March 13, 2007

Blair versus the veil.

Blair's view. The (very sympathetically presented) response.

CORRECTION: Both links go to the same place, so you'll have to click within the link to see Tony Blair's attack and the response.

13 comments:

Adam L said...

Both of those links go to the same place... which I think is the sympathetic response you mention.

nvittal said...

The freedom to choose...? Uh? I wonder how much of it actually comes from those men who control everything in their families. If you want to be a good daughter, sister or wife, you better wear burkha! If wearing ‘burkha’ brings you better market value in the world of arranged marriages, why not wear it?
Burkha or Bikini – whatever works for ya! :)

Daryl Herbert said...

The Muslims keep whining that they aren't hurting anyone.

When other women are threatened with violence (especially rape) if they refuse to wear a veil, then people are being hurt.

The way to stop this pressure is to ban the veil outright.

The situation in the Muslim slums in France is pretty bad. I hope it hasn't gotten that bad in England.

As long as the veil is a matter of free choice (with the usual pressures, from friends and family) it shouldn't be banned.

Of course in specific contexts (testifying in a courtroom, getting a driver's license photo) our state should be able to demand full view of the head.

nvittal said...

Fully agree.
Does anyone honestly believe that these women are wearing veil without any pressure from their families? Yea - sure!

Ann Althouse said...

There is always some element of pleasing men. How are you going to draw that line? Surely, not on ethnic grounds! So, how? Feminists might want to ban high heels on the ground that it's for men. There's no way out of that tangle, other than to require education for women and to maintain a free society that encourages independence. There will always be many people who decline to act independently. Part of freedom must be the refusal to take full advantage of independence, which can be a frightening, lonely thing. Can you honestly say that you don't do anything because of the compulsion of your environment?

And please stay on topic. If you want me to cover something, email me. Don't hijack a thread. That's disrespectful. I've deleted some comments.

The Drill SGT said...

I understand that the teaching assistant mentioned in the Blair piece interviewed without a veil but later on, egged on by somebody, showed up with a veil, claimed discrimination, and sued. somewhat akin to the 6 imans case we have here now.

Daryl Herbert said...

If veils are not banned, women who wish to be free of them are oppressed, because they will face pressure from gangsters to force them to cover up. If they are banned, women who want to wear them are oppressed.

The question is, whose side are you on: the women who want to be free of the veil, or the women who want to remain in it? There is no middle ground.

There are dozens of honor killings a year in England. Many of those are because the women's relatives believe they were becoming too western.

We should take a stand, now, against radical Islamic culture in Western countries, until the honor killings stop. Once they're ready to follow our rules, they can enjoy our freedoms. But we should not extend freedoms to gangsters who terrorize innocent people, even if the people being terrorized are from the same ethnic group.

Danny said...

The question is, whose side are you on: the women who want to be free of the veil, or the women who want to remain in it? There is no middle ground.

Let me hijack and derail this train of thought...

The question is, whose side are you on: the women who want to wear two-piece bathing suits, or the women are forced into oppressive one-piece bathing suits? There is no middle ground.

or

The question is, whose side are you on: the women who want to be free of makeup, or the women who are forced to paint on a face in public? There is no middle ground.

and of course,

The question is, whose side are you on: the men who want to be free of pants and wear shorts or the men who want to have their legs remain covered? There is no middle ground.

monkeyboy said...

Of course the anology falls apart once you realize no men are beaten for wearing shorts, despite what our hostess may desire ;)

Simon said...

nvittal said...
"The freedom to choose...? Uh? I wonder how much of it actually comes from those men who control everything in their families."

Quite - the freedom to surrender to cultural coercion.

I agree to some extent with (or at least am sympathetic to) both of Daryl's comments above. Still: we should try to keep the focus on what Britain is doing here. The problem with widening the issue to the normative question of how "we in the west" should be acting is that "we in America" have a sticky First Amendment wicket: While of course rules relating to "testifying in a courtroom ... [or] getting a driver's license photo" survives scrutiny under Smith (which I preach chapter and verse), an outright ban on a particular practise by a particular religion would surely fail the laugh test under the free exercise clause.

As a pure matter of policy, I'm far more interested in feminism than I am in cultural sensitivity towards a culture that I think is shot through with hostility to women's rights (and at worst is "rotten to the core, ... thoroughly and pervasively misogynist," so I'm not much worried about excessive delicacy in breaking the back of that culture. And as I hope became clear during the December threads about the Chicago conference, the libertarians and the civil rights act, I don't have any objection to the state using its authority to break the back of invidious practises (segregation, abortion, gender apartheid, etc.). But of course, it can only do so within the contraints of the Constitution, and it acts in the twilight of its power when confronting square on a direct prohibition.

monkeyboy said...

an outright ban on a particular practise by a particular religion would surely fail the laugh test under the free exercise clause.

Agree. I am comfortable in living in a country that "allows" the burkha, or any similar cultural and religious practice, as long as that country also supports and defends a woman who chooses not to wear it.

Chip Ahoy said...

Most boring video ever. All I heard was a woman talking about her own comfort. Ghouls all. Where is her trick-or-treat bag? She looks like a crook to me. Never saw Blair.

Danny said...

Of course the anology falls apart once you realize no men are beaten for wearing shorts, despite what our hostess may desire ;)

Whether or not Muslim women face societal pressure to wear the veil is irrelevant. There are no laws against unhealthy dieting or plastic surgery-- both of which obscure appearances, have strong connections to societal pressure and are physically harmful (especially the former). The freedom of expression guaranteed in these democracies need not be edited in some quixotic attempt to "liberate" Muslim women from patriarchy.