Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The last sane man in France

With the news that the French Assembly has overwhelmingly passed a law against the wearing of the veil I've been in a blistering, fuming rage. The law, which was introduced by a "delegation for the rights of women" criminalised women who choose to wear the "wrong" clothes.

If the senate passes the law it will be illegal to wear a full face-veil and you can be fined and forced to go to citizenship classes. It's also a crime (rightly) to force someone to wear a veil, including your children.

The fact that there is no distinction between criminalising someone who forces a woman to wear a veil and criminalising a woman who wants to wear a veil is a complete disgrace, but the worst of it is that this law had almost no opposition in Parliament.

Obviously the right voted for the measures but the left just gave these racist measures a free pass either voting for them or, more often, abstaining. Just one Parliamentarian voted against, just one. Daniel Garrigue.

Garrigue is a former UMP (Tory) member who resigned the whip in 2008 citing undemocratic processes in the party, some tax law I know nothing about and disagreeing with his party's support for Nato.

On his blog Garrigue explained that he’s happy for there to be laws against people forcing others to wear the veil and for a law to prohibit the veil on the grounds of security in particular places – but in general he sees it as a massive restriction of liberty, which it is.

He believes there is a climate of racism growing across Europe and this law will legitimise the National Front. The stunning thing is that he is the only one of the lot of them that accepted these blatantly obvious arguments.

This law will entrench the ever deepening racism in French society and embolden the Islamophobes across the continent, not to mention criminalising women for daring to wear what they like.


Jeff said...

I'm all over the place on this one to be honest.

While half of me shares your views (if not your "blistering, fuming rage") at the same time the other 50% of me is in favour of the French Assembly(but one).

My reason stems from why it is worn in the first place, the hiding of a woman's body out of view from anyone who is family seems remarkably out of step with French or British way of life.

Yes countries need to respect all religions and all walks of like, but a line has to be drawn somewhere for each country to ensure the majority view is still in force.

Is this it? Is this the line? I really don't know, I see both sides. More thinking (and blog reading) required I reckon!

weggis said...

It's all a question of "Habit".

jungle said...

Good article - agree 100%.

Jeff said: "the hiding of a woman's body out of view from anyone who is family seems remarkably out of step with French or British way of life."

That's true. But just because wearing a burqa is agreed by a majority to be morally wrong doesn't mean the law should step in and "ensure the majority view is in force".

The worst aspect, as pointed out in the article, is that the proposal is to fine the people that it (ostensibly) seeks to free from oppression. Has anyone in history ever solved any similar problem by fining the victims? Maybe we could try such an approach to domestic violence?

French politicians are running scared before an alliance between misguided authoritarians (who, not content with promoting their moral values, think they should be enforced on all by law) and bigots who just like the idea of Muslims being put in their place.