Thursday, September 19, 2013

Drawing a veil over (real) freedom

I'm fascinated by the current veil debate; it seems to me we have two entrenched positions neither of which is actually focused on the real issue,  two opposing sides arguing about a straw man that is irrelevant to the actual ethical question raised by this issue.

On the left we have a lot of hand-wringing about the role of Government, i.e. Governments should not be legislating what people can or can't wear and on the right we have indignation that an Islamic tradition (alien to them) must be swallowed lock stock and barrel meaning veils should be able to be worn in courts and schools etc..

Both positions miss the point and that is should the rights of the Woman be protected by the Government? Its all very well valuing freedom from being bossed around by the authorities but where is the concern about being bossed around by Husbands and Brothers or religious authorities?

Consider the following points,

  • People bleat on about religious freedom, but the veil is nothing to do with Islam or religion, there are no religious texts or edicts that mandate wearing one?
  • People bleat on about racism, but Islam isn't a race?
  • People bleat on about tolerance, but should we be tolerant of backward (in relation to our own cultural evolution) systems that are intransigent and demand special privileges with threats of violence?
  • People bleat on about freedom of expression, but we throw people in jail for being naked in public, isn't this a double standard?
  • The silence from feminists on this issue is deafening.

It's about time we take a rational approach to this issue, if it is safe to wear something and the wearer wants to wear it then fine, if there's a rational and therefore practical reason why something shouldn't be worn, i.e. a disguise in a courtroom or a necklace in a factory then ban it! If any adult person is being bullied (by anyone) into wearing something against their will then they should be supported to the hilt by the law in a proportional and fair manner, stuff "culture" or "tradition".

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