Saturday, 17 July 2010

First They Came For The Burqa...

This week has seen renewed efforts to ban the burqa both in our country and in France (a country I can see from the end of my road!).

Whilst the British story is more of a legislative joke, the tone of Philip Hollobone MP is pretty offensive. As a MP he doesn't really have the right to pick and choose which constituents he will meet and talk to just because of what they are wearing. We must stand up and point out the ridiculous nature of the suggestion he wants to ban people from wearing an item of clothing and won't even talk to someone wearing it! Is he saying it is okay for religious symbols and clothing to be banned? Will he now stand up for Government bodies who ban crucifixes? I don't think so.

In France, the National Assembly has vote to ban the burqa. Whilst this is not the final stage of the process, it is incredibly disappointing that a country founded on the concept of liberty would try to stop people choosing what they can and can't wear.

Now I understand the issues behind the burqa are intensely complicated. But dealing with them by banning the burqa is, as Liberal Vision says, about as sensible as banning black eyes to stop domestic violence.

Government should not be telling it's citizens how to live their lives. That is the basic foundation of liberty.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist


dougf said...

I'm not a big fan of banning either, but how exactly did you envision, dealing with "the issues behind the burqa"?

Because I really do believe that there are some serious 'issues' here. Just as an example, would it be fair and legitimate to indicate publicly that 'our' values at this point, preclude the wearing of these costumes, and that while we remain committed to 'freedom', we also have the right to critique those things we find not good ?

I don't consider that the burqa is a 'good' thing, or frankly even a very 'tolerable' thing. Bad enough in Afghanistan;multiple degrees of worse here.

If not banning ---- What ? Because I'm not comfortable with the usual relativistic cant. Some things are NOT equal, and some things should not be treated as if they were.

Jae said...

Of course we have the right to critique things we don't agree with. Christians can moan about homosexuality, socialists can moan about capitalism and us secularists and feminists can moan about the burqa.

But to say "'our' values at this point, preclude the wearing of these costumes" is a bit much. I assume the "our" is referring to the Lib Dems. Those don't sound like any values I'd want to get involved with... next it'll be "our values preclude gay people from attending meetings" or "our values preclude Muslims from campaigning"

And how do we solve the problem of Islamic male domination of women (which is what often manifests itself in forms of dress outside the home)? Secular education, campaigns, and through community groups offering support to women involved in domestic violence. Contrary to the Daily Mail, some Muslim women actually have a religious conviction which they believe requires them to wear a burqa. That's not something we should get involved in stopping otherwise we'll be as bad as the men who force others to wear them.