Friday, July 16, 2010

That French Burqa Ban

  • I find myself agreeing with a talk-show blowhard — O’Reilly’s Burqa Betrayal — and disagreeing with a learned Egyptian Jesuit — Fr. Samir: French ban on burqa a welcome law!

  • A conservative blog for peace reminds us that "religious liberty is in a way insurance for us, or Niemöller’s ‘first they came’ quotation: today the Mohammedans, tomorrow our nuns" — From RR.
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    Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


    I confess I'm really ambivalent about this issue, Joshua. In today's political environment, it is inevitable that Muslim headcoverings and Catholic habits are viewed as peas in the same "religious freedom" pod; and I suppose that there are some places on earth where that would be the valid way to see them and not just the pragmatic way.

    On the other hand, France's Catholic culture is over a millennium old. This issue isn't rooted in religious liberty, but in the refusal of thousands of immigrants to assimilate into a country they freely chose to move to. The only thing preventing us from saying so is the muzzle of political correctness and the fear of violent riots.

    10:23 PM  
    Anonymous love the girls said...

    Allowing Islam free reign is a poor prudential trade off when compared to the kinds of suppression that can be expected from the left.

    It's a good law because it's directed at curbing an evil while the evil it causes is not only out weighted, but far out weighted, by the good effect.

    Islam is very dangerous, and France is finally reacting too it, and hopefully reacting before it's too late.

    10:28 PM  
    Blogger Baron Korf said...

    They are behind the times. They already came for our nuns during the revolution. But this talk of religious freedom as insurance is a little relativistic to me. Especially in the context of the 'elder daughter of the church', even if she is a rebellious daughter in recent centuries.

    10:49 PM  
    Blogger Steve Hayes said...

    Enbrethiliel's comment reinforces for me the point that religious freedom is indivisible.

    If we followed his principles, we would be saying that in South Africa African traditional religion is more than a millennium old, and those who refuse to assimilate by following Christianity should be prohibited from flaunting its symbols.

    1:43 PM  
    Anonymous Abdul Alhazred said...

    I must admit to being troubled by the French government's burqa ban -- but I have been (and still am) many, many times more troubled by the enforced dress codes (not to mention theocratic dictatorships) of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    There will be a huge outcry from the Muslim world against the French government -- but these same Muslims appear to be totally comfortable with the total (or near-total) supression of non-Muslim faiths in their own countries.

    Where are the Muslim voices protesting against the ill-treatment of religious minorities in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or many other Muslim-majority places? Listen for vain.

    2:26 PM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    I'm reminded that the necktie is banned in both Saudi Arabia and Iran, as it is a symbol of the Cross!

    Instead of banning the burqa, France should ban Muslim immigration, or rather should have banned it a generation or more ago.

    3:46 PM  
    Anonymous Abdul Alhazred said...

    Actually...I sometimes wish they would ban the necktie in Western countries -- not because it might be a symbol of the cross, but then I wouldn't have to wear one ever again!

    I actually like the "Chinese" or "Mandarin" collar shirts!

    3:05 PM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    Say what you will about Kim Jong-il, "the people's outfit" that he sports has its merits.

    7:53 PM  
    Blogger Jonathan Wolfe said...

    Do French nuns still wear the veil?

    2:37 PM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    I can't remember the name of the order, but there's a group of habited young nuns in Paris that is thriving.

    5:09 PM  
    Anonymous love the girls said...

    Western Confucian writes : "France should ban Muslim immigration, or rather should have banned it a generation or more ago."

    Correct. That ship has sailed, so what should be done now?

    Countries have a duty to defend themselves from hostiles, even when those hostiles happen to have been first mistakenly let in by immigration.

    8:16 PM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    Banning burqas is just requiring a dress code as the Titanic sinks. France might do well to do what los Reyes Católicos did back in 1492.

    9:55 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Among the first Algerian Muslims to settle in France were those who had collobarated with the French army during the time that the French treated Algeria as part of France.

    From wiki

    In 1962, orders were initially given by the French government of Charles de Gaulle to officials and army officers to prevent the Harkis from following the example of the Pieds-Noirs and seeking refuge in Metropolitan France. However, some officers of the French army disobeyed and tried to assist the Harkis under their command, as well as their families, to escape from Algeria. On the other hand, the OAS far-right terrorist group initiated a campaign of bombings following the Evian Accords, and tried to block the Pieds-Noirs population from leaving the country. About 91,000 Harkis (including family members) were able to find refuge in France. As feared, there were widespread reprisals against those who remained in Algeria. It is estimated that somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 Harkis and their dependents were killed by the National Liberation Front (FLN) or by lynch mobs in Algeria, sometimes in circumstances of extreme cruelty.[5] In "A Savage War Of Peace" Alistair Horne writes: "Hundreds died when put to work clearing the minefields along the Morice Line, or were shot out of hand. Others were tortured atrociously; army veterans were made to dig their own tombs, then swallow their decorations before being killed; they were burned alive, or castrated, or dragged behind trucks, or cut to pieces and their flesh fed to dogs. Many were put to death with their entire families, including young children."

    By contrast, regular Muslim troops (who had the option of continuing to serve in the French Army) were only occasionally subject to reprisals. Some leaders of the new Algerian Republic were themselves veterans of the French Army, which had prior to independence provided one of the few avenues for advancement open to the Muslim majority.

    The French government of the time, concerned mainly with disengagement from Algeria and the repatriation of the Pieds-Noirs, disregarded or downplayed news of these killings. Charles de Gaulle himself appears to have been indifferent to the plight of the Muslim loyalists, according to Alistair Horne remarking to one of their spokesmen "Eh bien! vous souffrirez" ("Well then - you will suffer").

    10:38 PM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    Invade the world, invite the world. Imperialism is always almost always a two-way street, one reason perhaps why wise Americans like Grover Cleveland and Mark Twain have always despised it.

    11:08 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I think one needs to be careful and distinguish between benevolent Imperialism, which has much to recommend itself, and Imperialism for the sake of conquest, whose advocates include the likes of George W Bush after he grew out of the age of putting lit firecrackers into frogs and Leopold, genocidal King of the Belgians. Mark Twain was disgusted by the numerous human rights abuses - including waterboarding and much more - the American forces permitted themselves against the dusky natives of the formerly Spanish colonies, and with good reason.

    The French who moved to Algeria in 1840 were not much different from the English who moved to Massachusetts in 1740; peaceful people from a wealthy country looking for a more promising life in a remote area.

    One could argue, I think more plausibly, that the French, who had told the natives that Algeria was every bit as much part of France as Paris, were honor bound to let all their collaboraters move around within "greater France," and that the failure was to put them into shanty towns and forget all about them in the 60s and 70s, and not see to it that they were educated and treated like the Frenchmen they had been told they were, (as well as perhaps to not subsequently stop immigration from the Maghreb.)

    12:42 AM  
    Blogger Dunk said...

    This is a public safety issue: if the face is uncovered, it is acceptable. The Niqab, the scarf round the top of the head, is acceptable because the face is visible.

    It is Burkas, which hides every cm of the person's face, which is unacceptable. Hiding your face is an aggressive act not only in western societies, but many others except, it seems, Afganistan and Pakistan. Try walking around in a Burka in Indonesia, Guatemala or Zaire and you can time the seconds before it is angrily ripped off by locals.

    9:55 PM  
    Blogger Dunk said...

    I forgot to add, my opposition to a covered face in public extends beyond Muslims: if an order of nuns exists walking around looking through slits in their habits, I'm against that as much as Burkas or ski-masks.

    9:57 PM  

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