Banning Religious Clothing - 09-15-2010, 12:33 AM
Its been a growing movement in Europe to ban religious clothing. France banned the wearing of skullcaps, large crosses, and headscarves in public schools and several countries have instituted restrictions in government buildings. The focus though isn't usually that broad though, with laws specifically targetting headscarves, most often full headscarves (Hijabs) and burqas, as well as variations of them that cover the face and body. It has become widespread in Europe to ban this clothing, with many countries now debating or implementing not just school bans, but public bans as well, completely preventing the wearing of these clothes at all.
Supporters of these laws argue that women are being forced into wearing these clothes, so outlawing them entirely actually allows them to break free of the men and conventions of that are holding them back. Its also said that when women cover their faces, it makes them a security risk because they cannot be easily identified. The fact that they can't be identified leads to discrimination of those women who do wear headscarves and makes prosecution of crimes difficult because identity is harder to establish based on eye witnesses. Third, they argue that this will decrease discrimination because they can't be as easily targeted, reducing the alienation of Muslims and the friction that has been occuring between native populations and the Muslims population. Finally, supporters point to the Quran and say it doesn't even require full heading coverings, saying that it doesn't infringe upon religious freedom at all.
Opponents argue though that outlawing burqas and full head scarves not only limits freedom of expression and freedom of religion, but is an outright discriminatory move meant to specifically target Muslim populations. Its just another move by European countries to drive out Muslims, just like the limiting of Mosques and the overt violence and targeting of them by the law already. Its also said that the headscarves are actually liberating for these women, who would be left in their homes without them in an effort to keep themselves from non-family male eyes, allowing them to not only be in public, but to work and participate in society as a whole. Opponents say bans only encourage the anti-Muslim attitude of these countries, adding more fuel to the flames while simultaneously alienating all Muslims through this overt discrimination. Its also pointed out that the people targeted by these laws are only a small proportion of Muslims and that the clothing is not only religious, but cultural as well. Its argued that these bans will encourage more lawlessness as women defy them, choosing to face fines rather than expose themselves in public.
So, I pose to you all these questions, take this as far as you want though:
Is it alright to ban religious items in schools and government buildings?
Should religious clothing be banned altogether in public settings?
Are burqas and hijabs specifically a security risk? Do you believe they limit or free these women?
For those who don't know what this clothing is:
Hijab - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Burqa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Edit: and yes, this is a debate. Shock. Lets seeing some good debating, so be polite to each other and use legitimate arguments. Don't be afraid to disagree with the majority.
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