Behind the Burka

What do you think of this image?

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged parliament to move toward banning the wearing of burkas in France. This follows a 2004 French ban on the wearing of Islamic headscarves in state-funded schools. In his speech, Sarkozy said, “We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity.” He went on to say that ‘the burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience.’

Frankly, I’m not sure how I feel about this decision. I can’t imagine living my life behind a burka and no woman should be forced to do so. But I also think that many people deem Islamic dress oppressive or degrading without a true understanding of it.

Do any of the women who wear burkas really want to do so? Maybe. Maybe not. But I think that if a woman does desire to wear a burka, she should have that right, just as she should have the right and the freedom not to wear it.

What do you think?



  1. I think the instructions in the Koran for women to “cover their ornaments” has been taken to extremes and misinterpreted, but I think that to ban burkas for any reason other than security (it’s gotta be easy to hide a weapon or two under all that cloth, and how exactly would you identify someone whose face is covered?) is infringing on the rights of the women who choose to wear them as well. Freedom is a funny thing; the more “open” a society becomes, the more the open people in that society want everyone to think just like they do, but making laws to enforce those thoughts can limit the freedom of the more “close-minded” individuals. And ironically still, that limitation of freedom often ends up being for the greater good.

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