steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Belgian Burqas

A few months ago it was Switzerland banning minarets. Now the Belgians are trying to ban the burqa and the niqab - a measure with cross-party support, apparently (ETA: no pun intended). It's not because they're anti-muslim - oh no, it's actually a security measure! A pre-emptive attempt to stem the tide of burqa-related violence before it even begins! And in fact, as the Government points out, the ban applies to anyone wearing clothing that obscures the face in a public place. So we can expect motorcyclists, skiers, brides, clowns and wearers of pollution masks or full beards to be sharing the cells with the very small number of Belgian women - about 30 in the whole country, according to the BBC - who wear the burqa. Right?

Except that we won't, because that spiel about security is bullshit. This law really is all about Islamic dress codes, as even some its defenders admit. The hypocrisy over the true reason for the law is a little sick-making; but what about the argument that it's to protect women from oppressive Islamic customs? Is there in fact evidence that the 30 women in burqas are wearing them under duress? If not, I'd have thought that there might be better ways to fight the oppression of muslim women than by, er, oppressing muslim women.

Here's an idea. Why don't they call in the Saudi ambassador and demand that the Saudi regime give women basic human rights - backed with the threat of sanctions? Oh, but Saudi Arabia is very rich, and the thirty muslim women are rather poor. Better go back to threatening them, then.
Tags: current affairs, gender
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