The new French Burqa law was announced this week.
The law requires that people who wear burqas or nigab, two versions of the full-body, face covering, robe worn by some Muslim women, will pay a fine of €150 (about $190) and may also require that they attend a course on "republican values".
The burqa is a garment worn by religious Muslim women that covers the entire body. It is worn as a symbol of physical modesty. It was mandatory under the Taliban in Afghanistan. To my way of thinking, the fact that women in fundamentalist Muslim communities are required to wear the burqa, makes the burqa a product of cultural submission that reflects the subordinate status — in a real sense, the chattel status — to which women are consigned in Islamist ideology. But it would seem that Freedom in Islam is seen as perfect submission to Allah. That is the only life choice the voluntarily shrouded woman makes, and the burqa is emblematic of all the doctrinal subjugation that necessarily follows.
I think that as Americans we find outlawing a religious symbol to be wrong thinking. Although we may hate what the burka symbolizes in terms of how women are being treated, we tend to respect the right of others to choose their religion. But I read an interesting article over at The Wall Street Journal entitled To ban the burqa - or not , where one of the authors, Bret Stephenson, pointed out that the US is not as free as we like to think. Stephenson point out how America banns and prosecutes polygamy (no matter what a group's religion believes), because we believe it's inherently abusive to women and families. Stephenson also pointed out that every culture has social norms and uses as an example that in America we would not allow a nudist to walk down the street in nothing but his sneakers, that we only allow a certain latitude in individual choice. Stephenson makes the point that "Plainly the French overwhelmingly believe wearing the burqa/niqab crosses the line."
My son Devon directed me to an interesting article recently over at NRO, There Oughtn't be a Law. As I read the article I found the way the author, Andy McCarthy, used the burqua as a dual symbol fascinating.
McCarthy reminds the reader of many events from the last couple of years, five of which are:
Derek Fenton being fired from his job with the Jersey Transit Authority. (Remember, he's the pastor from Florida, who burned pages from the Koran to protest the Ground Zero mosque. Don't get me wrong; what Fenton did disgusts me. But in America we allow people to say all manner of things, to even burn the American flag if they so choose. People protesting prop 8 in California, the vote about the legalization of Gay marriage, were allowed to burn Bibles on the steps of Mormon churches. So why was Fenton fired for something that he did in his free time that did not result in being charged for any crime?)
The Obama administration joining the Organization of the Islamic Conference in a UN resolution designed to make blasphemy against Islam illegal.
Yale University press refusal to publish Jayette Klausen's book entitled "The Cartoons that Shook the World" until the over cartoon depictions of Mohammed were purged from the book.
A New Jersey judge's refusal of a protective order to a woman being serially raped by a Muslim man she was trying to divorce — after all, the jurist reasoned, the man was simply following his religious principles, under which his wife was no more than a vessel, bereft of any right to say no.
Uniformed police in Deerborn, Michigan arresting Christian Evangelists for handing out gospels of John. This was said to be a "crackdown on disturbing the peace" because Deerborn is a heavily Muslim populated area.
After the reminders McCarthy makes these comments utilzing the burqa as a symbol that I find fascinating:
"It is the ethos of self-loathing. That is our burqa: our feebleness, our lack of cultural confidence. To shed it, we will have to rediscover why the principles it cloaks are superior and worth fighting for. If we don’t, the law won’t save us any more than it will save France."
What do you think, has America succumbed to preemptive capitulation to the point where we now have our own burqa of lack of cultural confidence?
Growing Old - Disgracefully
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