So I see the French are at it again.
As of today Muslim women are banned from wearing the burqa in public in France.
Break this law and you will get a 150 Euro fine.
Force someone else to wear one and you get a 30.000 Euro fine and a year in jail, this part at least might be a good thing as it might stop the instances that one does hear about where a man mistreats a woman and no-one sees.
But this is France and this law has nothing to do with womens rights.
Since wearing the burqa has religious symbolism to most of those that choose to do so surely banning it is in fact a form of discrimination.
France has already banned the wearing of headscarves in schools since 2004.
How would French Catholics feel if they were told they could no longer wear a crucifix or carry rosary beads ? I’m sure they would say that it’s not the same thing but to those who wear a burqa it means as much.
Many Moslem women oppose the wearing of the burqa but equally many choose to cover themselves.
But that should be their choice based upon what they know about their own culture and not for the white French government to decide.
Or to use as a political issue in the run up to their presidential elections next year.
The official line is that concealing your face undermines France's common values, and is inconsistent with the Republic's principles of liberty, equality and human dignity.
So what about the freedom to practise your chosen religion and be treated equally and fairly regardless of faith ?
Where’s the dignity in being forced to expose any part of your body that you prefer to keep covered ? It’s just another example of the racism that is all too prevalent in French society.
And a rather underhand way of minimising the numbers of Moslem people wanting to emigrate there.
Why anyone would want to live there is beyond me anyway.
There are arguments for this latest piece of bigotry - the same old reasons that get bandied about all the time around public safety. That militants can hide bombs under their clothing and that it makes it impossible to identify people on security cameras.
So are they going to ban people from carrying rucksacks ? I was under the impression that they were the suicide bombers preferred method for transportation.
Surely if anything that makes it difficult to identify a person is unacceptable then they should also ban the sale of wigs, make-up and long dresses, bar men from growing facial hair and maybe wearing peaked caps ?
What about nuns ?
There was a case in the UK where a teacher was fired for refusing to remove her veil when men were present. I can understand the reasons behind this and the requirement to have a visible face for certain types of employment. But it’s acceptable for employers to have dress codes so one would assume that anyone who felt it important to keep covered at all times would not opt to work in a place where the code didn’t allow it.
Just as we can choose to not go to clubs that say no jeans or trainers.
I can see that when it comes to checking passports or legal situations it might be necessary to uncover but there are way that this could be done whilst respecting the dignity of those involved. It’s not that different to my having the right to see a female doctor or if I needed to be searched having that carried out by another woman.
But when it comes to our leisure time surely it’s a matter of personal choice and freedoms ?
If it’s ok to walk about wearing next to nothing why is it not also ok to keep yourself covered ?
For Moslem women keeping covered is also about morals and modesty, things which might not mean much to the French, but without their garments these women would feel naked in public.
Perhaps the French politicians who have brought in this law should be made to walk around with their bollocks hanging out for a day.
See how that makes them feel.