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Grounds for a burqa ban |
Tags: burqa, freedom of religion, rights of women
Before gracefully bowing out of the discussion, Professor Seifert made a point about burqa banning that deserves a separate post:
[M}any of those who want to force Moslem women to take off their veils do so out of an idolization of Western pseudo-civilization and forget the horrors of our own libertarian and degenerate society. Compared with the acts of “legalized” crime and oppression (that alone the abortions here and the increasing threat to the freedom of conscience constitute), I find wearing burqas (even if I wish women replace them by other decent robes) not only completely harmless but in no way intrinsically wrong, and certainly nothing that our states should hypocritically forbid (in contrast to some of the other practices you mention: forced marriages, honor killings as well as schariah laws such as to kill one’s own child if he or she become Christian etc.), where of course the state has to interfere against crimes and grave oppressions of religious freedom of this nature. [see entire post]
I agree with him that it would be wrong to ban burqas on secularist grounds, as France does—making public schools, for instance, “religion free zones.” I also deplore any idolization of Western civilization, (though I may not call it a pseudo-civilization.) But though I, too, regret the prevailing fashions of Western clothing, I do think the freedom that women have in the West is a genuine and great achievement, for all its attendant evils. And if burqas were to be banned in the West, they should be banned on grounds first of women’s freedom and equal dignity as persons and citizens, second of common social values, and thirdly on practical security concerns.
I don’t agree with him that burqas are “completely harmless” and “in no way intrinsically wrong,” since, as Teresa Manidis expressed so well in her comments on an earlier post, they go hand in hand with the subjugation and de-personalization of women. (It is the element of coercion that at least approaches intrinsic wrongness, I think.) It’s true that they do not remotely compare in grievousness with the moral crime of abortion. But surely we shouldn’t refrain from addressing injustices recognized by our society because it fails to recognize worse ones?
Finally, I suspect that as a matter of fact, unreal romanticism and multi-cultural relativism is a greater factor in our failure to stand up against the oppression of women in much of the Islamic world than an idolization of our own society. Aren’t we more prone to cultural self-hatred than triumphalism?
Jun 25, 9:34 am
Another burqa photo |
Tags: burqa, freedom of religion, pluralism
It didn’t seem quite right to add this to Josef Seifert’s post defending the “freedom” (I can’t help adding the scare quotes) to wear the burqa, but I post it for the sake of making clear the sort of thing I have in mind. No conciliating baby blue this time.
I’ve also just come across an article in today’s Daily Mail [a UK paper] on the subject: a British Muslim woman making the case for banning the burqa in public. I won’t link it directly (because of the racy gossip also featured), but here’s a key passage:
Many of my adult British Muslim friends cover their heads with a headscarf - and I have no problem with that.
The burkha is an entirely different matter. It is an imported Saudi Arabian tradition, and the growing number of women veiling their faces in Britain is a sign of creeping radicalisation, which is not just regressive, it is oppressive and downright dangerous.
The burkha is an extreme practice. It is never right for a woman to hide behind a veil and shut herself off from people in the community. But it is particularly wrong in Britain, where it is alien to the mainstream culture for someone to walk around wearing a mask.
The veil restricts women. It stops them achieving their full potential in all areas of their life, and it stops them communicating. It sends out a clear message: “I do not want to be part of your society.”
Every time the burkha is debated, Muslim fundamentalists bring out all these women who say: “It’s my choice to wear this.”
Perhaps so - but what pressures have been brought to bear on them? The reality, surely, is that a lot of women are not free to choose.
Girls as young as four are wearing the hijab to school: that is not a freely made choice. It stops them taking part in education and reaching their potential, and the idea that tiny children need to protect their modesty is abhorrent.
And behind the closed doors of some Muslim houses, countless-young women are told to wear the hijab and the veil. These are the girls who are hidden away, they are not allowed to go to university or choose who they marry. In many cases, they are kept down by the threat of violence.
The burkha is the ultimate visual symbol of female oppression. It is the weapon of radical Muslim men who want to see Sharia law on Britain’s streets, and would love women to be hidden, unseen and unheard. It is totally out of place in a civilised country.
Precisely because it is impossible to distinguish between the woman who is choosing to wear a burkha and the girl who has been forced to cover herself and live behind a veil, I believe it should be banned.
Jun 23, 7:24 pm
Defending the Freedom of wearing Veils and Burqas |
Tags: burqa, freedom, freedom of religion, islam
I think that not even the most literal interpretation of the Koran’s dressing codes for women, wearing burqas, ought to be outlawed in the West, let alone Muslim women covering of heads by normal veils (which are equally outlawed in many Western countries). It seems to me that any observance of a religious tradition that is not in any way in itself evil, or criminal, or offensive, ought to be permitted by the law and never be banished or outlawed, which does not exclude to persecute domestic crimes even if justified in the shariah.
Not only is there a sacred right to the freedom of religion and to the freedom of conscience to obey one’s positive religious mandates as long as they do not entail crimes or oppression bordering on crime (which wearing the nice burqa that underlines the mystery of the woman’s body, certainly does not). One may remind oneself that also Saint Paul demanded that women cover their heads in Church as sign of their submission to their husbands and of their respect for the angels. Should it be outlawed that women wear veils in our Churches (which is still being done in some places)?
The comparison with religious habits of nuns is not that far-fetched. There is a Catholic nun’s order of the “slaves of Christ” in Spain, and some other Eucharistic feminine orders, who wear almost the same veils that completely cover their faces. Should this be outlawed?
Moreover, in general the outlawing of any dresses that do not offend public morality is an assault against freedom, even if these dresses have nothing to do with religion.
Besides, to want to forbid pious Muslim or Hindu women (in the name of fighting oppression!) to wear veils or other dresses that correspond to their beliefs, while we do nothing to solve first our problems with women’s dresses, as an extremely witty Muslim Professor remarked when called to speak out in the veil-processes in England, seems doubly wrong.
There is another reason against this. It seems in general quite wrong to support any kind of pressure (as in Mexico for decades in regard to the Catholic priests and nuns and now increasingly in the West) that demands that nobody may wear in public places or private schools symbols of their religion.
Moreover, it is ludicrous, grotesque and utterly hypocritical that in Germany, France, England, or the USA, Muslim women should be forced to take off their veils against their conscience, while our women may wear the most offensive and unbelievably impure dresses in public, indulge in the most shocking public seduction, for example as naked prostitutes on TV commercials giving their phone numbers and “prices,” pose in offensive nakedness in Playboy and other magazines, without being outlawed!
Finally, a country that forbids burqas but “legalizes” the murder of one’s own children is in my opinion absolutely cynical and grotesque!
Jun 22, 11:54 pm
Should burquas be banned? |
Tags: burqa, freedom of religion, pluralism
Sarkozy says that burqas are not welcome in France.
I would like to know what personalist philosophers say to this. We favor the free expression of religion, while we oppose the oppression of women in Islam embodied in the burqa. What’s a pluralistic society to do?
Jun 22, 1:23 pm
Page 1 of 1 pages
It is no ordinary matter we are discussing, Glaucon, but the right conduct of life.
Socrates, The Republic
Email the Linde
Josef Seifert on the nature and importance of freedom:
1 Are we free? Are we persons?
2 Why nothing is left of Jewish Christian Faith if we are not free.
3 But are we free? Five questions.
4 What Is Freedom? Can We choose Radically Different Lives?
5 Inner Freedom and Cooperative Freedom
6 Are we really free? Can we know it?
7 The first three evidences for human freedom
8 Fourth, denying freedom is self-contradictory
9 Fifth, the evidence from everyone's experience
… to be continued
John Crosby on the philosophy of John Paul II:
1 Flying With Both Wings: Why Christians Need Philosophy
2 Worthy of Respect: The Personalist Norm
3 Interiority of Human Persons
4 Persons Are Unrepeatable
5 Human Freedom
6 Freedom and Truth
9 Embodiment and Morality
The Christopher West controversy:
• The Nightline interview that started it all
• Alice von Hildebrand's critique
• David Schindler's critique
• Fr. Angelo Geiger weighs in
• A word by West himself
• Janet Smith's defense
• Michael Waldstein's defense
• Schindler responds to Smith and Waldstein
• Janet Smith's second counter
• Fr. Angelo Geiger weighs in a 2nd time
• West's response to the controversy
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alice von hildebrand •
animal rights •
archbishop chaput •
ayn rand •
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caryll houselander •
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charles taylor •
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christopher caldwell •
christopher west •
closed posts •
conjugal love •
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conscience and super-ego •
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de lubac •
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gianna jessen •
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josef seifert •
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leon podles •
mao tse tung •
mark henrie •
mark twain •
marriage debt •
martin luther king •
mary eberstadt •
maureen dowd •
mid-life crisis •
mildred jefferson •
mother teresa •
movie recommendations •
newman's conversion •
objectification of women •
objectivity of truth •
open discussion •
patrick o'brian •
personal dignity •
personal well-being •
persons and power •
pet peeve •
phallic symbols •
population control •
rational animal •
• Frances Chesterton, kindred spirit
• Public morality and the common good
• Validating feelings
• Choice and borderline personality disorder (3)
• A personalist approach to Natural Family Planning
• Fr. John Courtney Murray
• Christmas meditation
• A feast of beauty brought to you by mind-blowing technology
• Advent souls
• Should we say “no” to facebook?
• Persons and responsibility
• The vision at the center of it all
• Benedict on condoms (30)
• Paternalism in the Hippocratic Oath (1)
• Mildred Jefferson, heroine for life (1)
• If the body is still there, so is the person
• Love and permanence
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• Are we all equal, i.e. equally worthless? (3)
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• 119th birthday of Edith Stein (2)
• 121st birthday of Dietrich von Hildebrand, beautiful man
• RE: Truth? Who cares?
• Freedom 9: An overwhelming argument for free will from everyone`s experience
• Freedom 8: The Argument from the Self-contradiction of denying freedom (4)
• Newman becomes Catholic (4)
• Truth? Who cares? (1)
• Personal bonds
• Sofia Tolstoy and feminism (3)
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• What’s wrong with this answer?
• Natural rights, witches and unicorns (17)
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• Education in cyberspace?
• Newman Beatified today
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• It is not good for man to be alone (7)
• Resisting the objectification women (3)
• Von Hildebrand conference in Rome
• Karol Wojtyla, great gift to the world
• Von Hildebrand conference in Rome
• The enemy within
• “The emperor’s new clothes” put to music! (5)
• Sheena Duncan, RIP
• Protecting children
• Legion of Christ taken to task (2)
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• Theological virtues don’t obviate the claims of natural justice
• Privacy for animals
• Megan McArdle on marriage
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• Husbands, love your wives (3)
• Splitting the moral atom
• Midlife care for the soul
• Personal responsibility or paternalism?
• Child brides
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• Power corrupts
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• Recommended reading
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• John Allen on Benedict’s handling of the issue (14)
• Weigel on the sex scandals in the Church (1)
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• What is conscience? (52)
• The nanny becomes a bully
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• the de-personalizing Legion of Christ (1)
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