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Burkha Ban: liberal democracy at work?

Steve Evans from India and USA

Banning for what reason?

One of the great maxims of modern liberal democracies is the principle “live and let live”. Allowing people to live their lives as they see fit, as long as their actions are lawful and do not infringe on the rights of others is the hallmark of modern progressive societies.

Within the context of diverse communities that principle is even more important and in recent times has seen itself stress tested. Since the terrible atrocities of 9/11 we have witnessed a wholesale attack on Islam. A wave of Islamaphobia has swept across Europe and many countries have focused on the wearing of veils, hijabs, burkhas and niqabs as worn by a small minority of Muslim women.

These women’s simple dress code along with the building of Mosques has emerged as fundamental threat to European civilisation. In Belgium today the threat of a new law banning any item of clothing that obscures your identity moved closer to reality. Rather unsurprisingly though this proposed law enjoys cross party support including from the Green party.

The move has come about after a deeply racist and vociferous campaign that highlighted first national security concerns and then the oppression of Muslim women. Such discussions are merely acceptable flags of convenience for racist’s to vent their spleens. Belgium will be first European nation to introduce statewide legislation.

Other nations are intending to follow suit with French parliamentary committee deciding that the veil is a direct affront to French values. President Sarkozy has ordered the French parliament to debate the introduction of such a law. In other countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark there have been attempts to introduce a similar law. Italy and Germany are all engaged in similar debates.

The effort to ban Muslim women from wearing what they want is a direct reflection of the weakness of European cultures. Racism feeds off both ignorance and insecurity and there is plenty of both in Europe right now.

Its amazing that such a small number of Muslim Women should find themselves at the centre of a debate that is being portrayed as a ‘clash of civilisations” This is utter poppycock and would be laughable of it were not so serious.

Muslim women have the right to wear what they want and as long as they are not harming anyone else then they should be free to live their lives as they see fit. Banning the Burkha is akin to burning books and neither has any place in a confident, inclusive, progressive democracy.

One Response

  1. […] we reported here previously France is now also considering introducing such a ban. People found breaking the new […]

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