Islamic garb and public policy

I saw two stories today regarding conflicts between Islamic wardrobe and authorities.

First, France is going forward with banning the burqa. I’m sort of mixed on this because while there are obvious situations where a hidden face cannot be allowed to deter crime, it’s hard to conclusively argue that it’s harmful in most public settings. However, of course, the bigger issue is that the burqa itself is a form of slavery, which President Nicolas Sarkozy and others point out:

Mr. Sarkozy has said the head-to-toe garment is unwelcome on French soil. The leader of his party bloc in the National Assembly called it a “negation of life in society.” The spokesman for the Socialist opposition condemned it as “a prison for women,” a description only slightly less damning than that of his Communist colleague who termed it “ambulatory prison.”

They’re not wrong. Of course the other element to this whole controversy is that Islamic women have grown up their whole lives in a society that has brainwashed them into thinking the burqa is a good thing and not the prison that it is. So if you ask them, they’ll happily insist that they’re choosing to wear it with their own free will. But what is free will to the brainwashed? This is a delemma we see in cult members. As far as they’re concerned, they’re making free choices even when they’re really under a form of mind control.

The second story is a little closer to home. Muslims are protesting the latest full-body search security measure implimented at airports with regards to women in head scarves. In this case there’s a particular woman, Nadia Hassan, who was searched. This is also a very morally ambiguous case because if the woman was profiled based solely on her race and religious, that very questionable behavior. Then again, the whole full-body search seems extreme to begin with. However, we are talking about airport security, which is a legitimate concern.

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