The views expressed in any article published in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Joseph Foster or Bob Lupoli.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Veil Ban, Burqa Battle and Free Speech

 Joe: it seems France is standing up for itself. But I’m afraid I can’t support such a ban but it sounds as if it is something many French people abhor. Also the ban effectively supports the ban against only some 2,000 women according to the article below. In the US it would be a battle of free speech. The burqa, against people who yell or shout at them or wave signs in their face. In other words in a battle of free speech, more free speech wins, over time. I do like the idea of citizenship classes for the fined people, can you imagine their outrage? Just as it is morally wrong to wear the KKK garb at a black church it is wrong to wear the burqa in my view. However, it is a free speech issue the US cannot ban the clothing worn during the day in the city. But at the airport at the DMV it is an identity issue or security issue. I think France has taken the right step for its country but this is a law that is unenforceable in the US even though I personally find it degrading to women. –Bob

Woman, 28, stopped by police in shopping centre car park north-west of Paris on day ban came into force
Share41  Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
Police have fined a woman in a shopping centre car park outside Paris for wearing a niqab, or full-face Islamic veil, in the first enforcement of France's burqa ban.

The 28-year-old woman was stopped by police in the car park in Les Mureaux, north-west of Paris, at 5.30pm on Monday, the day the niqab ban came into force. Police said she was stopped "without incident" for a few minutes and given a €150 (£132) fine. She has one month to pay.

Under the law backed by Nicolas Sarkozy, it is illegal for women in full-face veils to go anywhere in public, including walk down the street, enter shops, use public transport, attend doctors' surgeries or town halls. They face a fine or a citizenship class.

Four women who took part in a protest over a ban on wearing veils in public refused to leave, police say. They were later released.
By Kim Willsher, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Paris— France imposed a ban on wearing veils in public Monday, and within hours police detained two women who had covered their faces at an impromptu demonstration outside Notre Dame Cathedral.

Police said the women were not taken into custody for wearing veils but because the protest was unauthorized and they had refused to leave when asked. Two people who were not covering their faces also were detained. The new law, which prohibits the wearing of a veil that covers the full face in public places such as parks, cinemas and schools, is the first of its kind to be enforced in Europe.

The measure makes no specific mention of Islam, but President Nicolas Sarkozy's government promoted the law as a means of "protecting" women from being forced to wear full-face veils.

Those who defy the ban face a $216 fine and attendance at a "citizenship course." A person who forces a woman to cover up through "abuse of authority or power" can be fined up to $43,000 — double if the covered female is a minor — and jailed for as long as a year.

Civil disobedience urged; veiled women risk a fine and a police record
PARIS — France put into motion Monday the world's first ban on Islamic face veils, meaning that women may bare their breasts in Cannes but not cover their faces on the Champs-Elysees.
..Two veiled women were hauled off from a Paris protest just hours after the ban came into effect. Their unauthorized demonstration, on the cobblestone square facing Notre Dame Cathedral, was rich with both the symbolism of France's modern spirit of defiance and its medieval history.

While some see encroaching Islamophobia in the new ban, President Nicolas Sarkozy's government defended it as a rampart protecting France's identity against inequality and extremism. Police grumbled that it will be hard to enforce.

"The law is very clear. Hiding your face in public places is cause for imposing sanctions," Interior Minister Claude Gueant said Monday at an EU meeting in Luxembourg. He said it defends "two fundamental principles: the principle of secularism and the principle of equality between man and woman."

Law affects about 2,000
The law affects barely 2,000 women who cloak themselves in the niqab, which has just a slit for the eyes, and the burqa, which has a mesh screen over the eyes, and it enjoyed widespread public support when it was passed last year. But it has worried French allies, prompted protests abroad and has come to epitomize France's struggle to integrate Muslim immigrants in recent generations.

This is a traditionally Catholic country where church and state were formally separated more than a century ago, when Muslims were barely a presence.

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