Tuesday, October 24, 2006

When religious practices and societal customs collide.

Anne Applebaum compares the controversy over Islamic women wearing a full veil in London to her experience as a college kid in Bali. She says that she dressed according to Indonesian custom, in a full length sarong, when she visited Balinese temples. Applebaum argues that the same logic should apply to Islamic women in London: dress according to societal customs.

She's ignoring a major part of the issue. It would be a violation of their religious doctrine for Islamic women in London to dress like most Brits. Applebaum wearing a sarong while visiting temples wasn't a violation of any fundamental belief; it was just different from what she'd normally wear.

Wearing a full veil in western societies is troublesome for other -- more significant -- reasons, and the argument for un-veiling deserves a better representation than this.

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