In France and Belgium, they are banning "burgas" (the veils that Muslim women wear). Burgas are banned in Turkey, in their schools. Politicians are trying to get burgas banned in Italy. The Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria, also four states in Germany ban them. (I think they're banned because the veils make people uncomfortable.)
Women wearing them, or NOT wearing them, is becoming a very big deal. People wonder if Muslim women wear veils because their men want them to, or because they want us to respect them as Muslims.
More and more, young Muslim women argue that they have the right to be what they are, and affirm their faith.
The general public (everyone who isn't Muslim), is divided. Some people loathe the full body veil as dehumanizing and oppressive. (I find it scary.) Some people feel it's an abomination from the Middle Ages. Others feel a legal ban denies Muslim women their rights as women to wear whatever they want.
There are different types of burgas. The "burka" (often spelled burqa), covers the body with mesh over the eyes; a "niqab" covers the whole body with a slit for the eyes; the "chador" covers the head and body but the face is not covered; a "haijab" covers the hair and neck.
In America, wherever the veils are seen there's discomfort. There was controversy at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Education and its branches in Boston, Worcester and Manchester, New Hampshire. The administration's new rule that banned students from wearing veils created a furor.
The college, accused of discrimination by students claiming the rule was connected to the arrest of a Muslim student suspected of planning terror attacks, finally added a "religious" exemption.
The incident was actually a minor incident. Only 2 -- just 2 of the College's 4,000 students wear burgas, but it's the first significant flare-up in the United States since 2002, when a Florida woman sued the state for refusing to allow her to wear a veil in her driver's license photo. (She appealed and lost.)
Oh dear ... is this where we're heading? Will various states make rules about veils? If so, are we going to have rules about bikinis, excessive cleavage, skinny and skinnier thongs revealing "vajayjay" (the latest Hollywood style -- wearing genital sequins), gleaming beneath tight and tighter, short and shorter skirts?
The more I learn about burgas, the more concerned I am -- not for women's rights, not for college kids being restricted by unnecessary rules -- but by walls going up, fences being nailed into the ground.
Those restrictions that immigrants are facing in Arizona, the idea that we are now identifying people but how they look is ... whoa Nelly ... we can't let that happen in America ...
Lets not start warring with immigrants, or women in veils, when we're warring with serious enemies all over the world.
Repeal that damn Arizona law! Let women wear what they choose to wear, and don't make laws they'll want to break!
Hey, I've got an idea -- Arizona cops have NOT been told stop Islamic foreigners -- tell the Mexicans, the Latino immigrants to don burgas -- niqabs, even haijabs might do the trick!