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Do you support the French ban on face-covering headgear?

Babe_Ruth

Sultan of Swat
Staff member
V.I.P.
On April 11th, a French law prohibiting the wearing of face-covering headgear has gone into effect. This ban, although it also applies to non-religious masks, has been highlighted in the world media because it also bans religious headgear that covers the face, most notably the burqa and the niqab.

I was reading this on a news source at my work(sorry I can't source it) and since and I was wondering what were your thoughts? Do you agree with the ban, or you think they should let them wear face-covering headgears if they want too.

We might of had a topic about this a few months ago, but for some reason I couldn't find it anywhere. In other words, I suck at using the search button.
 

Crouton

Ninja
V.I.P.
Hmm this is an interesting one. I generally believe that people should be allowed to follow their own religion but in the case of the burqa I wonder if it's something that should be related to your location.

There are some countries where women are forced to wear burqas no matter what religion they are, just for being in the country. Yet when these people come to our countries they are not forced to do anything, so we allow them to wear the burqa even though many people find them scary or threatening. I sometimes think that if we are forced to do it their way in their country, then maybe they should do it our way in ours.

But then at the same time that seems like fighting fire with fire, almost like sinking to the same level as those who force women to wear them in the first place. And yes I know not all women are "forced" and many freely wear the burqa because they wish too.

This is tricky, I can't seem to make my mind up with this one. I think people should respect the cultures of other countries, especially if they have moved to live in them after coming from a very different country. But I also think people should be allowed to follow their religion no matter where they are.

So yeah basically I'm torn and just can't make up my mind here.
 

CaptainObvious

Embrace the Suck
V.I.P.
Yes I support the ban, for safety issues. People need to be identified as they mingle in public. This applies to all masks, in other words for a secular purpose. It has absolutely nothing to do with Islamaphobia or any other label people want to make up. Don't like it? Don't move to France.
 

Stegosaurus

Registered Member
Hmm, I saw this come up on BBC world news the other morning and my stomach knotted. The police can ask them to identity themselves in private, but that still breaks their reasons for wearing them anyway because they're still "seen."

I say the ban is unfounded and the justifications used are disingenuous.

“The French government says the face-covering veil undermines the basic standards required for living in a shared society and also relegates its wearers to an inferior status incompatible with French notions of equality.”

“Guidelines issued to police say they should not ask women to remove their veils in the street - if necessary they should escort them to a police station where they would be asked to uncover their faces for identification.”
BBC News - France issues first fine for woman in Islamic veil

Some are arguing that this is a public-safety hazard. I cannot buy that entirely even though I see where the argument is founded. That often comes up as an excuse to allow a political tool to work its way through to becoming a bill. “You’re in danger—this’ll fix it.” *reassuring wink and nod* I have heard the argument that French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is using this in an act of subterfuge to push the secular-state identity of France and encourage ethnocentric, anti-immigration voters to rally behind him. Either way, we ask, “Is there a ‘clear and present danger’ in covering one’s face?” I’m not convinced, really. By their own logic, ski-slopes would be extra dangerous because of all the balaclavas. That's not being snarky--that's just using their "logic."

As a matter of human rights, a lot of Muslim women have come forward stating it’s their own decision made under their own free will. Regardless of the nation in which you live, I think it’s a universal right to “think of yourself” in whatever way you so see fit. There can be no government regulations on your thoughts.

Here again we run into the clash between those arguing either for cultural relativism or for ethical universalism. Sam Harris, writer of The Moral Landscape, makes a compelling argument when considering the “moral” choice: “The division between facts and values is intellectually unsustainable.” (24) Following, “The most basic facts about human flourishing must transcend culture, just as most other acts do.” (45) Does the covering of one’s face occur in different cultures around the world? Yes. When done consentingly, does it present an especially higher level of threat that lowers human flourishing? I don’t see any data that says it does. The covering of one’s face with a Burka, Niqab, Al-Amari, Chador, etc… is (at least) both an ethnic custom and a moral choice for some. Now, there is an importance (obviously) to religious toleration—but tolerance has limits just as a spring has tolerance. If a religious “moral” presents a conflict with ethical universalism (that is, the basic universal morals argued for by scientists, ethicists, philosophers, and many theologians) then I think we could argue that it is in actuality an immoral act because it does not bring about “well-being” in the end. Covering one’s face—out of freedom of choice—does not seem to present a conflict. Currently, I see no valid argument for banning head coverings.

Lastly, facial recognition is not the be-all-end-all of identification.

References:
Harris, Sam. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. New York: Free, 2010. Print.
ISBN 13: 978-1439171219
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
I wouldn't want the government to dictate dress. If they can tell you what you may or may not wear, what can't they tell you to do?

But I'm glad other countries can decide their own form of governance and see how it works out for them.
 

Stegosaurus

Registered Member
As an afterthought, I don't see any way to police "identification." Hollywood prosthetics can do wonders, and you'd never know. If Johnny Knoxville can be done-up as an old man in a Jazzy, and Robin Williams can be made to look like a 70-year-old nanny, and the average individual would never know just by passing them on the street, then how can we possibly enforce a "veil" ban?
 

CaptainObvious

Embrace the Suck
V.I.P.
As an afterthought, I don't see any way to police "identification." Hollywood prosthetics can do wonders, and you'd never know. If Johnny Knoxville can be done-up as an old man in a Jazzy, and Robin Williams can be made to look like a 70-year-old nanny, and the average individual would never know just by passing them on the street, then how can we possibly enforce a "veil" ban?
That's completely different, you don't see everyday people walking around dressed like old men on a daily basis. Ski slopes is something else entirely, that's only for that time and for a particular purpose.

To take a photo ID they need to see your face, to walk into a store and write a check they need to see your face, to purchase beer at a convenince store they need to see your face, to walk into a bank they need to see your face. I just don't see the logic that somehow this is some backlash against Muslims. The ban includes all masks in public.
 

Stegosaurus

Registered Member
It's cool to agree to disagree on it--I just don't see the ban as sustainable or ethically enforceable. (Think of all the "face-coverings" on a daily basis that are allowed for other reasons)

The public-safety issue is up for debate. However, this is what I would take issue with the most:

The French government says the face-covering veil...relegates its wearers to an inferior status incompatible with French notions of equality.
BBC News - Women in face veils detained as France enforces ban

They're directly condemning this, so it is a backlash against a "piece" of strict Islam, in addition to all masks.

Also, if you're already a French citizen--have been for years (perhaps even born in France as a Muslim girl)--and suddenly they institute a retrograde social law and say, "Don't like it? Leave" I'd stick around and fight it democratically.
 
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Ilus_Unistus

Registered Member
Yes there was a thread of this type, but it was so cluttered and hard to follow, I welcome this new one.

I still have the same stance, I disagree with a government dictating how one can or not dress.

It is assumed this ban is aimed at Islam, but in fact it will affect many others. Look at flu epidemics, ever see the people walking around the streets with surgical masks on? Yes they are also banned because the conceal the the face. Hope France avoids any epidemics.
 

EllyDicious

made of AMBIGUITY
V.I.P.
Yes I support the ban, for safety issues. People need to be identified as they mingle in public. This applies to all masks, in other words for a secular purpose. It has absolutely nothing to do with Islamaphobia or any other label people want to make up. Don't like it? Don't move to France.
Couldn't say it any better!
I think this was a very smart move coming from France. Laws are laws and have nothing to do with religion. Just like religion is a law in itself in the arabic countries [where even non-religious women should wear a veil when going in public] the same logic must be followed by religious women, living in non-arabic countries. Whether they like it or not, safety issues and identity is more important than the personal religious preferences and its rules.
------
I wouldn't want the government to dictate dress..
It's not about dictating dress. I see this is being taken in a narrow point of view and too personal.

Also, sometimes there's nothing wrong with dictating dress.
Let's say I want to dress up like a slut at school but the school bans it.
Does it mean I am not satisfied with this rule and say the shcool is dicating my dress?
OF course it will ban it because it's not the right place to dress like that, whether I like it or not.
 
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