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France's burqa ban: World reactions
A ban on wearing Muslim facial veils in public sails through the French Senate. Is this an attack against discrimination, or against diversity?
 
Women wearing burqas in France will be fined if a new law is approved by the constitutional court.
Women wearing burqas in France will be fined if a new law is approved by the constitutional court.
Corbis

The French Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill barring Muslim women from wearing traditional, full-facial veils anywhere in public. Here are some reactions from around the world: (Watch a report about the burqa ban)

This is a victory for Muslim women — Le Monde (France)
Banning the veil is the right thing to do, say the editors. There's a consensus across most of the political spectrum in France that forcing women to cover up amounts to "sexual apartheid." Belgium has already passed a similar ban, and the new law in France only affects about 2,000 women — there's just no good argument against it.
"The Senate must pass the bill banning the full veil"

Surely the courts won't stand for thisAl Arabiya (Dubai)
France's policies these days — including the drive to expel Roma Gypsies — are difficult to defend against charges of racism, say the editors of the Dubai's Al Arabiya News Channel. The ban on face veils has the "rare distinction" of having been "condemned in advance by both the United States and al Qaeda." Faced with that kind of a consensus, it will be hard for French courts to deny this law is "discriminatory" and let it take effect.
"France parliament adopts ban on full-face veil"

Religious tolerance has it's limits Jerusalem Post (Israel)
Sarkozy argues that "the burka is an attack on the dignity of women," says the editorial board of the Jerusalem Post. "We agree." The practice of "blotting a woman out from head to toe" is not only "misogynistic," it "undermines social cohesion" — and presents a legitimate security threat (who knows who — or what — is being hidden?). Just as religious freedom isn't a valid pretext for walking around naked in public, neither should it protect this "brutal" practice.
"Rejecting the burqa"

Banning the veil isn't about freeing women The Guardian (United Kingdom)
The "pious rhetoric" about how this will liberate Muslim women is malarkey, says Joan Wallach Scott. And banning Islamic face coverings won't stop terrorists from covering up while they blow up buildings — they can still don motorcycle and fencing helmets, ski masks, and carnival costumes, which are exempt. This is really part of a campaign to "purify and protect national identity" by purging "so-called foreign elements," including anything related to Islam.
"France's ban on the Islamic veil has little to do with female emancipation"

Misguided, but of limited local interestJakarta Globe/Indonesia Ulema Council (Indonesia)
We disagree with the French government's action, says Indonesia's top body of Muslim clerics. If the goal is to "champion human rights," it would be much better served by allowing women to wear what they choose. That said, burqas are "not much of an issue" for the 200 million Muslims in Indonesia. "We’re quite far away and Muslim women [here] don’t wear full-face veils."
"Ulema Council opposes French ban"

 

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