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Getting Tough

Banning the burqa on the table in the Netherlands.

Verdonk, a hardliner who has introduced a series of anti-immigration measures, told Dutch Parliament recently that she will investigate the situation under which the curbs on Muslim clothing can be introduced. She has been quoted as saying the 'time for cosy tea-drinking' with Muslim groups was over.

Hubba hubba.

Verdonk and Muslim groups have a history of sorts. Recently she called off a meeting with Muslim leaders who refused to shake her hand because she was a woman.

An infidel woman at that. Touching her, in any way, is a big no-no for the Muslims. How can she be so insensitive? /sarcasm.

Seriously, I think this proposal is a step in the right direction.

Update 05:12 PM ET
Damian:

I'm all in favor of encouraging Muslim women to cast off this medieval symbol of oppression, but I also firmly believe the state has no business telling me what I can and can't wear.

I think, for any government, the clothing rules apply to the two extremes; nudity and 100% burqa. One can think of many reasons for the former. The latter is a security issue and thus a government does have the authority to ban the enlightened clothing in public places.

Comments

Yusuf Smith

It's worth pointing out that in the only countries in Europe which have actually been on the receiving end of al-Qa'ida type terrorism (the Van Gogh assassination does not count, as it was a straightforward murder rather than a terrorist attack on society), such a ban is not even on the table. In one of the countries which does ban it, the legislation concerned dates back to fascist times. There is no security reason; it's because the societies involved don't like it, pure and simple.

Isaac Schrödinger

Whether the concerned societies like or dislike the burqa is not the issue. Do think about it. If the Muslim population in a Western country is 10%, then (assuming all the Muslim women cover themselves) around 5% of the country wouldn't show its face in public. That would be a security issue.

The countries which are not banning the burqa are in the wrong, not vice versa. Security in the Western world is more important than the oh-so-tender feelings of the Muslims.

Yusuf Smith

[If the Muslim population in a Western country is 10%, then (assuming all the Muslim women cover themselves) around 5% of the country wouldn't show its face in public. That would be a security issue.]

You might like to consider the security situation in countries where it is common for women to cover their faces, like the Gulf region. Please tell me of a single incident of an act of terrorism carried out by a female outside Palestine, and a single incident in which face covering was a factor.

As it happens, from talking to Muslim women from east Africa, I am aware of a phenomenon of criminality, not terrorism, involving niqab-style face-covering in that part of the world. But in the countries where it's still commonplace it's not regarded as a security issue.

Isaac Schrödinger

"... in the countries where it's still commonplace it's not regarded as a security issue."

As I said it should be. Face covering is common in criminal acts; it's, of course, tough to identify the perpetrator(s) afterwards. Imagine if thousands of people in a country cover their face by default. If a terrorist act is carried out by a burqa wearer, then one wouldn't even be able to identify the sex of that terrorist with any confidence.

We shouldn't wait and get confirmation of a "burqa terrorist" in the West before enforcing such sensible rules.

By the way, you said:
"... consider the security situation in countries where it is common for women to cover their faces, like the Gulf region."

Technically, it's common for the regimes to enforce the burqa. I would bet that most wouldn't wear "the stroke inducer" if given the choice.

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