Sunday, January 31, 2010

German Burqa Ban

The burqa ban seems to be spreading.  German lawmakers are debating whether they should follow the French model. Via the Times of India:

After a French parliamentary commission ruled earlier this week that the enveloping garment worn by some Islamic women is unacceptable and recommended a ban in schools and public offices, former Social Democratic parliamentarian, Turkish-German Lale Akgun urged for a similar ban in Germany.

"The burqa is a full-body prison that deeply threatens human rights," she told the Frankfurter Rundschau daily. "It would be an important signal for Germany to ban the burqa."
However, fellow party member Dieter Wiefelsptz rejected the suggestion.

"We have a different understanding of freedom than the French," he told the paper, adding that an enlightened Islam could not be forced.
Green party leader Cem Ozdemir said the debate overlooked the real conflict of integration, stressing that the number of women who wear burqas in Germany is low.
I've discussed objections to a legal ban in my NY Times op-ed on the subject. The arguments for a ban just don't add up. The importance given to such a marginal issue is indicative of the deep unrest in the public consciousness about Muslim immigrants, their conspicuous differentiation from the mainstream, and their overt rejection of Western values. A ban is not a cure for any of this.