In 2009 Switzerland passed a ban on the construction of minarets, saving innocent Swiss folk from the oppression of beautiful, innocuous obelisks which had increased in number to 4 in recent centuries. Germany, France, Belgium and other nations have banned head-coverings associated with Muslims in certain places and professions such as teaching. Now the Daily News is reporting the vice president of the European Parliament is calling for a Europe-wide bad on the Burqa, a sort of Muslim snuggie that is closed in the back:
While praising the Belgian parliament for passing the measure to ban the burqa and the niqab, Koch-Mehrin expressed her wish for a similar law to also be applied in Germany and the rest of Europe. She defined the Islamic garment as a “mobile prison” that constitutes a massive infringement on women’s rights.
How quickly even the birthplace of the enlightenment succumbs to fear and xenophobia. In fairness I have to admit that if the US had a predominantly Islamic nation as close as western Europe does we'd probably have a 7,000 mile pigs blood moat around our perimeter. Texas would probably outlaw pita bread, if it hasn't. Some of the arguments aren't terrible- conspicuous religious displays aren't appropriate in neutral public places such as schools. At least France bans all ostentatious religious displays in schools, not just those of Islam. Some also argue that security can not be maintained when full body burqas are worn because people can not be identified or pass normal security checkpoints. These justifications might be persuasive if they were not usually pushed by fear-mongerers. I do not agree with any expansive public ban of burqas. It is not any government's job to regulate fashion no matter its motives. I do find such clothing to be oppressive and generally as good an idea as smoking for a society but it should be eliminated via cultural imperialism, humiliation, and good ol' peer pressure like god intended not from heavy handed federal laws. Until then I consider it a matter of freedom of personal expression. Europe, you should relax.. you've practically made withering of religions an art form and you never needed thuggish laws for that.