Friday, November 17, 2006

The Netherlands is considering a ban on burqas.

Does this mean they're progressive because they're banning something oppressive, or would the ban itself oppress women by taking their right to wear what they want?

Would such a ban ever be considered in the US? (Assuming that women are wearing burqas in the US. I've never seen it here, but I did see several women wearing burqas and walking behind men in Turkey. It was unsettling -- not because it was a huge cultural difference, but because the woman looked so subservient. Is it subservient if the woman chooses to wear a burqa? That probably depends on her individual situation.)

"The burqa, a full body covering that also obscures the face, would be banned by law in the street, and in trains, schools, buses and the law courts. The cabinet said burqas disturb public order, citizens and safety."

I've never thought about it before, and it's probably not a practical consideration (yet), but there is a public safety issue involving people covering up their faces. During Halloween I saw several stores with signs banning Halloween masks inside the stores, and that makes sense. If the face is completely covered, there's no accountability because identity can't be verified. The stores were afraid of being robbed. I'm not aware of any cases of crimes being committed by women wearing burqas, but if it becomes a cultural norm to cover the face completely, it is a possibility.

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