From The Blog

Defending Burqas In Adulthood

For those of you who live in Europe – and even those who don’t – you’ll know that headscarves – and now burqas –...

For those of you who live in Europe – and even those who don’t – you’ll know that headscarves – and now burqas – have been a hot-button political issue in France for awhile now.

Today, a colleague of mine over on PoliticsDaily.com – Bonnie Erb√© – wrote a post suggesting why she thinks France should go ahead and ban the burqa…and why The United States should do the same thing.

As with so many issues, my feelings on burqas and headscarves have changed dramatically since living in a country where they are a part of everyday life.

Please come visit me over on PoliticsDaily.com today where I find myself in the unexpected position of…defending the burqa.

Image: Burqa a Meta by fotorita via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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  1. joel January 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Why did they leave their Country if they felt their way of life was so good,could it be because in such respected places they could be stoned to death {and not by drugs may I say} to the contrary The French went as far as being being excomunicated to stand for the separation of church and governement.So please stop your propaganda should you want to change the world start by these country which consider woman as disposable object,interestingly enough all Muslim Nations.At this Time French are putting on the book that mental abuse are against the law , something no Countries in the world has ever done.Sorry but the French are right no burqas no to slavery.

  2. daryl boylan January 21, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    I couldn’t agree with you more, even tho’ I, like most Westerners,am automatically a bit put off by the burqa. On the other hand,I have met too many people who are horrified at the sight of a nun in a wimple. Acceptance of differences should be a sign of adulthood.

  3. Veronica January 22, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    I read your defence of the burqa and you’re absolutely right but.. There is something really disturbing about the sight of a woman trying to hide her entire person. What if the custom was for the men to drag their wives around by a leash and choke collar—instead the burqa. I don’t think this would be acceptable to anyone even if the women were intelligent, educated and accepting. I know my example is extreme yet I feel the spirit of the burqa custom is also degrading and its affects are incideous. Can you imagine trying to explain to your daughter just exactly why muslim custom

  4. Veronica January 22, 2010 at 4:41 am #

    (continued) requires women to hide their bodies? Of course you’re right about American freedoms and adult acceptance but the burqa pushes the line somehow.

    Love your blog, Delia, especially friday pix.

    • delialloyd January 22, 2010 at 10:24 am #

      it’s a complicated issue, veronica, as both you and Joel acknowledge. I guess I just know a lot of women for whom none of these issues are relevant…but I do appreciate your weighing in and thanks for the kind words abt the blog!

  5. Lindsey January 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    Really enjoyed your article and especially the philosophical point–something weird about telling someone how to be ‘free’. It just seems so ironic to tell someone they can’t wear something because we deem it as demeaning and restrictive.

    Though now that I see Veronica’s comment, it gives me something more to think about.

    But assuming it’s the woman’s decision to wear the burqa, then I see no problems with it.

  6. Marber January 27, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    There was and may still be a law in New York City that disallows masks to be worn in public. The reasoning behind that law was that it hid the identy of the wearer. That is something a criminal could use to his/her benefit. The burqua is no different. It hides not only the face but the body. How do you know if there is a man or woman under it? Defending it is not only politically correct; Which is most times stupid, but naive. Differences are fine in the United States but just as freedom of speech has some restrictions; fire in a crowded room when no fire is there, so does so called freedom of religion. We do not allow the sacrificing of animals any longer and so support of wearing the burgua fits the category of something that should not be premitted. And that does not cover the belief by Muslims that men are not capable of seeing a females face or the shape of her body without having to rape her.

  7. Rachel February 14, 2010 at 12:21 am #

    In response to Marber – he seems to be making two different points. The first, that there may be a legitimate public safety interest in forbidding a garment which conceals the gender and indeed the identity of the wearer, raises a possibly valid point, at least as regards the most extreme type of burqa where only the eyes are visible. We naturally all assume it’s a woman in there; but it’s darmed hard to tell who it might be. In his last few sentences, though, he seems to stray into the realm of cultural/religious judgment and there I think he’s mistaken (see Delia’s original point about the irony of telling someone how to be ‘free.’) I’m not sure that ‘the belief by Muslims that men are not capable of seeing a female’s face . . . without having to rape her’ is an accurate statement of the belief behind burqas. Even if it is – does our discomfort/dislike/repulsion at that concept of human nature justify supressing its expression? I think not, if we’re proud to live in a free society.

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