Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
<Previous Next>
Mon Apr 11 15:11:03 2011
Vale of Ignorance

Some thoughts on the French public ban on veils that cover the face: Background: Last year, a number of European countries banned (or started discussion on banning) forms of veils (primarily Islamic) that cover the entire face. France was among them; typically a smallish fine (around the order of an expensive parking ticket) is applied, and in the case of France there's the option of forcing those guilty of the offense to undertake a basic civics class. On first investigation, this is troubling, although after careful consideration, I approve of it.

Why a ban? There are many reasons behind the law, some good and some bad

I believe that forms of Islam (really, cultural tendencies of some groups within it, as neither the Quran nor the Sunna specifically mandate more than modest dress for women and men) that demand face-obscuring veils are unacceptable in western society, and their communities should either be booted out (if immigrants) or broken up (through education, social workers, etc).

The apparent contradiction is complex in this case; we have a law that restricts in order to prevent a worse restriction that happens behind closed doors. I recognise that I am standing against Amnesty International on this issue; they suggest that it is possible to separate the freedom of expression issue from the coercion issue. I believe this is impossible, particularly as under liberal society the state lacks the reach to inform or ensure choice for those within distant subcultures. Likewise, I feel that it is illegitimate for entire subcultures to arrange property and social relations so as to attach such a cost to removing one's veil that it is effectively not a choice (likewise with allowing sharia courts for mediation). Amnesty International's idealism can only result in a state that permits grave injustice; we must reject their stance.