Friday, October 14, 2005

not wanted

This story is making rounds in the Brass Crescent:

Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has proposed a ban on the wearing of Muslim burkas - full-length veils covering the face - in certain public places, to prevent people avoiding identification.

Alarm about Islamist terror has increased in the Netherlands since the Van Gogh murder.

A Dutch MP who campaigned with him against radical Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, defended Mrs Verdonk's plans in a BBC interview.

She told the World Today programme that CCTV cameras, used to help track down terrorists, must continue to reveal suspects' faces.

The CCTV operators "need to see their faces and if you cover your face you cannot be identified".

The jafi angle is certainly there; after all, the argument about CCTV cameras is so specious as to be laughable. However, as always with burka issues, this is more than a simple case of Islamophobia.

The murder of Theo van Gogh was a raw and tragic event that ripped off the Dutch veneer of tolerance (thin in most of Europe to begin with) and replaced it with fear. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been marked for death by the fanatics so it is no surprise to see her endorsement of any measure which in some way "strikes back" (even though this measure does not, actually, strike back). The Dutch are human beings like the rest of us. And their soecity is uniquely vulnerable for its very openness. Perhaps to preserve their culture, they need to limit their own tolerance.

However, what it comes down to is that the Dutch are about to force some women (not all, but some) to wear less clothing than their personal sense of modesty demands. And they impose this burden upon innocent women out of fear of male islamist fanatics. Truly, the terrorists have won.

UPDATE: This is becoming a textbook case of "radicalizing" :

Few Dutch Muslims wear a burqa, though the issue could prove explosive if Muslim radicals encourage their women to wear it in defiance of a ban.

"encourage" sounds pretty shameful to me. What is happenning is that the muslim women in the Netherlands have become pawns between a tiny minority of male muslim extremists and a tiny minority of hard-line Dutch politicians. Can't muslim women be allowed to wear - or not wear - what they want based on their personal sense of modesty? Both sides are oppressing the muslim women here. It's shameful.

1 comment:

  1. The dutch state has what seems to me to be a legitimate security concern here. There's nothing wrong with the burqua, but there's also nothing wrong with saying "you can't wear one and be in our country". I've long been of hte opinion that if the Saudis or other arab nations want to require Western women to veil, even though that is deeply emotionally upsetting to many women, and violates closely held beliefs about the appropriate treatment of women, they have a perfect right to. I don't see how the Dutch case is any different.