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Hijab (The Headscarf)—Yes; The Burqa—No
by Phyllis Chesler
Banning the burqa in the West might be one way to ban Islamist fundamentalism and the barbaric subordination of girls and women in certain immigrant communities. For this reason, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and French Minister Fadela Amara have again called for this ban. Earlier today, French immigration Minister, Eric Besson, called the burqa "debased."
I would hope that the French take their argument further. In the past, they have mainly cited security concerns: Burqa wearing women might be "racially" attacked or burqa wearers themselves might be terrorists or criminals who are planning to attack or rob civilians.
I would hope that the French also argue for such a ban on women's rights/human rights grounds, as I have already proposed. Thus, clothing which completely covers the face and head in a way which muffles speech, hearing, and vision, which limits or prevents all human communication and identification, and which, in effect, functions like an isolation chamber is, by definition, a violation of human rights.
None of this applies to hijab, the Islamic headscarf, which has already been banned in France in school and which is the subject of protest and controversy across Europe.
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