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The burka ban in France versus Canada's PC acceptance
An article in the Wall Street Journal Europe (WSJE) by Nidra Poller discussed the French effort to ban Niqabs (the tip to toe covering for fundamentalist Muslim women) more commonly referred to as burkas.: “No Niqab Chez Nous.” Her timely piece was triggered by a French government commission considering laws banning niqabs that would hopefully strike a blow for women’s rights and against official dhimmitude.
As attested to by a Toronto Sun article, “Canada to reject Burka Ban,” our neighbor to the north evinces mind numbing PC acceptance. Meanwhile, Geert Wilders, Dutch leader of the PVV – Freedom Party, is being tried for alleged hate speech and racism charges in a political trial in Amsterdam. Wilders believes that burkas should be subject to a tax in The Netherlands.
Poller in the WSJE article notes the range of controversy over the Niqab ban proposal in France:
President Nicolas Sarkozy is asking Parliament for a "solemn declaration" that veiled women do not belong in France, followed by an outright legal ban.
Paris is now concerned with crafting a law that will stand up to eventual challenges from the Conseil Constitutionnel and the European Court of Human Rights.
Polls show that a majority of French people support the maximalist ban. French Muslim intellectuals, activists, and community leaders who represent the promise of an enlightened European Islam are asking for an unambiguous ban on the niqab. Poet and scholar Abdelwahab Meddeb calls the niqab the "ideological sign of radical Islam." Psychoanalyst Fethi Benslama exposes the "masochism" of the self-imposed veil, "unacceptable even in the name of individual freedom." Fadela Amara, undersecretary for Urban Affairs and former president of Ni Putes Ni Soumises [Neither Whores Nor Doormats] calls the niqab "the visible, physical expression of fundamentalists." This week NPNS activists dressed in burqas gathered in front of the National Assembly and major party headquarters, calling on lawmakers to protect them from this violation of women's rights.
The Socialist Party, in trying to define itself in opposition to Mr. Sarkozy without defending the garment, is tripping over the skirts of an extremist practice that is the antithesis of the feminism it supposedly defends. François Hollande, who is angling for the Socialists' presidential nomination in 2012, opposes facial veiling but claims a hasty law will provoke hostility and defiance. He wants more explanation, persuasion, and bipartisan consultation.
Socialist members of the parliamentary commission refused to so much as vote on the conclusions, in protest against the parallel debate on "national identity" launched by the Sarkozy government and construed as hostile to immigrants. In fact, the problem is not "immigration." France has always been a land of immigration. The problem is a certain category of French people—immigrants and native born—who do not accept the essential values that define the Republic and ensure the general welfare.
Facial veiling was the focal point of a much broader phenomenon—what could be called "creeping sharia"—that led Communist Deputy André Gerin to initiate the parliamentary investigation. As mayor of Venissieux, a troubled banlieue of Lyon, Mr. Gerin has witnessed a steady rise in Islamic assaults on social cohesion.
.As the debate raged in the French media this week, journalists and TV cameras sought out veiled apologists who declared in muffled voices from the depths of the niqab that no one had imposed it and no one could force them to take it off. "Of course we lift the veil to be identified," declared one purist, "they don't even have to ask. As long as it's a woman." "And if it's a man?" "Oh no, out of the question!" Another "sister" went to the heart of the matter: "If they pass a law I won't obey it. The law of Allah is above the law of men."
In sharp contrast to the cohort of veiled apologists, the France-Soir daily on Tuesday published the chilling testimony of a young woman who was nudged and pushed by her husband from hijab to jilbeb to niqab to total seclusion. The couple's devout Muslim families and neighbors looked on with approval as the young woman disappeared behind the veil, hiding her despair and the bruises inflicted by her violent spouse. One day she turned for help to Ni Putes Ni Soumises, threw off her veil, divorced, and began to live again. But she is terrified that "they" will find her and kill her.
The veiled saleswoman, in a shop near the radical Omar mosque on Paris's rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, says the debate has boosted sales of jilbeb, "as if the girls were buying it just to stoke controversy."
The woman in niqab is the figurehead of a subversive movement that threatens all democratic nations. A French ban that would clearly make full facial veiling unwelcome and out of bounds could be a hopeful sign for European citizens—in all their diversity.
In contrast to France, Canada is prepared to obsequiously accept the Burka. Here are comments from the Toronto Sun article about alleged rejection of the burka ban in Canada:
The Conservative government will not follow France's lead to consider banning the burka.
"In an open and democratic society like Canada, individuals are free to make their own decisions regarding their personal apparel and to adhere to their own customs or traditions of their faith and/or beliefs," said a spokesperson for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson. "We have no plans to introduce justice legislation in this matter."
The Muslim Canadian Congress is calling on the feds to impose limits on the wearing of the full veil, suggesting "political correctness" is preventing politicians from tackling the sensitive subject.
"It's a control thing, identifying with Muslim brotherhood," said senior VP Salma Siddiqui. "Basically it is a subservient tool."
Her group plans to lobby politicians from all parties in May.
Liberal MP Marlene Jennings said Canada's charter rights protect religious freedom, and the Supreme Court has consistently ruled not to impose any limits.
"Canadian women have the right, if they want, to wear a burka," she said. "As a woman, clearly it makes me a little uncomfortable. But then there are other practices that are perfectly legal and acceptable that make people uncomfortable."
Poller had this comment on the Canadian position opposing the burka ban for Muslim women:
So the government doesn't interfere with the rights of individuals to dress as they please. Unless of course they turn up in full Wehrmacht regalia, with German shepherds and what all. That would not be permitted because everyone knows the Shoah was a naughty thing to do. But women dressed in niqab are the frontrunners for a new improved shoah project, and suddenly the government wouldn't dare interfere. As you see, moderate Muslims in Canada take the same position as in France: they recognize the message behind the niqab, and they want to stop those Jihadis in their tracks.
This article, like all the others I read in international media, is based on frightful ignorance of the way this issue is being handled in France.
The parliamentary commission is not the government. Their recommendations for halfway measures were already rejected before their investigations began.