June 22, 2009

"The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue; it is a question of freedom and of women’s dignity."

"The burqa is not a religious sign; it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women.

Is it not a religious sign because a sign of the subjugation? If that is what Nicolas Sarkozy means then he is implicitly asserting that whatever subjugates women is not religion. But it is not the role of government to say what constitutes religion.

Nevertheless, both government and religious may try to occupy the same niche. When it does, let government boldly assert that its policies trump religious practices and then let's have a debate about the scope of the rights of religious freedom. Don't say it's not religion. It is. And religion ought to have to take responsibility for the repression it imposes. Don't let it off the hook!
Mr. Sarkozy noted that “in the republic, the Muslim religion must be respected like other religions.” But he declared that “the burqa is not welcome in France.”

“We cannot accept in our country women imprisoned behind bars, cut off from social life, deprived of identity,” he said. “That is not our idea of maintaining the dignity of women.”
I can't tell what he's proposing. Is there to be a ban on burqas or is he just encouraging people to feel/express hostility to the women who adopt this form of dress? Why does denying women this choice enhance their dignity? Presumably, some/most/all of the women who wear a burqa do so because they are forced or pressured into it, and that's the indignity that the government wants to remedy. It may be that it's too hard to detect and regulate the coercion and therefore the thing that is so often coerced should be banned, even at the cost of depriving some women of their free choice.

It's paternalism attacking paternalism.

47 comments:

Alex said...

Hmmm, So Althouse is pro-burqa. Nice to know.

sean said...

Well, if Catharine MacKinnon can say what is or is not "discrimination," then Nicholas Sarkozy can say what is or is not "religion." It's not like either word has some narrow, well-accepted definition.

Stephanie Tanner said...

How rude! I love my burqa.

Paddy O. said...

"it is not the role of government to say what constitutes religion"

It is not the role of our government. That doesn't insist on the fact that this isn't the role of any government.

France has quite the history of government defining what is and what is not acceptable religion after all.

Pogo said...

"Why does denying women this choice enhance their dignity?"

Seems like it's only a choice between the burka or beatings.

If that's how feminism spells freedom these days, well, enjoy the 12th century.

Heckfire, they's all kinds a choices: get married off at age 13 and be one of 8 wives, get murdered when yer raped cuz it's your own fault, no driving, no school, etc etc.

And it's your choice!
Freedommmmm!

Kate Gosselin said...

Once again, a man has to tell women what to do so that we'll have our freedom and dignity. Do you think it was very dignified when I had to throw away store-brand tampon wrappers when I got back from my recent book tour? And I know they weren't mine since I'm not the kind who will use store brand down there. But just you wait and see tonight! Kate will finally get hers.

New York said...

There is a basic contradiction between the French ideal of Laicite and the way that some French Muslims want to live.

But Sarkozy doesn't want to actually come out and that, so he makes statements that sound both false and arrogant

Dust Bunny Queen said...

But it is not the role of government to say what constitutes religion.

That is our "American" view of it.

While I agree with you, the view of many other countries is that the government and religion are one and the same. Isn't this one of the big problems that Iran is dealing with at this time?

AJ Lynch said...

Is Sarkozy channeling George Bush?

Though I suppose some world leader had to step into the void Obama has created.

former law student said...

But it is not the role of government to say what constitutes religion.

It is in France. Currently the public prosecutor has asked a court to declare the Church of Scientology a fraud.

American Liberal Elite said...

"Currently the public prosecutor has asked a court to declare the Church of Scientology a fraud."

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Randy said...

its fixed now

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bearbee said...

The French constitution guarantees religious freedom. Maintaining that the burqa is not a religious issue (does the Koran make reference in any way?) it can ban it without the state having violated its guarantee.

Sarkozy may be reflecting general French unease, perceiving its secular tradition and cultural values under pressure.

France's Muslim population is 8-10%. Assimilation/integration seems little effective. In general the population is poor, with chronic high unemployment. In past few years the country has experienced violent street riots.

Banning the burqa may be a small step in France maintaining its traditional identity.

More critically, the burqa probably violates his aesthetic sense.

Government encroachment on private choice.

Synova said...

France has, in the past and *still* as far as I know, banned head-scarves. Not burkas, but a scarf on the head for school girls.

I find it appalling.

I have friends who are devout Christians who believe that a woman covering her head is an act of obedience to God... and they can show you the scripture for it, too. It would be a violation of their freedom of religion and their rights to demand that they not wear a goofy little cap.

There is a difference, though, in what a religion requires and what is a matter of custom. And there are limits on religious observance, even in America. There are things that a religion may *allow* but not require, such as polygamy, that we have made illegal. And there are safety issues that don't get a pass even if a religion requires something... not getting medical help for a child (even if an adult has the right to refuse care) for example.

The constitutional protections of our Rights are not absolute, they just require that in order to infringe on them a compelling case is made that the legitimate interest of the State can not be met in ways that are less of a burden. In my mind, for US, here, banning head to toe covering that significantly inhibits sight (and sound?) is a safety issue... getting an ID requires a picture of a *face*... and certainly if someone is going to *drive* they have to both be able to see and to have a picture ID and license.

The *subjugation* of women requires no symbols. There ought to be a better reason to limit religious expression than that a head scarf is a symbol of subjugation. A *burka* might be banned on a number of public safety arguments, but not a head scarf. (Also, note... MEN in various religions are also required to cover their heads AT LEAST as often and as strictly as women are.)

KLDAVIS said...

I had an insightful comment typed up comparing and contrasting this case to the apt US cases, such as Employment Division v. Smith and Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Hialeah, but the Blogger failure ate it...not going to the trouble again.

Aaron said...

I think you can say it is a deeply held religious belief, but that doesn't allow you to get an exception to the law.

And i think the law should ban burqas and similar face coverings for two reasons.

First, it very often is not a free choice, as often noted above.

Second, people should identifiable when in public for the same reason why we require cars to have license plates. indeed, there are many parts of the country that still have "klan laws" (meaning anti-klan), that forbid the wearing of masks in public. you just shouldn't be able to go around wearing a disguise, except on halloween.

And yes, i am sure there as some women who will feel they have to choose between their God and the law. Well, tough. just because you feel your faith commands something doesn't mean the rest of the people have to allow it. by that logic, i could claim to religiously believe in human sacrifice and be able to legally murder.

And i say that with some sympathy to those women. obviously you don't want these women confined to their homes and if you let them go around in public they might be more likely to become liberated enough to throw aside the burqa eventually. but i really think those concerns above override those laudible goals.

Frodo Potter said...

The burqa may or may not take away women’s dignity (and I tend to think it does indeed take away women’s dignity), but there is another issue: the way a burqa can cause social unease and hamper police efficiency. The wearing of a mask, except for specific instances (Halloween, Mardi Gras, masked balls, etc.) is nearly always perceived as a threatening act. Watch any B western from 1910-1960; the robbers always wear masks over their lower face. The IRA favored full-face balaclavas. The Ku Klux Klan wore hoods. It is intimidating to the public at large and it usually prevents witnesses from identifying suspects. Many banks have a sign by the entrance asking customers to remove all hats and sunglasses.

If this were an issue about the hijab, I would have a lot more sympathy with French Muslims, but I think Sarkozy is absolutely right about the burqa, dignity or no dignity.

SINE NOMINE said...

"It's paternalism attacking paternalism."

Nice.

former law student said...

The burqa comes from the same sort of scrupulosity that motivates a lot of Orthodox Jewish practice. The commandment not to seethe a kid in its mother's milk leads to not eating cheeseburgers leads to not eating ice cream after a meat meal leads to kosher restaurants being either meatfree or dairy free. Obviously you cannot seethe a kid in its mother's milk if you have either meat or milk but never both.

The Koran commands "the faithful women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their scarf to cover their bosom."

This led to covering the beauty of their hair (as Orthodox Jewish women do) and wearing clothes that are neither skin-tight nor bare the skin. The burqa is the ultimate of scrupulous observance, because takes all of a woman's beauty off display, by covering the skin and disguising the contours of the figure.

Now there are certainly good Muslim women who limit their observance to baggy clothes and a head scarf. But mandating that the ultra-orthodox be less scrupulous sounds odd.

What's interesting to me is that the traditional Catholic nun's garb, which covered everything but the face and hands, and disguised the figure with layers of clothing, complied with most Muslims' notions of modesty.

Lisa said...

The burqa, niqab and chador are tribal, not religious. Ban them! They are oppressive!

Kirby Olson said...

Clitorectomies, though somewhat more hidden, are perhaps even more of an outrage to the French. Add to that the burqua, and you have odd tendencies. Muslim women also have lobotomies to some extent in that they're not allowed to read (although in France they do go to school, which must mean that at least there they are learning to read).

The whole issue of the two cultures spins the mind as they attempt to live together with some kind of common denominator but the dress issues are the most salient.

Perhaps if the burquas are designed by Dior? I'd love to see burquas on the catwalks of Paris! that would cause all heads to spin exorcist style. What on earth would the fashionable French do then except get them on!

Richard Dolan said...

There'a a difference between "not welcome in France" and "banned under penalty of law." Sarko has left it all intentionally vague. As a practical matter, this has mostly been an issue in the French school system, where the 'veil' was banned some time ago.

Ann's post almost suggests that Sarko is considering a mandatory national dress code in France. Not likely. It's just the militantly anti-clerical French tradition at work (again). And the only dress code the French will probably see will be in the schools where they're not all that uncommon even here (even if ours aren't religously focused).

Two observations. First, the French reaction to the burqa, and to creeping Islamicization more generally, has been quite different from that in, say, Britain, Holland or Germany. The French have a different, and less welcoming, approach to pluralization of French culture, even as they have traditionally been more welcoming to foreigners. Perhaps it's just a hang-over from all those years of fighting against Anglo-Saxon hegemony in so many spheres.

Second, in reading Sarko's comments, you hear an echo of the famous opening passage of de Gaulle's memoires de guerre -"Toute ma vie, je me suis fait une certaine idée de la France. Le sentiment me l'inspire aussi bien que la raison. Ce qu'il y a en moi d'affectif imagine naturellement la France, telle la princesse des contes ou la madone aux fresques des murs, comme vouée à une destinée éminente et exceptionnelle. J'ai d'instinct l'impression que la Providence l'a créée pour des succès achevés ou des malheurs exemplaires."

Concerns about the "submission of women" and freedom of choice vs. pressure to conform are obviously part of why Sarko is pushing the point. But I don't think that's the root of it. Rather Sarko, too, entertains "une certaine idée de la France," and it doesn't include a burqa or sharia or any of that. As with de Gaulle, it's as much about "sentiment" as "raison," and he plainly doesn't see "la France ... la princesse des contes" as some submissive non-entity, hiding under a shroud. Those notions don't translate well to other societies where pluralism is understood (and welcomed) more broadly.

In short, the burqa is just the latest cultural intrusion of another tradition that is seen as threatening the essence of the civilization, the very notion of what it means to be 'French.' In the US that would probably be dismissed as nativism or worse. But as far as I can tell, the French view such things differently.

bagoh20 said...

Religion always informs government: Even within the religion of secularism there are principles that have no basis in science, but are held sacred such as a woman's or anyone's dignity, or our right to freedom, or ideas like fairness.
-
I have no problem with religion, but I know what is worth fighting for even in my confusion about it all. Unfortunately, so do the people I must fight. And so it goes.

So imagine the world if you win your fight or if you lose. Do you want to live there? Then fight or change your religion.

ohlalasasoo said...

[ Ann let me fix your comment ]
I can't tell what he's proposing. Is there to be a ban on clitoridectomy or is he just encouraging people to feel/express hostility to the women who adopt this form of religious ritual? Why does denying women this choice enhance their dignity? Presumably, some/most/all of the women who undergo a clltoridectomy do so because they are forced or pressured into it, and that's the indignity that the government wants to remedy. It may be that it's too hard to detect and regulate the coercion and therefore the thing that is so often coerced should be banned, even at the cost of depriving some women of their free choice.
It's paternalism attacking paternalism.
[there Ann I fixed it]
And, what about a one eyed Burka:
“A Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia has called on women to wear a full veil, or niqab, that reveals only one eye.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan said showing both eyes encouraged women to use eye make-up to look seductive.”...

Jason (the commenter) said...

I'll believe he's not being a bigot when he makes a nun's habit illegal and keeps women from making vows to obey at their weddings.

In the meantime I think Althouse has found the perfect wedding dress.

"In solidarity with the Muslim women of France."

Ironclad said...

The Burqa or more precisely the Niqab (full face cover - eye slits or thin cloth) , usually with full gloves and socks is the ultimate control tool for males to guard their property. The Koran proscribes modesty in dress for women - not a modified 50 gallon garbage bag. But is not very free when the penalty for not wearing it is a beating - or being on the receiving end of an "honor killing"

The amazing thing is that for some reason black has become the color for women - yet men can wear white - or anything else they want. Think about wearing a black polyester cover when it is 120 F outside - and one that you can't see any direction but straight. One real problem with these things is that women trip all the time over things that they don't see - especially at night. Wonder how long this would go on if men had to wear the same get-up?

But the larger point is about religion and politics - and Islam is an amalgamation of both that can't be separated. How you believe, how you behave, what you can eat, and even how you pee (yes, there is a correct way to do it). The code fixes that you can only marry into the faith - not out; you can't convert (under penalty of death) and all inheritance is toward the faith - never away. If you are not a Muslim - you have fewer rights and in many cases - pay a special tax. A more perfect system of creeping dominance has never been invented.

But the point is that religion is what you believe - and politics are the laws that you obey. When you start demanding (and requiring) special privileges - then you are practicing politics. And that is what few politicians will say out loud - if you want to have Islamic laws - then you register yourself as an Islamic party - without hiding behind special privileges for "faith". And you open up the requirement to debate why your book should be obeyed by others who don't give a toss.

France is correct - they need to keep a firm line for secularism without a lot of agonizing about "religious rights". The Burqa is about politics - and is the proverbial nose of the camel under the tent.

ohlalasasoo said...

There is something wrong with the otherwise easily inflamed North American vaginas.
After decades of feminist bitching we now find them misty eyed over the right to choose the burka ...

Beyond parody ...

traditionalguy said...

Sarkosy is in the fight. It is a political fight to free the muslim women before the muslim men can take the French women into their form of slavery to their god that requires conquest and murder to make that god feel better. The "lets all just discuss the ideas of Patriarchy" and do nothing approach is like saying "lets throw the wolf and the sheep into a pen together and come back in the morning and discuss ideas again". It will be too late, if no fighting of the evil patriarchy is waged by the good patriarchy in France today.Passive males are no friend to females who are under actual attack from muslims that actually hate them. Take sides like Sarkosy did!

Rob said...

The Muslim Burqa is not welcome in France?

What's next, men in shorts?

Rob said...

Women and fashion, always a subject of discussion in France no matter the
century.

In the late 1890s the 'Bosom Ring', came into fashion briefly, and sold in expensive Parisian jewelery shops. These 'Anneux De Sein' were inserted through the nipple, and some women wore on either side linked with a delicate chain. The rings enlarged the nipples and kept them in a state of constant excitation...the medical community was outraged by these cosmetic procedures, for they represented a rejection of traditional conceptions of the purpose of a woman's body." "Anatomy & Destiny" Stephen Kern

Synova said...

Comparing female circumcision to a type of clothing is ridiculous. Dangerous mutilation is not even remotely the same thing as rules about clothing. Egad!

Nor is female circumcision a Muslim thing, it's more a North African/Muslim thing and Islam is at fault for not ending it, not because it is an Islamic practice.

Islam is also at fault for not ending practices like those in Afghanistan where women are so sequestered that they are denied both education and health care. It's simply not "okay" for a religion to accept the maternal and infant mortality rates that result from religious observance that refuses to let a male doctor examine your wife or daughter or allows women to receive the education necessary to become doctors themselves. (Training mid-wives is a Big Deal in Afghanistan right now.) A burka is a symptom of that, not the cause.

But Muslim women are not prohibited educations in other Muslim countries. In case anyone noticed, at least one of Saddam's chem warfare experts was a woman. Maybe that's a weird example, but obviously growing up in an Islamic nation did not keep that person from advanced degrees in chemistry on account of her sex.

Lisa said...

I saw a 5 year old girl today in the mall in a khimar. (hair and neck covered completely)

This is not a choice for far too many.

bagoh20 said...

I have not been able to stop thinking of Neda.

A young beautiful woman dressed in jeans, western and provocative by Iranian standards, not standing alone or drawing attention.
-
A young sniper schooled in fundamentalism and likely sexually frustrated has to pick a target among many. Think it was random?

g2loq said...

¡¡¡¡ Comparing female circumcision to a type of clothing is ridiculous. Dangerous mutilation is not even remotely the same thing as rules about clothing. Egad! ¡¡¡
Egad! Ridiculous! You have to admire the nuanced thinking of the soon to be Dhimmi ... Make that soon to be convert...

Same type crap thinking was common in the 1930's and we know the results ... Hey Mussolini had the trains run in time ..
German National Socialism is now illegal in Germany ...
Organized crime is illegal ...

Scientology is soon to be illegal in France ...

Islam should be made illegal as happened to the Catholic Church in France in 1905 [President Combe] when it started to pro-actively infiltrate the government of the Republic ... Churches were closed and sealed, Schools closed, monasteries emptied and monks kicked out of the French territory ...

There is always a whiny class of nuanced enablers.
The types who make domestic abuse possible ...

The nuanced aspects of the burka phenomenon!
Beyond parody ....

sarah said...

Isn't this an assimilation issue? It's absolutely impossible to think of someone in a burqua as a Frenchwoman. Technically a citizen of France, perhaps, but not Francaise in any real sense of the word. And if I'm having trouble imagining it, Sarkozy must be having nightmares.

Synova said...

I value my religious freedom.

And I'm smart enough to realize that in order to keep it for *me* it has to be insured for others.

Just like freedom of speech.

Freedom of religion can't apply only to what we agree with or approve of.

Freedom of speech can't apply only to speech that is inoffensive.

I think that some people clearly do not understand liberty, when clothing is equated to physically dangerous and irreversible mutilation that essentially cripples a woman *even* if it was performed in a sterile operating room by trained surgeons, which is not often the case.

That I refuse to think that this is no different than rules about *clothing* likely means that unlike others I don't dismiss, minimize or dilute the reality of the practice.

Presenting things that are not even remotely equivalent as *equivalent* can only reduce our concepts of the horror and reality of the worse thing as it is presented as the equivalent of something like *clothing*.

Synova said...

"Isn't this an assimilation issue? It's absolutely impossible to think of someone in a burqua as a Frenchwoman."

Whereas America's self-image allows for more variation.

I think it's an assimilation issue, but I don't think that people should be asked to give up their culture and History even as they assimilate.

I have less sympathy than I might because I've heard the "symbol of subjugation and not, no way, a matter of religious conviction" argument for France in relation to head-scarves... not obscuring, not oppressive, common in Christian tradition as well, head scarves... and the argument just doesn't hold.

Emilie said...

Head coverings for women are both a sign of submission to men and a religious practice. This is true for Christianity as well as for Islam, of course, and many Christian denominations require women to wear a "mini-burqua" such as a hat or scarf (only in church, or at all times), or an invisible burqua - they do not allow women to teach, preach, or have any authority over men. The invisible burqua is particularly effective, actually.

The practice comes from both tradition and from scriptures such as this from I Corinthians:

I Corinthians: “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head – it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.”

sarah said...

"Whereas America's self-image allows for more variation."

Well, yes. "The Melting Pot," and all that.

"I think it's an assimilation issue, but I don't think that people should be asked to give up their culture and History even as they assimilate."

Isn't that what assimilation is, at least to a point? France's culture has been the pride of Europe for hundreds of years. If anybody is going to accomodate, I think it should be the people who choose to move there. I'm not saying the French should be unreasonable or xenophobic (relative terms, I admit); but if immigrants can't compromise on practices as obviously extreme and contrary to the sensibilities of their new country as the burqua? Maybe they need to find a more congenial place to live.

Frodo Potter said...

Bagoh20 said “I have not been able to stop thinking of Neda.

A young beautiful woman dressed in jeans, western and provocative by Iranian standards, not standing alone or drawing attention.

A young sniper schooled in fundamentalism and likely sexually frustrated has to pick a target among many. Think it was random?”

I was thinking something along those lines myself. We’ll probably never know, but I think you have hit the nail on the head. I think it was anything but random.

I commented on another post a few days ago about how in the 1980’s the religious police would go into elementary schools and pull the socks off of little girls to see if they had toenail polish on. That’s not about modesty; that’s about control.

Synova said...

"I'm not saying the French should be unreasonable or xenophobic (relative terms, I admit); but if immigrants can't compromise on practices as obviously extreme and contrary to the sensibilities of their new country as the burqua? Maybe they need to find a more congenial place to live."

France has a right to control their immigration. But they may have a problem... if they don't import labor French women will have to start having children.

Though it was probably the last generation that made the mistake... figuring that they'd had the occasional very wealthy dissident flee to France and assimilate very well, thank you, so of course anyone who came later to work for a living would assimilate to Western values and French identity just as well as those earlier asylum seekers. And since those earlier people didn't feel the need to *observe* their various religious observances, no claim that a *head scarf* is a religious issue could possibly have merit. (An argument actually made to me by a European who was trying to make me understand.)

From everything I've heard it is extremely difficult to assimilate in Europe. We're talking about burkas here, but a few years ago it was simple head scarves on school girls. Is the standard being visually non-identifiable as non-French? That's not defending against the oppression of women... it's making excuses.

What is really going on?

I think there are entirely legitimate, even compelling, safety reasons to disallow garments like a burka. And the state should absolutely protect and defend all women against coercion, forced marriage, or retribution, and severely punish mutilation.

But at some point, ripping the scarves off the heads of school girls gets to be pretty similar to taking off their socks to check for nail polish.

sarah said...

"But at some point, ripping the scarves off the heads of school girls gets to be pretty similar to taking off their socks to check for nail polish."

Yes, I agree. And the French have a history of going overboard on this subject. These are the people who try to make English illegal, for heaven's sake. But part of me can't help admiring the French for still having a culture to defend, and I wish them luck.

Is anyone else reminded of that scene in Casablanca, when the German commander asks Rick if he's one of those people who can't imagine Nazis in his beloved Paris? And I'm not equating Muslims and Nazis, so don't get on my case; but there's something about Burquas in the City of Lights that just doesn't seem right. It's sentimental, but there it is.

Not that I'm likely to see the City of Lights any time soon. And you're right, Synova: if the French care about this stuff so much, they'd better start having babies. I mean, Jeez, America can't do everything.

ohlalasasoo said...

¡¡¡ From everything I've heard it is extremely difficult to assimilate in Europe. We're talking about burkas here, but a few years ago it was simple head scarves on school girls. Is the standard being visually non-identifiable as non-French? That's not defending against the oppression of women... it's making excuses. ¡¡¡

Dirty little secret: you cannot walk around in France without a scarf or you risk a beating. Specially if you're of apparent North African origin ... Nasty too, acid, torching, carving of flesh.

Like it or not you will have to fight ... misty eyed enablers are part of the problem ...
This:
On the Chatham islands, 500 miles east of New Zealand, centuries of independence came to a brutal end for the Moriori people in December 1835. On November 19, 1835 a ship carrying 500 Maori armed with guns, clubs, and axes arrived, followed on December 5 by a shipload of 400 more Maori. Groups of Maori began to walk through Moriori settlements, announcing that the Moriori were now their slaves, and killing those who objected. An organized resistance by the Moriori could still then have defeated the Maori, who were outnumbered two to one. However the Moriori had a tradition of resolving disputes peacefully. They decided in a council meeting not to fight back but to offer peace, friendship, and a division of resources.

Before the Moriori could deliver that offer, the Maori attacked in masse. Over the course of the next few days, they killed hundreds of Moriori, cooked and ate many of the bodies, and enslaved all the others, killing most of them too over the next few years as it suited their whim.

A Moriori survivor recalled, “[The Maori] commenced to kill us like sheep…[We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed, men, women, and children indiscriminately.”

A Maori conqueror explained, “We took possession… in accordance with our custom and we caught all the people. Not one escaped. Some ran away from us, these we killed and other we killed-but what of that? It was in accordance with our custom.”

Source: Guns, Germs and Steel – The Fates of Human Societies,
Jared Diamond. Page: 53.

Frodo Potter said...

Synova said “But at some point, ripping the scarves off the heads of school girls gets to be pretty similar to taking off their socks to check for nail polish.”

I agree; the two things are very similar in terms of the desire to control. But if you read my comment on June 23 at 2:29 p.m. you will see that I expressed at least some sympathy for the wearing of the hijab. The two are NOT the same thing. Again, I stand by my position that the wearing of the burka is a public safety issue.

Regarding Neda, I find it of particular interest that just moments before she was shot, she was photographed wearing what appeared to be an American style baseball cap. In other words: her head was indeed covered; it just was not covered in a style that suited the Mullahs.

At that point, one has to ask oneself: What more could she have done? By all accounts, she was modest and devout; she just was not modest and devout in exactly the way the Mullahs demanded.

Lyle said...

Burqa = Freedom

It's constitutional in America, that's all there is to it.

Bush and religious conservatives have actually defended Muslim children in their pursuits to wear the hajib, at least, in schools. More power to them.

We the people love the Amish and Mennonites too.

Synova said...

"Dirty little secret: you cannot walk around in France without a scarf or you risk a beating. Specially if you're of apparent North African origin ... Nasty too, acid, torching, carving of flesh."

Two words.

Concealed. Carry.

(Yes, I understand, it's FRANCE.)