Saturday, December 26, 2009

Behind the veil

Legend has it that when the Nazis occupied Denmark, they ordered all the Jews there to wear yellow stars and that the King himself put one on his own clothing in order to show support. Of course it never happened there or anywhere else to my knowledge. Certainly not in France. I'm wondering though, if the draconian ban on wearing any Islamic garb that covers the face will elicit some French resistance to protest what seems to American eyes to be a violation of civil rights. No, I won't bet on it happening.

Although only some 400 women in France wear a Burqa, according to French intelligence services, the fear that Islamic extremists are a growing threat to peace and security in France and the rest of Europe is ever present. France has already passed a law banning the hijab and all other "conspicuous" religious symbols in state schools and the ruling party are proposing to deny citizenship to couples in which the woman wears a burqa.
"There are principles at stake: Extremists are putting the republic to the test by promoting a practice that they know is contrary to the basic principles of our country,"
says Jean-Francois Cope, the UMP party leader. So is he, I'd have to add, if that old Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité thing still stands taller in French eyes than ethnic purity.

I wouldn't be hard to find sympathy for banning yarmulkes, turbans, or any other religiously unique clothing in the US of A, but as yet, we're still more liberal in that respect than our Gallic brethren. Long may it be so. I make no secret about my distaste for religion and my fear of what happens when religion and government become too close. Yes, I am all too aware that a large number of Muslims hate our country so much that the random slaughter of innocents seems justified in their eyes, but meddling in anyone's right to express themselves by choosing clothing representing an affiliation or a belief is just such a dangerously close relationship and is anathema to me. No, I don't expect to see that happen here any time soon, but if it does, you'll be seeing me wearing anything they're throwing stones at be it monk's robes or djellaba -- and waving the flag.

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