I don’t think this one’s been posted yet:
The French legislature is apparently anticipated to outlaw the wearing of burquas in public. President Sarkozy has supported this idea and stated that “the burqa is not welcome in France.” A majority of the population (57%) support the ban as well.
The basis for this law, I gather, is that burqas are oppressive to women, and those who support it assume that all women who wear burqas are forced to do so by their husbands (this assumption is addressed at some point in the article).
I’m interested in everyone’s opinion on this issue. Personally, I think it’s an outright violation of the religious freedom supposedly guaranteed by the French government. Keep in mind that this is not even about wearing religious garments in public schools (I believe crucifixes and yamakas were banned in schools as well as headscarves); it is about wearing them at all.
I find two particularly problematic ideas in this legislation. First, it is a blatant example of a government attempting to enforce a state ideology (the opinion that burqas degrade women. And secondly, it may also be a foreboding example of the growing trend of states to reinterpret freedom of religion as freedom from religion; not intellectuals, actual legitimate states. It’s a small step from “protecting women from their burqas” to “protecting people from their crucifixes.”