Burqa not welcome in France….

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Nicolas Sarkozy: burqa not welcome in France
Telegraph: President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that the Islamic burqa is ‘not welcome’ in France
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In a speech at the Palace of Versailles, Mr Sarkozy said that the head-to-toe Islamic garment for women was not a symbol of religion but a sign of subservience for women. “The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience,” he told members of both parliamentary houses gathered for his speech. He added: “It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.”

While I find the burqa distasteful if it is ‘required’ to be worn, the difficulty with this statement by the president of France is that it undermines the freedom of those who choose to wear it. By choice, of course, I mean free choice.

The French are concerned that the wearing of any religious symbols undermines the secular tradition. The irony with that position is that it places secularism in the same position as religions which feel threatened or undermined by non-believers. Perhaps no religions should be recognised by the state – or supported by the state? – for therein would lie equality before the law and removal of ‘discrimination’. For my own part if people choose to believe in something, they should be free to do so provided it does not cause harm to or impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. That, however, is another problem with religions – they just can’t help themselves. They have to convert, they have to interfere, they have to control. This is why I am an atheist.

8 thoughts on “Burqa not welcome in France….

  1. Sarkozy has to be commended for actually taking a stance; something our own government is seemingly incapable of when dealing with such issues, preferring to set up a ‘committee’ to perpetually consider, but never actually decide.

    The undermining of the freedom of those who chose to wear it does raise difficulties, but on a balance of interests, in my opinion, a device that is a “sign of subservience for women” has no place in a modern, secular, society. I too am an atheist, primarily for the reasons you mention, not to mention that it is all just too improbable…

    Wonderful Blog by the way, I have only recently discovered it and is making for some interesting reading!

  2. article 9 of the ECHR protects the freedom to manifest ones religious belief, and its implementation in th UK is the subject of my dissertation next year, i would be surprised if sarkosy could ban the veil in public if worn by choice, although i suspect his point is that even if a religious person is happy to wear the veil they in reality have no choice because their community and family would never permit them to remove it, whether this is a valid reasonnig porcess is of course subject to debate.
    But i fear that this move will have the opposite effect form that sarkosy hopes, rather than liberate oppressed muslim women it will simply mean their communities put pressure on them never to leave the house

  3. Hats of to Sarkozy – but, there is an argument that by preventing people from exercising their undoubted right to dress up as they see fit, religious symbol or not, provided it is not ‘obscene’ etc etc he is, ironically, being repressive!

    I do agree, however, that where a woman is effectively forced – whether directly or by indirect social pressure to wear a burqa, that is not acceptable – for there is no consent and slavery and servitude were abolished many years ago.

    The English tried to stop the Scots wearing kilts years ago and banned tartan. It didn’t work.

    My view… is: if people want to dress up in robes and wave pirate hats about they should be free to do so. I am sure Jack Straw would agree with me.

  4. I’ve got to agree with Charon – Why anyone would want to wear a burqa is a mystery to me but if that is their choice it seems no business of the state to tell them that they can’t – or even shouldn’t.

    Charon – totally off topic but as you are my guru on matters pertaining to wine, lay some truth on me O wise one…

    Is there some alcohol contenmt crep going on. I always assumed that wine is conventionally 12-13% alcohol but now I regularly notice alcohol content of 14.5-15%

    Perhaps it’s a plot by that Sarkozy bloke to get us pissed as well as out of burqas

  5. White Rabbit..

    I have noticed an increase in the alcohol content of wines in recent years. Wines with higher alcohol content create a perception of value and, of course, the flavours can be more robust.

    Good wines are weighing in now at 13.5-14.

    I drank a bottle of South African wine recently at 15% without realising. Assumed only 13.5% as is normal. My head fell off.. Just too much.

    Mind you, I didn’t need to drink the whole bottle for the wine review I was writing – but as they had gone to so much trouble to put it in a big bottle for me… the least I could do…

    Aussies and South Africans definitely getting more alcohol into them… maybe they reckon that if we are completely off our heads we won’t win the Ashes or The Lions tour…. they may well be right.

    Mind you Freddie appears to be able to bowl at nearly 100 mph even when he is pissed.

  6. Charon,

    The burqa is not without its uses.

    Shoplifters love them and a former colleague if mine, who is of an older vintage, made his escape from revolutionary Iran dressed in one (or the Iranian equivalent).

    Now that Carla Bruni is dressing more modestly, she might like to give one a go.

    White Rabbit,

    The newer producers like to up the alcohol content. This disguises the taste and suits the mass market.

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