The French Anti-Burqa Jihad

Shikha Dalmia in Forbes:

Burqa1 Over the centuries, Hindus have articulated a whole litany of gripes against Muslims but most involve–at least on the face of it–some material impact on Hindu interests. For example, special Haj lanes near airports to accommodate Muslims headed for Mecca are a source of endless irritation for Hindus stuck in traffic snarls. But what Hindus don't generally get worked up over–at least not strongly enough to create a credible political movement–are personal Muslim habits that don't in some direct way affect them. Indeed, last year a state college triggered a big brouhaha–especially among Indian feminists–when it refused to let a burqa-clad woman attend classes. Pramila Nesargi, a Hindu politician who champions women's causes, declared: “Not allowing a woman to come to college just because she is wearing a burqa is against her personal rights, fundamental rights and human rights.”

The contrast with the French spirit could not be starker. As a precursor to final legislation, French lawmakers recently voted for a non-binding resolution condemning the burqa because they see in it not an expression of personal piety–but a message of religious fundamentalism meant to insult French secularism. President Nicolas Sarkozy went so far as to say that the burqa is “not welcome” in France, calling it a symbol of female “subservience and debasement.” Likewise, Christopher Hitchens, the most prominent cheerleader of the burqa ban in America, is convinced that Muslim women don the veil not because they choose to–but because they risk acid in their face if they don't. Hence, in his view, France will actually do Muslim women a favor by banning it.

More here. [Thanks to Cyrus Hall.]