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Burqa bans conceal some far more difficult problems
Is European legislation against the Islamic face covering merely a way of sidestepping some far more complex – and perhaps unsolvable – issues?
April 26, 2010 7:31 by kippreport
European legislation banning Islamic women’s head coverings are resulting in heated political debate, making headlines across Europe and the Middle East in what is often deeply divided coverage.
The French and Belgian governments have announced plans to ban the niqab, or full-face Islamic veil, from many public spaces. Some corners of the western media present this debate as one of women’s rights; ironically, the European legislation itself violates the rights of the women who choose to wear the face-covering veil in public.
Indeed, many have questioned the legality of such bans, which could well be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that they violate freedom of religion.
But what is the actual threat posed by the burqa?
Certainly, the threat must be severe. Severe enough for western governments to put aside some rather more pressing concerns – such as national security, the economic crisis, nuclear threats, unemployment, global warming, poverty and starvation – in order to endlessly pursue this issue.
On the surface, we are told that the burqa bans are about protecting national identity, security, secularism and women’s rights.
But is that all there is to it? Have the burqa bans come about merely because – at least in the eyes of the French and Belgians, and notwithstanding a ruling by the European courts – it is possible to legislate against such things? Is it, perhaps, merely a way of sidestepping some far more complex – and perhaps unsolvable – problems?