Friday, August 6, 2010


France just passed a law banning the full-face "burqa."

There are 5 million Muslims in France, and though only about 2,000 wear the full-face Islamic veil, some of the French law-makers said the burqa is oppressive to women. Others said, "The burqa is antithetical to French culture." The assembly's majority leader said, "How can you establish a relationship with a person who hides a smile or a glance, refuses to exist in the eyes of others?"

The reasons why they passed the law seem picayune to me. But France now bans the burqa along with Turkey, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and four states in Germany; in Massachusetts when the burqa was banned in three colleges, students protested and the ban was lifted.

Many states have laws about wearing swimsuits when you're not on the beach. There are no laws restricting Victoria's Secret ads for thongs, cleavage, and eye-popping, sexy sleep-wear, and lots of girls wear micro-mini skirts, and other risque fashions.

And some of the countries banning the veils permit topless beaches, string bikinis, and their streets are crowded with women and girls wearing flashy, revealing, latest-style American clothes.

So, why are laws being passed about the burqa -- is it oppressing the women who wear them? Muslim women say they wear them to honor their husbands. And people who are bothered by not being able to see a veiled person's eyes -- is it because the veil and voluminous garments hide everything about the woman -- make her appear to be someone from the days when women were chattel?

I think women in burqas are frightening people because terrorists have disguised themselves, gained entry to crowded places, and committed suicide, killing hundreds of others.

Perhaps the countries that are banning the burqa are scared, the same as we are. And focusing on laws that can be passed on the basis of -- "Hey, people don't dress like that around here" makes the law-makers feel better about not being able to pass laws on the life and death issues -- nuclear weapons, and Jihad -- terrorists who are fighting a holy war, a life and death battle between Islam and Christianity.

It's getting more so, and making many of us wonder how can we live with these people.

I think banning the burqa is wrong -- it's creating antagonism, and hatred between them and us.

It would make more sense to have an international summit for the heads of various countries to talk about religious beliefs.

We need to speak with one another about what our different religious beliefs are, talk about why we worship and pray and do what we do, and why they worship and pray and do what they do.

I get frightened -- feel the hair standing up at the back of my neck -- when I read that Jihad is one of the 10 rules of Islam. What are the rules, and why is Jihad a rule -- we need to talk with Muslims about that.

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