Banning the burka in France makes about as much sense as banning the couture hat. By Sarkozy’s logic, motorcyclists should bid farewell to their oppressive helmets. And deepest apologies to the poor ball attendants who are to be deprived of their masquerade masks. A “burka,” or more properly termed, a niqab (burka is a term reserved for those blue garments adored by the Taliban) is essentially a piece of fabric covering the face, just like anything that can be used to cover the face. But enough of putting things in perspective, the banning of the “burka” is a huge violation of constitutional rights and is not within the power of the federal government.
The 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Mans and of the Citizen and guarantees the right to freedom of religion in France.
“No one may be questioned about his opinions, [and the] same [for] religious [opinions], provided that their manifestation does not trouble the public order established by the law.”
Unless you consider a veil on a woman troubling “public order” then a serious violation of this major clause has occurred. The plausible next step for France is to cease claiming they are a ‘secular’ nation because there is nothing secular about stigmatizing and labeling a religious group and preventing their followers from practicing their beliefs. In recent news, there have been reports of women having their veils ripped off by fanatic citizens and of them losing rights such as driving (democratic France is starting to share more in common with tyrannical Saudi Arabia?) There is a common misconception that veiled women are forced to dress as such and are oppressed, and the rhetoric used by this new law furthers this islamophobia, raising tensions amongst Muslims.
Undoubtedly those who disagree will bring up security fears. This is a valid concern; however a simple solution such as identification cards could be enforced. Clearly, security is not necessarily the issue. Rather, the banning of the burka represents one of many anti-Muslim laws that express France’s fears of the Islamiziation of France and is designed to further quiet the Muslim voice. The same country banned the ‘burqini’ or a modest answer to the bikini, based on ‘hygienic’ grounds. I will leave how a wetsuit type garment can pose a health risk to the scientists, but something must be said for all this constant opposition to covering of the body. It simply supports the claim that France is grappling with a political issue.
In a country with enough freedom to accept nude beaches, shopping centers, and dining areas, certainly there is room for women with full body veils as well.