Another Defence of the Burqa

I referred a short while back to a good post from Steve Zara on why the burqa should not be banned. Now, Norm draws my attention to an equally good post on the same subject from Kenan Malik. The heart of the matter:

If women are forced to do something against their will, the law already protects them in democratic countries. But what evidence exists, suggests that in Europe most burqa-clad women do not act from a sense of compulsion. According to the DCRI report in France, the majority of women wearing the burqa do so voluntarily, largely as an expression of identity and as an act of provocation. A second French report by the information authority, the SGDI, came to similar conclusions. Burqa wearers, it suggested, sought to ‘provoke society, or one’s family’, and saw it as a ‘badge of militancy’, and of ‘Salafist origins’. The burqa ban will only deepen the sense of alienation out which the desire for such provocation emerges.

The burqa is a symbol of the oppression of women, not its cause. If legislators really want to help Muslim women, they could begin not by banning the burqa, but by challenging the policies and processes that marginalize migrant communities: on the one hand, the racism, social discrimination and police harassment that all too often disfigure migrant lives, and, on the other, the multicultural policies that treat minorities as members of ethnic groups rather than as citizens. Both help sideline migrant communities, aid the standing of conservative ‘community leaders’ and make life more difficult for women and other disadvantaged groups within those communities.

Unfortunately, I suspect that with Wilders in the ascendancy here in the Netherlands, Malik’s common sense will be ignored.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
This entry was posted in Society. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Another Defence of the Burqa

  1. Pingback: Banning the Burqa | Geoff Coupe's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s