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Why is the Burka banned?

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SportsFreak

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Posted: 30 August 2012 at 12:22pm | IP Logged
I can't believe that some Western countries who claim to be the epitome of democracy can make a big deal over a piece of clothe and ban it in the name of women liberation. I don't even understand how the burka leads to a woman's oppression especially if the woman herself chooses to wear it without any pressure. Why should a woman who chooses to wear the burka be fined in France. Isn't it restricting my freedom to choose how to live my life? And what about tolerance of other people choices and cultures?

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return_to_hades

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Posted: 30 August 2012 at 2:11pm | IP Logged

The banning of the burka in France is kind of unfortunate. You have to give a lot of things considerations though.

-          The government of France tries to keep public life very secular. Even though the country has a high practicing and active Roman Catholic population wearing/displaying a cross or Catholic insignia in public. So they have stringent laws even for their majority population.

-          Social pressure to fit in or be accepted is a subtle form of force. A teenager may drink alcohol willingly, but it is not always because they want to get drink, but they face peer pressure to do so. Similarly many women willingly wear a burka, but for many women it is merely to fit in or be accepted by their fellow Muslims. I've met both kinds, those who actually willingly wear it and those who do so not forced but grudgingly because it is expected. It ends up being a Catch-22 on who you look after and whose rights you infringe on.

-          I am personally opposed to the burka for security reasons. A headscarf is fine. However, a burka hides the face. It prevents one from seeing identifiable features in public. Criminals can use burka for the wrong reasons (a theme commonly seen in movies). Lest a person commit  a crime or be witness to a crime, the face should be visible for eyewitnesses to describe and security cams to capture.

-          Freedom of religion does have its limitations. Rastafarians smoke weed, but it is illegal in many countries. A democratic society does reserve the right to interpret how broad or how narrow it wants to be in religious freedom.

-          When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When Muslims migrate/migrated to France from their homeland they did so because the opportunities and values of France appealed to them. The nation's values are evolving. They can choose to evolve or if burka is important there are several other nations that allow the burka.

-          Can a person roam fully nude in public? If there is a legal limit on how little clothing, there reasonably can be a limit on how much as well. Maybe for those who find prancing around in burka to be a good time can found themselves a burka colony.

 

Of course being a democracy, you have a right to protest the validity, fairness and constitutionality of a law. Society will always continue to evolve as the attitudes, values and beliefs of population changes. Who knows a few hundred years down Saudi Arabia may ban burka and France may make it mandatory.

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Polki_Zofi

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Posted: 31 August 2012 at 1:34am | IP Logged

 If a person comes to Europe to have a better life here, then they must integrate. Integration dont mean you leave all your customs, but atleast you try to remove much of your inhibitions. The veil is an extreme form of inhibition. It acts as a barrier to communicate.

I dont think Europeans will ever accept the so called burka. It is also very alarming that a guest comes to a country and wishes to earn and live in there, but after some time claims that country and its people to change their way of life to suit theirs?
 
Muslims have their mosques, they are given equal opportunity when it comes to work, they are encouraged to integrate. Their children are given same rights and love as the native kids. Why then their demands never exhaust?
 
Why are you making yourself so controversial always? The head of all the controversy starts with the women unfortunately. This particular aspect can be found in south asian women if outside the muslim community itself.
 
If you dont want to do as Romans do, it is still fine! But making Rome into Pakistan for that is unacceptable. Keep your private life or beliefs in your self, but displaying it in a burka dont make you modest. Infact a burka gains more attention than a woman wearing modest cloth in public. You can still wear loose modest cloth in public and remain religious and actually avoid more attention than you do with a burka!!!

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Posted: 31 August 2012 at 8:11am | IP Logged

- If a non-French Burqa wearing Muslim women in lets say Middle East or South Asia is planning to go to France to study then she has a choice. If Burqa is that much important to you then do not go to that country.

 
- Now if a Muslim girl who is born in France and wants to wear a Burqa then what should she do? I agree that Burqa is not necessary as nowhere it says to cover whole body like that. But that still leaves the point as to why is government banning a piece of clothing and does it have the right. Is it tyranny of majority. If it is okay then why criticize Muslim countries who restrict freedom as well. That is the point more than anything. On Burqa I agree that face covering is a problem.
 
- Someone can say okay what else could have been done? Maybe they could have used a system like US where in certain situations face covering is not allowed but in public places I do see women wearing Burqa. From Muslims side we can clarify that Burqa (face covering) is not required.
 
In conclusion it is not about Burqa as there I agree that it is not needed as there other forms of decent dressing that most proper Muslim women follow. However in this case banning seems to be motivated by something else as there are other models also if security was a concern. Maybe there could have been debate first. My worry is today its Burqa tomorrow it could be Sikh's head gear, Hindu's teeka, Buddhist attire and all in name of integration. Somone can say okay these people are looking odd in our society. So this is not that simple as do as romans do and needs to be examined further.


Edited by King-Anu - 31 August 2012 at 8:23am

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Posted: 31 August 2012 at 10:55am | IP Logged
Well, European society is secular in a different kind of way. It's a norm not to openly show which religion you practice. It's not just about the Burkha, even the Sikhs with turbans face a problem there 'coz the Europeans genuinely don't know how to deal with with public display of religious beliefs. They're not brought up that way.
I don't know how right or how wrong that is but that is how it works.

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SportsFreak

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Posted: 31 August 2012 at 1:03pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by return_to_hades

The banning of the burka in France is kind of unfortunate. You have to give a lot of things considerations though.

I agree.

-          The government of France tries to keep public life very secular. Even though the country has a high practicing and active Roman Catholic population wearing/displaying a cross or Catholic insignia in public. So they have stringent laws even for their majority population.

Does this justify the banning of these things. So isn't this respecting the rights of the very secular people and refusing to respect the rights of those who wish to practise their religious beliefs?

-          Social pressure to fit in or be accepted is a subtle form of force. A teenager may drink alcohol willingly, but it is not always because they want to get drink, but they face peer pressure to do so. Similarly many women willingly wear a burka, but for many women it is merely to fit in or be accepted by their fellow Muslims. I've met both kinds, those who actually willingly wear it and those who do so not forced but grudgingly because it is expected. It ends up being a Catch-22 on who you look after and whose rights you infringe on.

Put in place mechanisms to ensure women are not force but do not by any chance limit the freedom of those who willingly want to wear it...

-          I am personally opposed to the burka for security reasons. A headscarf is fine. However, a burka hides the face. It prevents one from seeing identifiable features in public. Criminals can use burka for the wrong reasons (a theme commonly seen in movies). Lest a person commit  a crime or be witness to a crime, the face should be visible for eyewitnesses to describe and security cams to capture.

Should we also ban the hood?

-          Freedom of religion does have its limitations. Rastafarians smoke weed, but it is illegal in many countries. A democratic society does reserve the right to interpret how broad or how narrow it wants to be in religious freedom.

Then this so called democratic countries do not have a right to lecture other countries like Sudan who arrest their women who wear trousers 

-          When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When Muslims migrate/migrated to France from their homeland they did so because the opportunities and values of France appealed to them. The nation's values are evolving. They can choose to evolve or if burka is important there are several other nations that allow the burka.

Yay i agree, what about a muslim girl born in France who  wants to wear a burka? I thought a democratic  country means that they need to have tolerance of other people cultures and religion. Also then why do the Western countries pressurise other countries that do not accept cultures like homosexuality to do so in the name of tolerance and respecting other people's rights? Heck, they even refuse aid to them if they don't comply

-          Can a person roam fully nude in public? If there is a legal limit on how little clothing, there reasonably can be a limit on how much as well. Maybe for those who find prancing around in burka to be a good time can found themselves a burka colony.

 Am not sure about it but i think most countries will have no problems with these, they are usually nude parades every year

Of course being a democracy, you have a right to protest the validity, fairness and constitutionality of a law. Society will always continue to evolve as the attitudes, values and beliefs of population changes. Who knows a few hundred years down Saudi Arabia may ban burka and France may make it mandatory.

I am questioning western countries coz they claim to be democratic and respect other people rights  and they give these lectures on tolerance and freedom. If these was done by Russia or  China or even Saudi Arabia i wouldn't question it that much because they don't shout on top of their voices on democracy, tolerance and respect.

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Posted: 31 August 2012 at 1:18pm | IP Logged
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return_to_hades

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Posted: 31 August 2012 at 2:52pm | IP Logged

@Sportsfreak To address all your questions

1)      Yes, it does justify banning. Religion is personal and private. A secular state can reasonably expect its citizens to not make public display of religion. It would be a problem if it arbitrarily targets one religion. But if all religions face similar restrictions then it is fair game.

2)      It is very difficult to address "peer pressure". A person can't lodge a complaint that she is facing peer pressure to wear a burka. It is very difficult to control abuse on the first place itself. Most women who are beaten and raped by their husbands don't report it, you think many women will dare to report being forced to wear a burka?

3)      The hood does not cover the face completely. Facial features are visible. You cannot pretend to be someone else in a hood. There have been many jurisdictions that have tried to limit hoods. Many malls don't allow hoods fully pulled over. Schools, government offices often require hoods be pulled back for security reasons.

4)      There is a huge difference between a human rights violation and a democratic law. Those laws and actions protested treat women inferior to men. The punishment does not suit the crime. There is no arrangement for fair trial.

5)      I still believe there is a choice. Every human has a choice between allegiance to their country and allegiance to anything else they choose. The choice may not always be fair, but the choice is there. Not every country has laws that appeal to everyone. People immigrate because they find another country better than they were born in. People move for marriage, for jobs, for education, for freedom, for opportunities if Burka is really that important to someone, then they should move for Burka.

6)      You are mistaken. Full public nudity is a crime in most nations. That is why only certain areas are allocated for people who want to live a nudist lifestyle.

 

Questioning is good. That is the beauty of democracy, you can question a law, overturn a law, reinstate a law, it is a system that works with the people and evolves with changing generations. However, separation of church and state and freedom of religion are not black and white. They are very interpretative. As Polki Zofi explained. The European view of secularism is very different from many. They really don't appreciate public displays of religion. Even the majority population is limited by rules about religion in public life. The intent is not to single anyone out or be unfair, but have equitable rule for everyone. It is a slippery slope when you start making exceptions for one group. India suffers because of special laws made to appease rights of minorities. Now every minority is demanding special considerations.

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