Burqa ban discussed in France

As much as I find the burqa very offensive and repressive to women, banning it doesn’t solve anything. If anything, wouldn’t this drive those women into even more isolation? The widespread use of such clothing for women is a new problem so it makes more sense to look at what is driving this movement and focus on that. A ban is all fine and good for stirring up the crowds but it’s difficult to see how this is going to help the women it’s supposed to be saving. This new political effort also suggests some are looking for a distraction from much larger issues in order to win over support. Here we go again.

The Communist MP who led the call this week for an inquiry, André Gerin, denounced the garments as walking prisons. In his request, backed by 57 other MPs, mostly from Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP party, he said: “The sight of these imprisoned women is already intolerable to us when they come from Iran, Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia … It is totally unacceptable on French soil.”

For a ban to be implemented, an investigation would first have to be opened and its results studied for any sign of incompatibility between secular values and the use of the full veil. President Sarkozy, who recently defended France’s division between the state and religion during a press conference with Barack Obama, is understood to be in favour of the issue being explored.

Sarkozy’s leftwing urban policies secretary, herself a Muslim and former president of a women’s rights group, today gave her support to “a total ban” on the burka. “I am for the banning of this coffin which kills basic freedoms,” Fadela Amara told Le Parisien newspaper. “This debate has to clear the way to a law which protects women.”

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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