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  1. #211
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    I know I'm ambivalent, but still...
    You didn't strike me as being for the ban when i read this...

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post

    I don't know. In principle, I support it. In practice, it disturbs me... feels like the thin end of a wedge...

    But yeah, pretty ambivalant. My point was that i thought there was a possibility for some good to come out of it in practise, where as you hadn't expressed that .... i could be wrong
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  2. #212
    No Cigar Litvyak's Avatar
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    The motives of the french government are more interesting than the ethical part of the decision. I've read it concerned 2 000 women in the whole country, yet they reinterpreted the problem on a higher, symbolic level. Populism? Seems like it, at least from here.

  3. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    When you spoke to me on the telephone, you made it plain to me that you were doing something behind your parents' back.

    This makes it absolutely crystal clear you are not a responsible adult.
    OMG HE'S ATTACKING ME!


  4. #214
    Senior Member proximo's Avatar
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    As a Frenchman (sort of), and as an occasional motorcyclist, I'll say that if I enter a shop with my crash helmet on, I'm asked to remove it, which I consider entirely reasonable. I support the motion on this basis, not any other.
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  5. #215
    Senior Member burymecloser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    I use the term "brainwash" because there is no rational argument which can defend the necessity of the burqa. Please, feel free to make one if you can.
    I'll take this one on in more depth a little farther down, but for now let's acknowledge the fact that millions of Muslim women believe they should wear burqas. We can disagree on the validity or reasoning for these beliefs, but surely we all acknowledge their existence. To forbid those women to wear burqas, then, effectively forces them to violate their beliefs. To me, that's all the rational necessity required.

    I would much rather that we work to educate women -- many Muslim women are illiterate, and don't realise that myriad traditional practices are not ordained in the Quran or the Hadith -- and if they eventually choose to cast off the burqa, I will celebrate that alongside anyone. Prohibiting someone from fulfilling something they see as a religious duty is cruel and counter-productive.

    Furthermore, when a single religion is targeted, this codifies discrimination.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay
    Bans aren't necessarily about solving anything - sometimes they are preemptive. The French are taking a stand in line with the values upon which their nation was built. They are saying in effect, you are welcome in France, but if you live here you must live as we live and respect the traditions that we hold dear.
    Pre-emptive bans -- that is, before any proven harm has actually been done -- are not a precedent I'm at all comfortable with. How can that be acceptable in a free society? If we're going to limit liberties, there had better be a compelling and demonstrable reason for it.

    You are welcome in France, but if you live here you must live as we live and respect the traditions that we hold dear. Does that means you must speak French, and you must be Catholic? Perhaps anyone found to be speaking another language will face a substantial fine, and non-Catholic religious services will be strictly prohibited.

    Am I missing a distinction here? If we can justify restricted liberties on the basis of "traditions we hold dear", can't we use that to condone the most draconian anti-immigration policies imaginable? Why not ban minarets while we're at it? Hell, why not just ban brown people? It's obviously what they're getting at.

    from The Guardian
    Nicolas Sarkozy today voiced sympathy for Switzerland's controversial decision to ban the building of Muslim minarets ... "Instead of condemning the Swiss out of hand, we should try to understand what they meant to express and what so many people in Europe feel, including people in France."
    :eek:

    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    Conversely, is there a rational argument which can defend the necessity of banning it? Works both ways this one. Where civil liberties are being restricted, the burden of proof rests more on the necessity for the law to be passed that restricts them than it does on allowing the freedom to continue.
    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay
    They aren't invading a sovereign state and stripping people in the streets - lets get this in perspective.
    Millions of Muslims already live in France. If those people are forced to violate their religious principles or abandon their homes, that is a clear violation of their human rights.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    That's why Islam doesn't figure in the legislation. It's covering the face in public that will be outlawed.

    "Democracy thrives when it is open-faced," Ms Alliot-Marie told the National Assembly when she presented the bill last week. She stressed the bill, which makes no reference to Islam or veils, was not aimed at "stigmatising or singling out a religion".
    Morgan, you're much too intelligent not to see that this a complete canard. Banning the burqa deliberately, specifically, and exclusively affects Muslims, because no one else wears them. This would be like prohibiting the wearing of crosses, and then claiming that it wasn't aimed at Christians, because nobody else is allowed to wear crosses, either. Well, fine, but it only affects Christians, because no one else wears them.

    If it only affects one group of people, and everybody recognises this, it is obviously directed squarely at that group, and to claim otherwise is disingenuous in the extreme. Ms. Alliot-Marie is insulting our intelligence. Not singling out a religion my ass -- only Muslims wear burqas. Singling out a religion is precisely what this does.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree
    Islamic thought is frequently critical of the objectification of the female body in Western culture, it's important to remember that the modest dress code, of which the Burqa/Niquab are extreme forms, is often interpreted, PARTICULARLY by Muslim women, as a defense against this objectification. There has been considerable opposition by the mainstream in France to any form of female Islamic dress, including the hijab. France is a country in which the objectification of the female body is particularly rife. I don't therefore see these as necessarily unrelated issues, unless you are going to deny the stance many Muslim women have on objectification, and the use of dress to combat it, which I can easily prove if you're interested.

    Islamic dress is one effective defense Muslim women have against being thought of as sex objects when out in public, in their own minds at least; I don't see how removing these rights from them is particularly liberating, or particularly empowering to women unless you insist that your own version of feminism is the only valid one.
    I'm certain that Morgan is not deliberately being culturally insensitive here, and I applaud her passion for women's rights, but I agree with ragashree that we have to be very careful here about valuing one set of cultural values over another. Once again, I think the burden of proof rests on those who want to limit liberties to prove that their way is best.

    Quote Originally Posted by InsatiableCuriosity View Post
    You mistake me - if we cannot recognise the small steps that lead to division in societies based on race, religion and related practises, then we have no hope of learning from the past until it is too late, and lay the foundations of thought that can ultimately lead to tragedy.
    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    To suggest that incremental steps like banning the burqa couldn't possibly lead to widespread and/or violent discrimination against Muslims is at least as silly as suggesting that it would inevitably lead to such things.

    Holocaust comparisons are admittedly a bit extreme at this stage, but it's not like hauling people away to camps was the first thing to clue us in that maybe the Nazi regime didn't like Jews. They faced small impositions on their liberty initially, followed by greater ones, ultimately culminating in death camps. I certainly don't foresee mass extermination of Muslims in France, but this sends a clear message that Muslims are not welcome there. As some start to move away in response -- and it will be those with the means to do so, the wealthy and educated -- further repression will grow easier. History has shown us this repeatedly. We probably won't get death camps, but we could certainly get ghettos, ID cards, and further restrictions on appearance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    Untrue. It's very much an issue for millions of women who are forced to cover themselves up to symbolize their total submission to their male superiors and has been so for a long time prior to 9/11.
    No one would deny that some women are forced to wear the burqa, and that this symbolises and facilitates the second-class status of some women. Similarly, surely all of us recognise that many women choose to wear the burqa based on their faith, and independent of any influence from their husbands and fathers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay
    No. As has already been pointed out (twice!) it is a cultural tradition, not a religious requirement.
    From a strictly scriptural standpoint, this is true. The same is true of many common Christian beliefs, which come from Dante, Milton, Aquinas, or medieval Catholic doctrine created by religious leaders 1,000 years after the life of Jesus. Educated adherents may choose to discard these practices if they find them unnecessary and burdensome or inappropriate, but to forbid these things entirely, forcing millions of believers to abandon practices they consider -- rightly or wrongly -- to be sacred duties is a violation of religious freedom. No piece of human rights legislation indicates that protected religious beliefs and practices are limited to those in primary sources or scripture. We may object to that from a rational standpoint, but to tell other people what they may and may not believe is perilously close to condemning all religious belief and expression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay
    And no, it's not prejudice. One can look at the rationale for forcing/encouraging women (exclusively) to cover themselves from head to toe in a uniform which suppresses their identity and means of expressing (or even ventilating!) themselves and ask whether it is reasonable or not. One needs no additional information about abuse to make such a judgment.
    You could say this about many religious practices. Faith is explicitly about things that can't be proven or don't make sense from an empirical, objective standpoint. Praying, attending services, observing holidays -- none of these things are really rational. People feel compelled to perform these functions because they believe they are right and necessary, and we may disagree with that, but if we actually forbid them to do such things we are severely limiting their religious freedom, and I think most of us would agree that is unacceptable: people should be free to practice or not practice as they choose, so long as no obvious harm is done. I understand the arguments against the burqa, and even sympathise with them, but I just don't think there's "obvious harm" to justify limiting religious liberty, particularly when it's so specifically aimed at a single minority group.
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  6. #216
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GemPOPGem View Post
    I do not believe it's simply as an overlap, i believe there are only a miniscule amount of women who choose out of freewill to wear the Burqa. This can be seen in thousands of texts and articles by feminist (Muslim) women who see the Burqa as a symbol of the oppression. You only have to look at Countries like Iran, Afganistan and Saudi Arabia where the wearing of this clothing is compulsary, and the non wearing it met with violence and prison. Although granted in Iran the wearing of the full Burqa is not compulsory the police will still beat and arrest women who do not wear their headscarves correctly. It is clear from this that wearing these items is nothing to do with freewill and everything to do with compulsory laws, signifying opression.
    You're ignoring three absolutely critical facts here.

    1) The West is not the Middle East, and is not ruled by Islamists; there are no laws mandated by the state to proscribe the wearing of an item of clothing; there are, however, laws which prevent them from public harassment for failing to wear it. Any compulsion to wear it is therefore taking place largely at a private level, in the home and within tight-knit communities. The issue becomes therefore one of engagement with those communities.

    2) You believe, or you know? I don't know myself, but I've seen considerable anecdotal evidence, including on this thread, and have some personal experience to validate, that it is perfectly possible for Muslim women to dress this way voluntarily and for reason of personal belief, not being forced by anyone. There are reasons in Islamic scripture why this may be so, and they translate into currents in Islamic thinking.

    3) Is the issue an item of clothing, or the image of oppression that you mentally associate with it? Banning it here will have no effect on the oppression there, except possibly to help validate it by advertising that the West is implacably opposed to Islamic culture. Here, I was questioning the effectiveness of existing laws against domestic violence both for culturally indigenous women and in the Muslim communities where these are not integrated, because banning a piece of clothing, it itself, will make no difference to whatever oppression is taking place.

    I don't understand this question, which laws are you refferring to here French or western in general?
    Any Western nation where you think this is a good idea, and will potentially achieve something productive.

    I think taking out the extreme version of oppressive dress (the Burqa) has some positive aspects to it but i do doubt that the motives of the French government are genuinely to do with this.
    So do I, I suspect their true motivations are nationalistic and xenophobic, and that the rhetoric about liberating Muslim women is a sop to those who would otherwise be inclined to take a stand against oppression.

    Which exsiting laws, In France, Turkey, Where?
    *See above*

    I think it would but now tell me how would you know which women are which since they are veiled, would it come down to the husbands word? Do you not think it would be difficult to identify which women are being abused?
    I believe the Burqa de-humanises women.
    You could always ask should you happen to meet one. It might be easier for you than for me. I'm sure they can speak on this for themselves if they have an opinion. I'm not, at any rate, aware that there are any particular restrictions on Muslim women, veiled or otherwise, speaking to other women of whatever persuasion, except for any restrictions they may put upon themselves.

    I don't think i can offer a when but a good starting point could be the Arab invasions, if we want to go that far back. I suppose brainwashing could be ascribed to many religions. I will refer to Islam to keep on topic.
    I did make an analagy regarding this a few posts back. I believe the religion as a whole is fundamantally sexist however wearing the Burqa is not in the Qu'ran so lets seperate the two.
    The wearing of it is not religious but it is merged into it culturally, it is the more extreme cultures that require it by law, the more mysigonistic ones.
    You haven't done anything to define when someone is being brainwashed though, just repeated your own beliefs about gender roles within Islam, which amounts to your conviction that they are misogynistic and therefore wrong. That's an interesting question which I'm tempted to elaborate on, but also a separate debate.

    What I'm asking is whether you think there is any way to accurately establish whether a Muslim woman who accepts a certain dress code, her gender role as defined by the faith, etc, is so brainwashed that she is to be considered unable to think and act for herself, effectively non compus mentis with regard for being able to stand up for her own interests and make her own decisions about what matters to her and what doesn't. And that therefore those of us who do know better must make her decisions for her? If we can't definitively establish that she isn't thinking for herself effectively, this presumption seems to be an infantalising one, which I would ask you to lay side by side with your belief that wearing full veil is dehumanising.

    Thats a difficult one but can be answered by looking at the inhumane conditions that women are living in, if indeed we are still talking about women.
    Well, you can talk about what you like, I was specifically referring to Muslim women who chose from what appears to be their own free will to adhere to extreme forms of the Islamic dress code, do they typically live in inhumane conditions in the more liberal Islamic societies or in the Western nations?

    It's a separate issue to whether women are forced to in certain other societies that are tribal, riven by war, under the sway of militant Islamism, or a combination of these. The only way it would conflate to a significant degree is if all the women wearing it were recent immigrants from those countries, but many of them are born and bred in the countries that they live in, and a significant proportion (disproportionate to the number of women born Muslims who choose to wear them) are Western converts to the faith. Are Western women who chose to CONVERT living under oppression, fear, and easily liable to brainwashing?

    I allow that it may be possible the same way i believe almost anything is possible. I deem it very unlikey but i hasten to add that it may take time, prehaps generations for these women to truely feel free from the opression and fear.
    Again, is women wearing these garments in the West directly related to oppression and fear, and will preventing them from wearing them in public have any effect on the sources of that oppression and fear?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litvyak View Post
    The motives of the french government are more interesting than the ethical part of the decision. I've read it concerned 2 000 women in the whole country, yet they reinterpreted the problem on a higher, symbolic level. Populism? Seems like it, at least from here.
    I think they have to interpret it a symbolic level to avoid relating it to the practical realities it signally fails to solve, or even really engage with. :rolli:
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  7. #217
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burymecloser View Post
    We probably won't get death camps, but we could certainly get ghettos, ID cards, and further restrictions on appearance.
    Religion ID cards and forced ghettos are likely to happen in France? Really? Really?

    I think this is taking the slippery slope argument to an unrealistic extreme (besides the Godwining).
    -end of thread-

  8. #218
    Senior Member proximo's Avatar
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    They're passing a similar thing in Britain and, to be fair, if it were a racist/conformity thing and not a security/equality thing, then they wouldn't still be making exceptions for Sikhs on the law about wearing motorcycle crash helmets. Everyone else gets fined for being caught without one, except Sikhs, cos of the turban.
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  9. #219
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    For those who insist on interpreting the matter at a symbolic level relating to this increasing the freedom of oppressed Muslim women in French society, those who think that this affects only women under intense subjugation in their own communities, and those who think that there is no specific antipathy to Muslims or Islamic culture in general in France, this article, from last year, makes an informative read.

    Edit: I've bolded the bits that are particularly ironic, telling, or troubling for ease of reference. I'm going to ask those who know their history (if you don't, it's really not up to me to teach you) to pay careful attention to what several people have said on this thread, particularly InsatiableCuriosity, and more recently BuryMeCloser.

    Veiled threats: row over Islamic dress opens bitter divisions in France | World news | The Guardian

    In the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, with its busy market, fast-food joints and bargain clothes shops, Angelica Winterstein only goes out once a week – and only if she really has to.

    "I feel like I'm being judged walking down the street. People tut or spit. In a smart area west of Paris, one man stopped his car and shouted: 'Why don't you go back to where you came from?' But I'm French, I couldn't be more French," said the 23-year-old, who was born and raised in bourgeois Versailles.
    Once a fervent Catholic, Winterstein converted to Islam at 18. Six months ago she began wearing a loose, floor-length black jilbab, showing only her expertly made-up face from eyebrows to chin. She now wants to add the final piece, and wear full niqab, covering her face and leaving just her eyes visible.

    "But this week, after Sarkozy announced that full veils weren't welcome in France, things have got really difficult," she said. "As it is, people sometimes shout 'Ninja' at me. It's impossible to find a job – I'm a qualified childminder and get plenty of interviews because of my CV, but when people see me in person, they don't call back. It's difficult in this country, there's a certain mood in the air. I don't feel comfortable walking around."

    This week, France plunged into another bitterly divisive national debate on Muslim women's clothing, reopening questions on how the country with western Europe's biggest Muslim community integrates Islam into its secular republic. A parliamentary inquiry is to examine how many women in France wear full Islamic veils or niqab before a decision is made over possibly banning such garments in the street. More than 50 MPs from across the political spectrum have called for restrictions on full veils, called "degrading", "submissive" and "coffins" by politicians. Yet the actual numbers of niqab wearers in France appears to be so small that TV news crews have struggled to find individuals to film. Muslim groups estimate that there are perhaps only a few hundred women fully covering themselves out of a Muslim population of over 5 million – often young French women, many of them converts.

    That such a marginal issue can suddenly take centre stage in a country otherwise struggling with major issues of mass unemployment and protest over public sector reform shows how powerful the symbol of the headscarf and veil remains in France.

    Human rights groups warned this week that the row over niqabs risks exacerbating the growing problem of discrimination against women wearing standard Muslim headscarves. Five years on from the heated national debate over France's 2004 law banning headscarves and all conspicuous religious symbols from state schools, there has been an increase in general discrimination against adult women who cover their heads.

    "Women in standard headscarves have been refused access to voting booths, driving lessons, barred from their own wedding ceremonies at town halls, ejected from university classes and in one case, a woman in a bank was not allowed to withdraw cash from her own account at the counter. This is clear discrimination by people who wrongly use the school law to claim that France is a secular state that doesn't allow headscarves in public places. It's utterly illegal and the courts rule in our favour," said Renee Le Mignot, co-president of the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between Peoples. "Our fear is that the current niqab debate is going to make this general discrimination worse."

    Samy Debah, a history teacher who heads France's Collective against Islamophobia, said 80% of discrimination cases reported to his group involved women wearing standard headscarves.

    He had rarely seen any instances of women wearing niqabs, even in the ethnically mixed north Paris suburb where he lives. "From our figures, the biggest discriminator against Muslim women is the state and state officials," he said. "What people have to understand is that the concept of French secularism is not anti-religion per se, it is supposed to be about respecting all religions."
    The current initiative against full Islamic veils began in Venissieux, a leftwing area on the industrial outskirts of Lyon. Its communist mayor, André Gerin, led proposals for a clampdown, saying he saw increasing numbers of full veils in his constituency.
    "I call them walking prisons, phantoms that go past us, it's that visual aspect that's an issue," Gerin said. "There's a malaise in the general population faced with the proliferation of these garments. I sense that on the part of Muslims, too."

    Gerin said women in niqab posed "concrete problems" in daily life. "We had an issue in a school where a headteacher at the end of the school day didn't want to hand back two children to a phantom," he said. Gerin has refused to conduct the town-hall wedding of a woman wearing niqab. Another woman wearing a full veil was refused social housing by a landlord in the area. The mayor said that when women haven't removed their face covering, it has resulted in conflict with public officials who often felt insulted or under attack. But he denied stigmatising the wider Muslim population.

    "The current situation [where women wear niqabs] is stigmatising Muslims," he said. His aim was to "establish a debate with the Muslim community, integrate Islam properly into French life" and expose fundamentalist practices.

    Two previous calls for a law restricting full veils have been left to gather dust. This time, the debate is gathering force. There are divisions in the government itself – the feminist Muslim junior minister, Fadela Amara, supports a niqab ban while the immigration minister, Eric Besson, warns it would create unnecessary tension.

    Horia Demiati, 30, a French financier who wears a standard headscarf with her business suits, said: "I really fear an increase in hatred." She recently won a discrimination case after she and her family, including a six-month baby, were refused access to a rural holiday apartment they had booked in the Vosges. The woman who refused them argued that she was a secular feminist and didn't want to see the headscarf, "an instrument of women's submission and oppression", in her establishment.

    Demiati said: "This niqab debate is such a marginal issue, yet it risks detracting from the real issues in France."
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  10. #220
    Senior Member burymecloser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    Religion ID cards and forced ghettos are likely to happen in France? Really? Really?

    I think this is taking the slippery slope argument to an unrealistic extreme (besides the Godwining).
    Forgive me if this seems to be mincing words, but this small distinction is all the difference: I did not say likely. I said "we could certainly get" such things. I intended only to identify a possibility, not a likelihood. I thought I had made that clear, but looking back at my post I can see I did not.

    This is a bit off-topic, but we've seen a trend recently that many countries value democracy more than liberty, which facilitates tyranny of the majority. I would be surprised to see forced ghettos in France any time in the next 20 years or so. But are they inconceivable, especially deeper into the future? Not at all, I think.

    And fwiw, I'm not the one who brought up the Holocaust; I was defending InsatiableCuriosity's point, and I hardly think it's an unreasonable logical leap with this sort of topic. This thread directly concerns reduced liberties for a particular religious group. I doubt very much that this is the sort of thing Godwin had in mind, and I would even argue that when dealing with such a serious matter, it is important to at least address at some point the worst-case scenario. I'd hate to think we were ignoring some aspect of the debate out of political correctness or fear of angering the internet gods.
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