Friday, November 17, 2006

Dutch Propose to Ban Burqas

This is potentially big.

Dutch Minister for Justice Rita Verdonk speaks during a media conference after a meeting of EU justice and interior ministers at the EU Council building in Luxembourg, in this Monday Oct. 25, 2004 file photo. The Dutch government, facing re-election next week, said Friday, Nov. 17, 2006, it plans to draw up legislation "as soon as possible" banning the head-to-toe garment known as burqas and other clothing that covers the entire face in public places. The announcement puts the Netherlands, once considered one of Europe's most welcoming nations for immigrants and asylum seekers, at the forefront of a general European hardening of attitudes toward Muslim minorities. "The Cabinet finds it undesirable that face-covering clothing - including the burqa - is worn in public places for reasons of public order, security and protection of citizens," Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said in a statement. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

I've written a great deal on this blog criticizing European notions of nationality and demonizing Islam within its borders. I am not in favor of banning scarves (hijabs) as the French have done in schools, but I do believe the governments have a right to ban burqas. Again but it has to be added to practical work towards integration--not pm fuzzy notions of "tolerance". But deeply examining whether in a globalized world, European society/culture can still be based on nationalistic-racial identity. Especially given the demographics of Europe. Otherwise burqa banning is going to come across as suppression. The ideal is to separate elements that desire integration--on their own conservative/moderate terms--and those who do not. Burqa represents a non-integrating position. But it has to be joined with a carrot to those who do want to stay and an assurance that they will be welcome. Not just sticks and the politics of fear.


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