Thursday, December 16, 2010
Unlike the 2004 French law against “religious symbols” in public places (and obviously aimed at the Islamic headscarf), the law banning the burqa this past July has not given rise, at least for the moment, to any important debate in France or the rest of Europe. (The burqa is also forbidden in Belgium.) This lack of reaction—the dog that didn’t bark—has surprised many Americans. It shouldn’t. The ban does not take aim at any specific Koranic obligation, which makes it more difficult to stigmatize it as “Islamophobic.” Moreover, barely two thousand Muslim women in France wear this head-to-toe concealment, which means that there is not much of a constituency for outrage. And finally, many of the French, in most cases sympathetic with downtrodden minorities, are shocked, even disgusted, by the sight of women wearing this get-up in public.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 10:33 AM