France is "back in vogue," said Phyllis Chesler in Pajamas Media. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for a ban on the burqa, saying the traditional Muslim garment is a symbol of "enslavement" for women because it completely cloaks their bodies and faces. "Who could ever have predicted that the French president would stand up for women’s universal rights," while the American president looks the other way?
"That's not entirely fair," said Jill Lawrence in Politics Daily. Obama has not defended "the right of Muslim women in America to wear burqas; he was talking about hijab, modest head scarves and dress that does not involve covering the face. Still, it's great to hear a flat-out denunciation of a Dark Ages garment and the motivations of men who insist that it be worn."
"The matter is delicate," said The Economist. President Obama, in his recent speech in Cairo aimed at the Muslim world, said "it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit," and "dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear" falls into that category. "Some of France’s Muslim groups consider that such a move would further stigmatize Islam," so Nicolas Sarkozy is treading on dangerous ground.