Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bare faced French..

The French National Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to ban the wearing of the niqab or the burqa in public, the result was 335 votes to 1 in favour. Although the majority of Muslim women don't wear these garments, there is a very small minority who do. It isn't clear how many of these Women actually choose to wear these things as opposed to being forced or pressured into doing so by their families or peer groups, I imagine it would be near impossible to establish that percentage or indeed ensure that those covering up were doing so freely.


Similar measures are pending in a number of European countries, Belgium and Spain for example, however France has one of the largest populations of Muslims and perhaps the message this action sends will resonate more loudly there than elsewhere. 

I think the message is that if you want to benefit from living in French (secular) society then you should adhere to its most deeply held values, equality of the sexes is one of those values. Many relativists and Muslim apologists both sides of the channel will no doubt see this as a restriction on personal freedom and dismiss it as an "attack on a foreign culture", of course it's a restriction, however much like any restrictive practice there are also victims which this ban will potentially liberate. If it does this, even in one single case, then in my view it will have been successful, if on the other hand you are someone who cares more about tradition and authority than people, then this new law will certainly offend.

I salute the French, they are prepared to put their money where their mouths are and in doing so they are standing up for their secular principals, my only sadness is that I sense there is little chance of the same robust defence happening here.


5 comments:

G said...

Hi Steve

Thanks for your comments over on the Drayton blog!

My suspicion is that the French secular system may well be gone within two generations, as the ageing secularists are replaced by the growing numbers of Moslems. Unless the British completely colonise Provence and Dordogne, that is.

cheers

Gary

Steve Borthwick said...

Hi G, Oh how I wish I could swap Reading, Berkshire for Provence... !

re. Drayton - I love the smell of quality irony in the morning, good stuff!

G said...

What I think is particularly funny about my new blog, is the sight of Americans berating me for my imaginary position! Which I do think is evidence that the real reason the Pilgrim Fathers left is that they were the only people in England without a sense of irony.

Steve Borthwick said...

G, I quite agree, Irony doesn't travel well. It's strangely compelling to read the misunderstandings as they play out though, schadenfreude I suppose ;)

Chairman Bill said...

That's the problem with the French - they don't have a word for schadenfreude.