

Palladian, But setting aside Steyn's biases, what do you think of the demographic argument? The radically differing birth rates must have a consequence, right? One hundred years is a blink of an eye in the history of the human race, yet significant population changes will occur within this time period. And forcible expulsion of Muslims is not unlike forcing Israel into the sea?

brylin said...

Palladian, But some former theatre critics (Frank Rich) we take seriously? Can't we address the idea, the argument?

knoxgirl said...

Sloanasaurus said..."I actually agree with Mark on this point. The sky is falling!"

Check "Mark" 's blog... I don't think he's the "Mark" we know. Not by a long shot! LOL

knoxgirl said...

er... scratch that. I don't want to encourage people to go there.

(It's about saving White culture or something like that)

Harkonnendog said...

Michael,

"1st, you have no way of knowing how voluntary use of the burqa is."
Neither do you. Nor the lawmakers. So why assume it isn't?"
I assumed nothing. YOU assumed it was voluntary when you wrote it was voluntary.


"Nobody does.
Presumably the burqa-wearers know."
Presumably each individual wearer knows about their individual choice. The point is nobody can speak for them as a group. Again, this refutes the idea that we can know whether or not wearing them is voluntary.

"Ummm ... OK? So what if they made it illegal for women to wear high heels? I mean, there so uncomfortable and women who walk around in them all day complain about how much they hurt their feet. The only reason that women wear such obviously cruel shoes is because their husbands/boyfriends make them."
Interesting, but ludicrous. You know as well as I do that Western women are not being forced to wear high heels. The same is not so with burkas.

"How about a strictly enforced law against inciting violence? That seems to me like it would much more effective and actually get to the root of the problem."
Good point. Again, I think this is about making female Muslims allies.
Cheers!

Chum said...

'What would be tragic would be to surrender that nation and that culture to a wave of third-world people who bring nothing but an ability to reproduce with abandon and a religion that commands them to use any available means to subjugate the rest of the world.'

I amagine this is how the native people who were subjected to your people's 'superior' culture feel. You expect respect for your culture but have none for others.

'.. and the result was the greatest nation in the history of the world with the greatest culture ever.'

Riiight, that would be the US?
People from other countries feel the same about their country. Unfortunately, it's this attitude that gives the US a bad name in the rest of the world. You have a right to your opinion but realise that others react when you act on this perspective from a foreign policy perspective.

'Ah, the ol' "call em a racist" ploy, designed to cut off discussion.'

Brought into the discussion first by you.

'Nonsense. You're playing word games to avoid acknowledging the truth that "diversity" within a nation leads to friction, violence, and civil war.'

No I simply don't agree yith your opinion. I realise you have a hard time handling the opinion of others, but that's your problem.

'There is a natural, normal human desire to have a home for one's family and a nation for one's people. A place where your people's customs, traditions, and culture can be nurtured and protected from unwanted intrusion.'

For you maybe but not everyone is as insular as you.

'If it were a tribe of Amazon bushmen, or Tibetans, or Kurds, or Pygmies, or any other group, you'd feel their desire to maintain their culture and people free of Western influence would be understandable and noble. But you don't extend the same feeling to your own culture or people.'

Hate to burst your bubble but your understanding of me is as limited as your respect for others.

'But if you force me to allow others to intrude in my home, to intrude on my family, THEN you will have hate, and fear, and violence.'

Yes, carrying on the old family tradition....except that by your own admission your ancestors did exactly what you're afraid will be done to you. It certainly explains your fear.

vbspurs said...

I'm against banning the burka or the chador. Full-stop.

The same way I am against a total ban on cigarette smoking.

It's interesting, because I absolutely HATE the burka and everything it represents, fully agreeing that it's a medieval symbol of the most misogynistic kind.

(And I loathe smoking, and smokers -- yucky smelly things)

But you can't do this, and be thought an open society in the Western tradition, like Holland has prided itself for hundreds of years.

Sorry.

P.S.: And I have reservations against Multi-Culturalism, too, but as you can read, I had no problems with the Sikh RCMP officer who kept his distinctive headress on.

Cheers,
Victoria

Chum said...

Steven said:

'Headscarves are specifically required in the madhhabs, and so the French ban constitutes a restriction on religious practice,'

At least in this situation it was applied to all religious symbols and clothing, yarmulkes, crosses,saffron robes, etc, and didn't single out a single race or religion.

harkon...said:

'"How about a strictly enforced law against inciting violence? '

It's likely this law exists already, though.

Are there any incidents of suicide bombing in Holland? Women or men? Just curious.

Harkonnendog said...

Chum,
Michael suggested that law, not me. I think you're probably right about it already existing. Like I said, I think this law is really about giving Muslim women enough freedom to start trying to get themselves more freedom- priming the pump I guess you could say.