On air: Are the French right about the burqa?

You’re still talking about Nicolas Sarkozy’s call to ban the burqa from France. And yesterday Al Qaeda issued this statement,
“We will not tolerate such provocations and injustices, and we will take our revenge from France.”

Sarkozy set up a commission of 32 lawmakers to look into ways of restricting its use in France. Since his comments last week a number of people have come out in support of his view, including this blogger from India and this columnist in Kenya.

Is he right? And should the burqa be welcome in your country? Is the burqa really about personal choice?  And should France reconsider its postion in light of Al Qaeda’s threat?

332 Responses to “On air: Are the French right about the burqa?”

  1. 1 steve
    June 22, 2009 at 17:38

    I’d rather see burqas than low rider jeans with lower back tattoo exposed or underwear exposed. If these women aren’t been forced to dress the way they are, what’s the problem with it?

    Face it people, once the ozone layer goes away, we’ll all be dressed that way unless you want skin cancer.

    • 2 Aboy calledhate
      June 26, 2009 at 06:42

      That’s funny I like your comment. I think the burqa is kind of scary looking but you’re right, no more scary then some fat chick in low riders with a tramp stamp and whale tail showing. LOL

    • 4 Rob
      July 1, 2009 at 20:20

      Sure, ban the burqa. While at it, why not ban yarmulkes, crucifixes, habits, or anything else you find offensive in another religion? No, wait – ban all religions except your own, just like Edwardian England!

    • 5 Scott [M]
      July 1, 2009 at 21:04

      I find it odd and telling, that the same commenter said last week: that anyone involved in the fashion industry was automatically superficial. Yet, this this week, the same commenter is giving fashion advice, and apparently making aesthetic judgments about fashion.

  2. 6 Venessa
    June 22, 2009 at 17:55


    I may not agree with the religion or its practices but everyone should be able to maintain their religious rights. If the religion requires the women to wear a burqa then it is her right to choose to follow the practice. What next, we tell people they can’t wear their yamika’s? If you’re going to oulaw religious clothing then everyone should be barred equally.

    • 7 Jessica in NYC
      June 23, 2009 at 15:38

      The Christian cross is a religious symbol, too. Why not ban it in places government offices?

      • 8 Delphic Oracle of Oz
        June 23, 2009 at 23:40

        The burqa is a far more repressive statement than a cross but to be fair, just ban the lot in all secular countries. Australia has enough problems with imported belief sysems than christianity and to see women enclosed in such archaic costumes is far worse than a cross around someone’s neck – or could that be called an albatross.

      • 9 muna
        June 28, 2009 at 21:03

        I wear a burhka the women in my family wear a burkha and it is out of our own choice.
        this is not about religion this is about personel choice. the goveremnt isn’t going to stop women from wearing as little clothes as possible so why should it tell women how much coverage they can have. you dont see the goverment telling the men how to dress so where are they coming off telling the women how they can dress. this is sexist as far i see it if they thing wearing a burkha is about controlling the women but so is this. if the are saying that some men are forcing women to wear it then here are some more men agaian telling the women who actaully want to wear it that they cant. they are the ones taking away freedom of choice.

      • 10 Ben
        July 2, 2009 at 02:08

        FYI in France all religious signs are banned form government offices and schools.

      • July 2, 2009 at 09:05

        If my religion dictated a way of life, including clothing, that was not acceptable in an open society like the West, I would go and live in a country where my religion was predominant. That way I would flow with the stream of the whole society and practise my religion in peace. One cannot of have the best of both worlds. One must choose.

    • 12 stan
      July 1, 2009 at 14:21

      Yea you may be right about this but look at it this way; do the women wear this out of their own free will ? or are they being forced to do so by their religion. To me its all about choice. If they are free to do so fine if not then there is a problem. I must however say that the image of these women covered from head to toe is a very strong one in a non muslim state and so even if they choose out of their free will to dress like that they must consider the impact it will have on others.

      STAN. Douala Cameroon

      • 13 Jessica
        July 1, 2009 at 17:42

        Does a person have to consider the impact wearing a Christian cross will have on others? What about Hasidic Jewish men and the way they wear their sideburns? Or Sikhs, Amish or any other religion with a recognizable dress? Do they have to consider how it will impact others?

    • July 2, 2009 at 06:07

      In France all outward signs of religion are banned from public life, not just Moslem associated clothing. Wearing a cross ‘ostentatiously’ is also forbidden. The headscarf is the most visible and is impossible to conceal, that’s why it has attracted so much attention. Turkey, where nearly all the population is Moslem, also has the same law. France and Turkey both consider it a necessary restriction on a ‘secular’ nation.

      • 15 kuwaitmirage
        July 6, 2009 at 22:05

        Sorry Jillrees but that is just NOT true.
        ANYONE can wear a cross WHEREVER they like in france and Nuns are permitted to walk where THEY like wearing their religious garb.

        In Turkey the hijab was banned from parliament, not all public places- it was also done to enable Turkey’s easy entry to the EU……ie to ”appease the non muslims of Europe” and for financial gain……

  3. June 22, 2009 at 17:56

    In this case President Sarkozy is absolutely right. When Muslim women live in a foreign country they should follow and respect the customs of the country they live in. Otherwise there could be social friction. At home they could follow their own customs but should be willing to change when they are outside. It is all a question of respecting the customs of the host country!

    • 17 Dennis Junior
      June 22, 2009 at 18:31

      Thanks, Pancha!

      I am in complete support of President Sarkozy way of thinking regarding,
      the issue of the Burqa is no longer welcome….

      ~Dennis Junior~

    • June 22, 2009 at 18:50

      @ Pancha Chandra — assimilate or sod off? And here I thought America was oppressive in that sense!

      Social friction isn’t enough of a reason to deny women their religious rights, even if the rights in question aren’t palatable to the president. Sarkozy needs some education, preferably from Muslim women themselves.

    • 19 F Anjum
      June 22, 2009 at 22:47

      Your name suggests to me that you are from East India. So when your wife/mom/sister come to the west, should they be banned from wearing a “Saree” or even for that matter the muslim-influenced so called Indian dress “Salwar-Kameez”? So what do you think is the traditional dresss of the French or British for that matter…. I’m not sure but I ask you because you said “the women who live in foreign countries should “follow and respect the customs of the country they live in”.

      If people have the right to wear less, why stop others who want to cover more or all of their body.

      • 20 Bedoon Esam
        June 23, 2009 at 13:47

        Anjum, if Pancham Chandra makes a specific comment dont try to guess his nationality purely because his views are opposed to yours. He is exposing his personal view in this forum and you reply to his personal view, dont make it an issue linked to his country.

      • 21 sanjeev......India
        June 24, 2009 at 19:15

        Whatever you have tried to say to Pancha is illogical.

        You need not point out from where a person belongs to. If you want to make case for burqa by comparing it with saree or salwar kameej, you should hit directly on the point. This clearly shows your bias towards your own faith system. Instead support logically.

        There is no comparison between BURQA and SAREE. In saree one’s face is visible wheras the intention behind burqa is to hide the face. Hiding face causes problems for the person who is having conversation with the veil covered woman. Further burqa has got security concerns also in this period of increasing terrorism.

        No one is stopping you from covering your entire body but they only want you to reveal your face. Face is the identity of a person.

      • 22 Jessica
        July 1, 2009 at 17:44

        Well, said.

      • July 2, 2009 at 09:27

        F Anjum, you do not seem to understand the difference between burqa that covers up one’s face and the rest of the clothing. Clearly Sarkozy is not asking anyone to wear only western type dresses or any particular type of clothing. There is no doubt, he is opposed to people going about in the public with faces hidden behind covers, wahtever their motives. It makes no difference where anyone comes from. It is good to be able to grasp the issues and address them.

    • 24 william
      June 23, 2009 at 03:44

      What about the host country’s respect of freedom to dress in whatever fashion one pleases? You must have seen some of the offerings on French runways – some of which run the gamut from surreal to ridiculous.

      Or what of the host country’s respect for freedom of religion?

      When most democracies founding theme is freedom it would seem to me that freedom to wear – or not wear – a burqa is included. I would be more concerned with women in such religions being made aware that in democratic societies they need not tolerate abuse or subjugation. And – at least in the United States – our own traditional religions have a history of figures who do exactly that to their followers. It’s all about informing people of their options.

      You wanna wear a burqa? You’re free to do. You don’t wanna wear a burqa? Don’t wear it. That option is what differentiates democracies from places like Saudi Arabia.

    • June 23, 2009 at 15:33

      you shouldn’t prejudge or even pass your comment until you have some informations about religion all you do is pass your negative comment but you without understand the core of the issue i wont tell sarkozy was right becouse since he became a president we saw many changes like if the other president they weren’t doing their work right moreover the president’s mum she is jew so i think that man got big problem to deal with muslims issues as we know at the mine there’s a war between jewish and muslims in palastin so where’s the freedoom of let ppl where what they want or they outlaw a woman hide her skin if they said they want to walk nude i am sure the president will welcome the idea so think again do you want the stranger who lives in my country (morocco ) to tell them stop eating in ramadan and dress like us it’s not out business it’s their way we understand your way so why don’t you understand our way ???!!!!

    • June 23, 2009 at 16:06

      well your people who lives in muslim’s country should stop exposed their underwear and walk on street drunk ………they will protest and start talking about their right to wear what they want same goes to you . where’s the freedoom ? maybe it’s just a word but your people did not understand the meaning yet !!!!!!

    • 27 rachel
      July 1, 2009 at 05:00

      Pancha Chandra- what is a “foreign country”.
      Anyone can be muslim.
      ANd what if they now live in France and are the hosts themselves ?

      If you ban the burkha what will happen to the lady wearing it?
      She’ll be looked at like an object by men, who will check her out and give here marks out of ten.
      She’ll have to be seen, when her god says to cover up, that’s religious repression.
      He is being as pig headed as the taliban who enforced it.

    • July 1, 2009 at 14:54

      I disagree. There is no custom of wearing burkas in France because that is not part of the french culture. Why should I be denied my practice/culture/belief just because the French have not been exposed to it or adopted it. Eating buttered snails is part of the french cuisine, liked by many I hear, so should i be forced to eat them too?

    • 29 Ramesh, India
      July 1, 2009 at 16:22

      Oops. Somewhere below I questioned the french motivation. If the french have any reservations about Burqa, why did they allow so many muslim nationals to become french nationals in the first place? They didn’t have any objection at that time. Why now?

    • 30 faith
      July 24, 2009 at 22:43

      I wonder whether the British did followed and restected the customs of India during the Colonial era.

  4. 31 Ann
    June 22, 2009 at 18:10

    What’s next? Banning Scottish men wearing kilts??

  5. 33 VictorK
    June 22, 2009 at 18:12

    @Pancha: yes!

    I’m surprised at how little comment there is on how the burqua, like other styles of traditional Muslim dress, acts as a barrier to effective integration. Islamic ‘radicals’ understand this very well, which is why they dress as they do and insist that their women do the same.

    Every country in the world is entitled to take a collective view on what is and isn’t consistent with its way of life, and to support the one and discourage or even ban the other. In the West we have developed a view about the equality of the sexes and the integrity and freedom of women. The wearing of the burqua runs counter to those beliefs. It should be forbidden in public and I’d certainly welcome that here in the UK.

    There is no right to isolate, enslave or degrade.

    • 34 rachel
      July 1, 2009 at 05:03

      Women should have the freedom to wear what they want Victor.
      If you ban their preferred dress, that’s repression. ANd the sexes aren’t really equal. Men look at women’s bodies, bottom line, that is the truth, and they judge according to that.
      The burkha IMO is the most freedom giving garment anyone can wear. PS you should ban habits for nuns too in this case, and yamakas for Jewish guys, and dark suits for men at funerals.

      • 35 Ben
        July 2, 2009 at 02:17

        Rachel, you seem to have a very low opinion of men… Do you wear a burka yourself?

      • July 2, 2009 at 09:48

        Rachel, I am sure women also look at men’s torsos and salivate. There is a clear advantaqge for these women if they are wearing burqas. They can salivate and lust under cover.

    • July 1, 2009 at 14:59

      Though I dont agree with what you said, you highlight a good point. France is all about integration and making all things French. They dont really want any other identity to prevail other than a French identity. If I come to your country why do I have to strip away my identity to adopt yours only. If they truly want to make everyone french, they need to treat them equally and perhaps ‘being’ French would be viewed as a good thing.

    • 38 faith
      July 24, 2009 at 23:10

      When your forefathers came to me they enforced their culture, customs and way of life on me instead of folloeing my own. Guys I think we all need history lessons to answer all our question.

  6. 39 stephen/ portland, Oregon
    June 22, 2009 at 18:33

    It depends how HOT they are.

  7. 41 steve
    June 22, 2009 at 18:36

    @ VictorK

    How could you justify someone overdressing, but not ban someone underdressing? Is it part of western values for women to dress like street walkers? How about let people dress how they want, we do it with women who don’t like wearing much clothes.

    • June 22, 2009 at 19:00

      Has anyone who posted ever worn burqa? I am an American raised in a Catholic family and was never exposed to Islamic culture before landing a job as wardrobe stylist for the upcoming movie “The Taqwacores”, a movie about Muslim punks based off of a novel by Micheal Muhammad Knight. One of the characters, Rabeya, is a feminist who wears a burqa full of punk rock patches in protest of the social standards set by her religion. While assembling the movie’s wardrobe, I tired to wear burqa for one hour and felt like I was in a prison. The niqab (netting in front of the eyes) blocked any peripheral vision, while the veil over my mouth prohibited even the simplest of conversations. The mild 75 degree weather in Cleveland, Ohio became unbearable, and I felt like a small child dressed as a ghost for Halloween. Nowhere in the koran does it state that women must wear either hijab (the scarf covering thier hair), or burqa, but rather that they have “modest dress”. I believe that burqa dehumanizes Muslim women, and it is often a forced matter of dress. While the surface of the law may seem to be degrading to Muslim culture, I also think the manner of dress is degrading to women, and would welcome the same law in the United States.

      • June 23, 2009 at 15:50

        hey you are telling us about a movie you watched don’t you know all movies are not basic from reality then u jumped the conclusion by wearing is that your faith noo so of course you wouldn’t like it so why do try our woman clothes for sure you did more lol but to start tell us about the disadvantages of wearing the burqa i will tell you one thing that’s not how our women felt do me a favor and next time wear a bikini becouse you would look so good who knows you might find your self welcome on the street so i wont tell you what will happen to you next oh i forgot we all got tv in house vcd dvd so not just you so stop watching movie if not you live with the muslims also watch the news come live in a muslim country see how your women dress we never interfered in the way they dress of course we welcome by everything it doesn’t mean we will let our woman to do like them so your ppl outlaw our women wear burqa it doesn’t mean we will do the same there’s something we call it freedoom do u ever heard about it lol so please don’t ever try woman clothes they wear it becouse of the religion so don’t forget try the bikini next time lol i will give you a wink as i know you will like it

      • July 1, 2009 at 14:49

        Hi, Faith. I am a Western convert to Shia Islam. Shia Islamic jurisprudence does not require women to cover their faces. I discovered my preference for how I dress through pure coincidence when a friend and I experimented with different clothing styles. She discovered ways of 0incorporating Western and Arabic clothing to come up with a style of her own. I started purchasing several pieces of black clothing, including large hijabs called khimars and a face veil. When someone donated a large Irgi-style abaya to me, I took to it like a fish to water. I had always thought that I would hate this “repressive” and “obstructive” coverage, but after I tried it, I found that I truly felt at home in it.

        But, speaking of home, I don’t dress like that at home. I live in a small rural community, so I pull out colours, set aside the large abaya, and leave my face open. I can’t have it my way all the time.

        I have a terrible habit of losing things, though, even clothing, so at the moment I only own regular abayas or jilbabs (cloaks) and hijabs (headscarves). However, **before** I lost my large Iraqi-style abaya and my face veil, I wore them out in public when I would be in large cities, in international communities, or at the mosque.

        Thank you for asking. 🙂

      • July 1, 2009 at 15:00

        Was anyone on this 32 people commision a burka wearer? Hmmm

      • 46 kuwaitmirage
        July 6, 2009 at 22:13

        FAITH- please quote the correct wording from Koran- in Arabic if possible, anything in English you should say ‘is a translation’.
        The Koranic translation of the passage would be to ”draw your garments around you”
        This can be interpreted in any way- over your head, in front of your face or around your shoulders.

        You say ”I also think the manner of dress is degrading to women, and would welcome the same law in the United States.”

        Don’t you think G-string bikinis and cut away bra tops are also degrading and should be banned? I do- especially if I see teenagers wearing them on public beaches for ageing men to gawk at.
        I find it even more degrading to watch the 100s of American men in my adopted country smooching with small filipina women, while their liberated American wives languish at home in the freedom that the USA grants them…….now, who’s degraded in that situation? And who is doing the degrading?

    • 47 Dora
      July 1, 2009 at 15:11

      I find the underlying misoginism in a few of these post to be worrying. I don’t understand the arguement that men leer at women therefore they have to cover themselves completely to stop this ergo any woman that does not is inviting this attention…
      as usual the onus is on the woman and the men are without blame, if women are wearing the burqa to deflect harrassment then I think this needs to be seriously discussed.

  8. 48 Tiana
    June 22, 2009 at 18:46

    I find this very disturbing. Women should have the right to wear the burqa if they choose if it represents thier religious and cultural views. This is very invasive of Predisent Sarkosy, and honestly I don’t think it is any of his business, these women shoud be allowed to decide for themselves. If they are being forced to wear the burqa against their will, that is the issue that should be addressed, but if a woman wants to cover herself that should be her decision. No man, be he her husband or the president of the nation in which she resides, should dictate what she does or does not wear.

  9. 51 Lew
    June 22, 2009 at 18:54

    This one has me on the fence. On one side of the argument I want people to be free to practice their religion, even though I view religion as nonsence. Then on the other side I don’t believe that women should be subjugated in any way and there should be some effort to assimilate. How do you compromise these two views. In the end I believe that religious rights would be upheld in my country. Maybe the answer is you can still wear long dress and veils. As for France if they want to ban religious freedom their leaders will be held accountable in election.

    • 52 Nigel
      June 22, 2009 at 23:00

      What about the women who want to wear it as a sign of their belief and committment and don’t feel at all subjugated by wearing Hijab or Burka?

  10. June 22, 2009 at 19:03

    I am deeply disappointed by the blatant ethnocentric notion that anyone has the right to determine what aspect of other people’s culture is acceptable or crude. I thought liberty to live ones life as he or she chooses is what the west believes to be a dignified way of living. Has Nicolas Sarkozy asked how many Muslim women will consider a ban on the burqa as a message of hate and a denial of their right to exercise full liberty? It is a shame that Sarkozy’s reason for banning the burqa is his perception of what it is to the women who wore it regardless of what it truly means to them.

  11. 54 anu_D
    June 22, 2009 at 19:03

    I like Sarkozi……he doesn’t dilute his ( or his nations) opinion on matters in Obama like cloaks of wordsmithy or extreme poltical correctness.

    Also it is noticeable….he said Burqa is not welcome and not banned.

    • 55 RightPaddock
      June 24, 2009 at 01:42

      But he’s said that he supports the bill that seeks to ban the buqua that’s currently before the French Parliament. There’s little doubt that he’ll sign it if its passed.

      The French President in his own right does not have the power to ban or mandate the wearing of anything by anyone, however the Parliament can pass a such a bill and the President can sign it to make it law.

    • July 1, 2009 at 15:03

      Wow, isnt there like 99 % unemployment in France and this is his hot topic?

  12. June 22, 2009 at 19:04

    I’d rather not live in a society whereby women walk around in burqas, but a ban is entirely the wrong way to tackle the issue.

    It just brushes over the real problem – why people feel the need to wear one in the first place. This is what needs to be solved, and banning works against us trying.


  13. 58 Tom K in Mpls
    June 22, 2009 at 19:05

    Here we go! Lets treat the symptom and not the problem. This way, those in power can look like there are being productive while maintaining the scenario that gives them power. Also by getting government involved in religion, you help promote personal freedom, ya right. 😐

  14. 59 stgermain
    June 22, 2009 at 19:20

    The shame of it is that these are tribal and NOT
    religious rules. The Q’uran speaks of a woman
    covering in terms of being modest in her dress
    with a semi-specific reference to her chest area.
    This has been morphed into the head covering
    and thus the burqa as a method of men controlling

    The sad thing is that so many Muslims actually
    have NOT full read and understood the content
    of the Q’uran and like so many other religious
    people, listen instead to others whom they make
    the mistake of trusting to honestly and accurately
    interpret for them. Bottom line globally is to read
    and learn and decide for oneself.

    • 60 Fakebba
      July 2, 2009 at 01:10

      I beleive you are the one who doesn’t fully understand the meaning of the Quran.
      The Quran prohibit every part of feminine body except for the face and the hands.
      One has to TAFSIR the Quran in other for one to understand the meanings.

      Beside Nicola Sarkozy is a Kafir he does not even understand his own religious book let alone The Quran and Islam. I don’t know why we even waste our time to talk about his ignorance.

  15. 61 Joseph
    June 22, 2009 at 19:25

    If a woman wishes to wear a burqa in France then why not?, if a woman wishes to wear low riding jeans and a crop top in Saudi Arabia then why not?.

    It should be the womans choice what they wish to wear, and not dictated to them by the state (secular of religious).

    Equality is the missing part of the original post, woman should never be subjected to laws that men are excepted from, I personally find the burqa a throwback to the stone age, yet if a woman willingly wishes to wear one then so be it.

  16. 62 VictorK
    June 22, 2009 at 19:25

    @Steve: I have no problem with laws supporting public decency being used for those who under-dress. There is also the informal pressure of public opinion.

    But crucial point for me is that this all has a context: a particular society, with its own practices and values, which is entitled to legislate on matters of public concern according to what comports with its cultural traditions. I have no problem with the Saudis imposing dress codes on the women of their country. and I see no reason why anybody else should have a problem with a country like France taking the line it does. Likewise, I think religious freedom has to be subordianted to cultural integrity. Religious practices that are alien and offensive to an established way of life have no rights to assert themselves, or even to exist. I respect that principle in those parts of the Muslim world that suppress non-Muslims, and I claim the same right to suppress when it comes to my society.

    I’m not a libertarian.

    June 22, 2009 at 20:02

    The French president is fronting his ignorance and a religious fanatism. He is no better than a lot of Muslims who equally think that clothing is the real religious and not the spiritituality of the wearer. A lot of my countrymen working in the Middle East have not been banned to wear their outfit.

    But where is irony in all this? Most Muslim clothing is designed for hot climate and the sticking out feature is plenty of ventilation in order to keep the body cool. This is not religion but a good science. I see a lot of my countrymen Muslims who wear those wide robes in our relativly cold climate appart from the coastal area. They look out of place but I think this is their own business though it is naive at times. What is the dress code for French women and can the good president describe it to Muslim women in his own country? Mr. Sarkozy has forgotten that President Ahmadinejad is proud in his western suits and this does not meke him a lesser Muslim.

    In my country we do not have dress code for civilians and in some parts people are happy to be half naked. Muslim boys are not allowed to go to school with robes but women are allowed. Muslim men do not work in public offices with robes but women are given an open option. Can you imagine Mrs clinton wearing those clothes when she visits Muslim countries? This is nothing but a storm in a tea cup.

  18. 64 Alan in Arizona
    June 22, 2009 at 20:15

    It’s not part of my religion to judge another religion, but if my God ask me to wear something like that for males or females. Id’ wonder why he didn’t just put fur on all of us. Such suffering doesn’t make sense religiously, personally, politically. I could never ask my wife ( my equal ) to wear something like that. If Islamic men aren’t mature enough to handle a woman’s face without the thought of rape, then remove the source of the over active hormones.

  19. June 22, 2009 at 20:49

    Although I am agaist all kinds of vail, but I would say that Sarkozy is totally wrong and he should not make a mistake like this, because he is going tn geopardice the confidence that Omaba has built with the Muslim world. It is pitty that we should always go to square one! Mr. Sarkozy knows well that it is bad to single out one religion whatever it could be, because nobody is going to believe you anymore, so he should bear the responsibility!
    Alassan Jallow, a Gambian resident in Msaken, Tunisia.

  20. June 22, 2009 at 21:11

    “You’re being oppressed by your religion by it forcing you to wear this thing. Now, I’m going to oppress your religious beliefs and make you take it off!”

    In Iran, there had been forced unveilings, as well as forced veilings. It’s ridiculous to force someone to veil, and it’s ridiculous to force someone to unveil.

    As far as this “assimilation” argument goes, if someone wearing a burqa prevents you from talking to them and befriending them, then the problem is you, not the clothing. Assimilation does not detail that we must all look the same. If that were the case, there is no difference between forcing women to unveil and forcing women to all wear low-rider jeans or skirts with leggings.

    I have a feeling that those saying that “if you live in another country, you must follow its rules” have never been outside of their respective countries.

  21. 68 Roberto
    June 22, 2009 at 21:46

    RE “” – the full-body garment worn by some Muslim women – is not welcome in France.””

    ———— The Burka will never be welcome in the developed world as long as Muslims are associated with suicide bombings and terrorism.

    I don’t care what the criticism is of western women’s attire or transgressions of western politics, there is nothing to match the evil nature of Islamic terrorism which has no bounds of outrage and atrocities it will not transgress.

    Further, these ladies give an appearance as one might imagine the wives and girlfriends of Storm Troopers of Star Wars fame. No amount of public relations gimmickry will ever overcome the revulsion and pity most feel when seeing burka clad ladies which is regrettable for all involved.

  22. 69 Deryck/Trinidad
    June 22, 2009 at 22:08

    President Sarkozy was right. I think if Muslims go to a western country they should at least abide by the laws of that country. Freedom to worship but not freedom to hide.

    Another huge factor is terrorism. Looking at the picture on the blog of the two people above I can’t tell who they are i.e. male or female. I don’t think people should be allowed to walk around toatally covered and invisible to the public.

    Most importantly I noticed that in Britain the Muslims are seeking limited application of Sharia law in ‘their’ communities. This is a dangerous precedent and it can eventually lead to a situation similar to that present in the Swat valley in Pakistan.

    Isn’t it ironic that muslims will use democracy and the freedoms enshrined to seek freedom to dress as they want.

    Can a Westerner go to Iran or Saudi Arabia and demand the freedom to live as they please?

  23. 70 santosh
    June 22, 2009 at 22:12

    I Think comments like this very delicate, President Sarkozy is politician and the issue of wearing burqa is totally religious which has been followed by muslims women since islam was found .However rights for women in islamic country’s are very harsh France being a country which has freedom for women has every right to implement its own law’s.

  24. 71 Anthony
    June 22, 2009 at 22:36

    I think it stems more from the facts that Islam and those who are Muslim, are supposed to take over the world (according to the Quran). Him stating that this more “hardcore” type of dress isn’t welcome, is stating that he doesn’t want “hardcore” Muslims in France (In my opinion), which seems pretty valid to me.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  25. 72 Abram
    June 22, 2009 at 22:53

    Sarkozy is right! What I don’t understand is, that many Moslems in the West say, that they left their homelands because there are repressions and lack of freedom, almost in all aspects of life — including what/how to dress. So, why do they want to have back those symbols of repression – like Burqa in the West? What do they want to reach with that?

  26. 73 Nigel
    June 22, 2009 at 22:58

    When past Presidents exhibited Gallic Arrogance it was directed outwards and supposedly in the benefit of ALL France. Sarkozy’s arrogance is directed inwardly and can only serve to split France along racial and religious lines. A government can be secular and people not secular within a free democracy…….known to most as freedom or religion and belief. To ban the Burka because France is secular is to mis-represent the meaning of a secular state to imply that some people are not free to believe want they want. and even less free to display their committment to their beliefs.

  27. 74 Thomas Murray
    June 22, 2009 at 23:18

    In the Midwest, many corner convenience stores and and some banks already post signs asking people to remove their hoods and hats after entering the store, since these are used to conceal one’s face during an armed robbery.

    Frankly, I find burka’s demeaning and just a little bit scary…and, in America, potentially dangerous.

    It’s only a matter of time before some nervous store clerk shoots some burka-clad woman because he thinks she’s going to rob him.

    Be careful what you wear out there — Louisville, Kentucky, US.

    • 75 Soumim
      July 1, 2009 at 20:43

      I am a midwestonian in USA.
      Personally, I am not comfortable to be around anyone whose face I cannot see.
      Don’t I have the right to freely walk without having to wonder who is actually hiding underneth?
      The face is everyone’s identity. I cannot believe even for once that any religion can preach covering that up.
      I heard over the radio that a British born person wears the Burkha by choice, because she feels that she is near her god or something like that.
      All I have to say is that no matter what you wear and what religion you belong to, being an honest, integral person is akin to godliness far more than a ridiculous outfit.
      If a woman wearing a Burkha is speeding and is stopped by a cop, and she refuses to raise a veil in the name of religion, where will the law stand for that?
      So many other arguments can be made…
      Wearing a cross or Turban is however entirely different as the face is visible, so that argument is invalid. It is what is practical and respectful to others
      I don’t know what the French President’s motive was, but if his intension was the safety and security of his Nation, then I support him 100%, specially after 9/11.

  28. 76 Julie
    June 23, 2009 at 01:54

    I definitely hate the whole idea of a Burqa; however, no government has the right to ban them. It is a religious practice that, physically, does not hurt anyone. I do not know much about French politics, but such a law would never even make it through the House of Representatives in America. On principle alone, it is wrong. I understand that for people raised outside of the Muslim faith, the Burqa seems like a horrible thing to do to women. The Muslims see it differently though. The only thing you can really do is accept it.

    The Burqa does not have any offensive language or inappropriate pictures on it. They do not even come in distracting colors. Obviously, they are not too revealing, and it is not like they support Hitler or something. On what grounds can you ban them? Sure, they promote the “idea’ of servitude for certain people, but that is just it. CERTAIN people find it degrading. The Muslims in France who wear Burqas either think adversely or do not have a choice but to wear them.

    It is a religious tradition, like crosses and Christmas. Would Christians stop celebrating Christmas if the non-Christians thought it offensive. No, if you do celebrate it, then you can’t just stop. It is a part of being Christian. It is what we do. If the tradition hurt other people in anyway, like sacrificial murdering or something like that, then you can interfere. Burqas should not involve anybody but the women wearing them. They do not wear them for the purpose of disturbing other people.

    I disagree with the French President.

  29. 77 Fikru Hailu
    June 23, 2009 at 02:10

    I am totaly with Mr. Sarkhozy. It is time for the civilized world to say enough is enough. All religoius rules should be respected. However, some rules which demonize the human race specially women and children have no place in the twenty first century. We have seen enough and learned a lot about burka and it is time now to stop the nonesense.

  30. 78 MarcusAureliusII
    June 23, 2009 at 04:13

    I think the inmates at GITMO should have been forced to wear Burqas even though they are men and were in cages. It would have taught them a lesson.

  31. June 23, 2009 at 04:14

    i think the french president is right

  32. 80 Euphorbia
    June 23, 2009 at 04:30

    For once Mr Sarkosy is right!

    It is degrading to cover up women because of a bible which thanks to The Modern Scientific Theory of Evolution can be proved 100% to be a work of fiction! No Adam & Eve, no sin and no need for redemption so game over!

    Same for all the Theist religions. If you want to believe in fairy tales so be it but do not force half the world’s population to pretend they are not there so that you can get to your heaven.

    Given the chance no woman would cover up like that! Women only do it because they are indoctrinated from birth to accept second class citizenship. I know I was in my faith school. Little boys came first and still do in my church.

    The Taliban is perhaps the worst. All male dominated religions show little respect for women what ever they say to the contrary. Women have had to put up with it for 2000 years.

    Good on France and its secular education. Given a couple of generations and this problem will go away and about time!

    The price of a woman’s freedom is eternal vigilance! If we keep quiet we will have to cover up!

  33. 81 Maxine
    June 23, 2009 at 05:01

    As a woman I find that women wearing a Burgua, offensive to me. This is because it has been explained to me by Muslim’s that when I walk in public without my hair covered, or showing my arms and legs in western style clothing, I am considered a whore by Muslim people. When I visit Muslim countries I am careful to wear a long dress with long sleeves, and have a scarf in my pocket in case I am in hostile company. I am NOT happy to have women dressed in Burqua’s in my country (Australia), they should show the same respect regarding dress as I do when I visit their country.

  34. June 23, 2009 at 06:55

    I find it hard to believe that any woman would “want” to wear a burqa. I can’t imagine that a person who is living inside there would want to participate in Western life, rather she is trying to bring her world here.

  35. 83 Vishaka
    June 23, 2009 at 09:12

    It is not right to ban someone from practising their religion, in this case something as integral to a religion as the Burqa.

    But what I really want to know is how the Muslim women actually feel about this? Its all good for us to say this and that, we arent the ones being asked to wear or not wear the burqa (whatever the case maybe). Do you think the burqa is a barrier to social integration and interaction? And if not, how would this ban affect you?

  36. 84 Andy
    June 23, 2009 at 09:19

    Sarkozy should realise that in a free country people should be able to wear what they want including the burqa. That said no-one should be forced to wear it either.
    I think a more sensible approach would be to deny SPECIAL treatment for certain religious groups regarding employment dress code which seems to be happening in some countries. Yes I am reffering to groups that would rather wear a turban than a helmet in a job where the latter is a crucial piece of equipment.

    Allow th burqa but end the PC madness.

  37. 85 A Hassan
    June 23, 2009 at 09:21

    My question to Mr Sarkozy is: What if a woman chooses to wear a burqa?

    Isn’t that also depriving her of her rights?

    What people need to understand is that it is a small minority of Muslim women who choose to wear the burqa.

    I am a Muslim myself and even though I prefer Muslim women to wear a something decent to cover themselves, I still have to respect their choice of covering.

    I’m not for burqas but at the same time I’m not against it. Its how some people choose to live their lives. Some choose to be half naked some choose to be full covered.

  38. 86 Jim Newman
    June 23, 2009 at 09:33

    Hello again
    Le ‘petit Magyar’ spouts about anything and everything.
    Personally I even have difficulty relating to people wearing sun glasses especially when there is no sun.
    Recently, on the news, two girls wearing burqas were interviewed. They both said that they wore burqas to protect their privacy. When one of the girls was asked whether her mother agreed with it, she said no. When asked the same question about her father she said that her father agrees with whatever her mother agrees with.
    As I believe that the freedom of one ends where the freedom of another begins. Meaning that if your freedom becomes imposition for others then it is no longer freedom. I find it very difficult to see how one can decide whether the burqa is voluntarily worn or is a means of enslaving women. Let alone making a law against it.
    I think, in most cases in Western society, the burqa is worn voluntarily, simply because of the mixing of different cultures and the free exchange of information, giving the wearer plenty of choice.
    One ‘religious rite’ I am categorically against is the incision of young girls and I don’t care were it is carried out but that is another question.

    • 87 A Hassan
      June 23, 2009 at 12:36

      You’re quite right Jim Newman.

      I would say that Muslim women wear what they wear out of their choice. You will see Muslim women dressed very differently depending where you – for example in Europe or US.

      However, what Mr Sarkozy is saying does not reflect reality in his country. Maybe in Afghanistan women are forced to wear the burqas but France is not like Afghanistan.

      I think this issues goes further than burqas and has been in the making for some yeasr. I fear that Muslims will be subjected to more discrimination in the future because of the negative stereotypes that have been building up since 2001.

      Maybe in 40 years time, people will reflect back and understand their mistakes just like the cases of racism black people have suffered in America before whites realised that black people are no different to them.

    • 88 Dora
      July 1, 2009 at 15:28

      I agree with that, I personally don’t like it but then I personally don’t like Page 3 girls in the English national press either, however I would not ban it.
      I would do as much as I could to ensure that the choices being made were informed choices.
      As for the religious freedom agruement I agree that it doesn’t stand, FGM being the prime example.
      Women having access to full education and empowered to make their own informed choices is the only answer.

  39. 89 Ibrahim in UK
    June 23, 2009 at 09:53

    It is odd that after all these years of feminism and women’s rights, that females are still being dictated and lectured on what is good to wear and what is bad to wear.
    What is more inconsistent with Western values: the Burqa, or denying a woman the right to choose what she wears?
    Judging from some of the comments here, it is not the Burqa that people object to, it is Islam, and the visible presence of Islam in their societies.
    That is another question altogether.

  40. 90 anu_D
    June 23, 2009 at 10:17

    Burqa is not a part of Islamic religion……not recommended anywhere in Quran that I know of.

    It is the 5th or 6th hand interpretation of the religious of “deemed scholars”…….unarguably to their social convenience.

    What convenience does it serve ???…keeps the woman status to that of a domestically enslaved object in these societies.

    How did the practise of Burqa start??

    In medevial times driven by Tribal mindset tribes / groups/ villages would attack each other and the prizes of loot would be women, cattle, land and hence and all these potential loot items were kept covered and protected.

    There is however no rationale to continue with this arcane practise anymore in this day and age

    • 91 Veronica
      June 23, 2009 at 16:02

      I totally agree with you. there is nowhere written that women have to wear burqa and when some of you are saying that this is not an obligation but this is generally the decision of the woman, I don’t agree.
      generally they have no choice and if they do it, this is mostly due to the fact that since they were young they had a father who was very religious and told them about it and then they had the same when they got married. I have been living in afganistan and as well in Dubai and I can assure you that most of them have no choice. they will do so not to have trouble with their husband and brother.
      in Poland for example, a lot of young people are going every sunday to the church and if you ask them why, they will answer that this is like this in Poland, their parents told them to do it and so they got use to it…

    • 92 RightPaddock
      June 24, 2009 at 02:10

      @anu_D asks “How did the practise of Burqa start?”

      The original reason for covering the face pre-dates Islam, It’s a function of the climate, people who live in locations that have sandstorms usually cover their faces on such occasions . Some who do so (men & women) are Arabs, Berbers and Touregs.

  41. 93 Lawrence
    June 23, 2009 at 10:51

    What kind of democracy are you running Sarkozy? Do as I say, not as I do? Irregardess, you’ve exercised your law and used it to outlaw a form of dress, when in Rome, or is that Paris – n’ec’ pas?

    June 23, 2009 at 10:55


    Lets look at the flip side of this debate too though this entirely my view which I do not know whether others agree with. I am of opinion from observaton that women in general are more often the agressive sex and given opportunity they can stretch the limits when it comes to clothing.
    The Muslim women are no exception to this because, in my view, someone going to another culture is embrassing diversity and should not dramatize on outfit if she wants to be appreciated or assimilated into that society. They need to find out how other cultures view them and appreciate the spirit of give and take. How come in Iran not every woman dresses in Muslim dresses given what we saw of the rioters and yet they insist that they cannot wear different? Is this not hypocricy too? I think Muslims should leave room for appreciation of how others view them.

    • 95 Jim Newman
      July 1, 2009 at 14:03

      Hello again
      And hello Arthur. Your headline struck me when I first read it and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I’ve come to the conclusion, indeed, there are some people who intentionally aggress other people by their appearance and their manner of dressing. Other people can feel aggressed by people’s appearance when no aggression is intended and I think that is the majority case.
      Your closing sentence I agree with and that is that Muslims should approach their hosts and show that no aggression is meant, and that goes for any stranger in any country.

    June 23, 2009 at 11:02


    Religion should not be dramatized and In fact one can wear like other people and equally observe both religion and decorum in every aspect. Dressing for political reasons is out of place because there are those who wear such outfits but are not Muslims at all. A case in point is the prostutes in our coastal towns who wear hijab to deceive the visitor while infact they are commercial sex workers. They often want to be seen as genuine Muslims and not as pervats. In my view, should form the basis for scrutiny and I am sure Muslims are not blind to this fact too.

  44. 97 VictorK
    June 23, 2009 at 11:17

    Ibrahim in UK June 23, 2009 at 09:53 wrote, “Judging from some of the comments here, it is not the Burqa that people object to, it is Islam, and the visible presence of Islam in their societies. That is another question altogether.”

    You’re almost right. Some of us do object – not to Islam per se, but to Islam in the West. I’ve no problem with what Muslims do in Muslim societies and try not to comment directly on what they get up to, however ‘interesting’. But how Islam operates in the UK and other Western societies is an issue. The burqua is just a small part of that wider issue. Westerners are entitled to speak on, regulate and ban practices that are not compatible with their way of life. Similarly with Muslims in their countries.

    Why do Muslims always expect rights and freedoms from others that they would never dream of granting to non-Muslims?

  45. 98 Fashionista's
    June 23, 2009 at 11:23

    What’s fench for ‘Pax Romana’?

  46. 99 Fashionista's
    June 23, 2009 at 11:34

    f[r]ench .. sorry.

  47. June 23, 2009 at 12:53

    Offcourse Mr Sarkozi should gives freedom of consigns to his Muslims ladies because religion is religion no matter whatever negative consequences its post on humanity as long people kept believing it,since “ONE MAN COOK IS ANOTHER MAN POISONOUS” Burga is good for Islamic religion,culture and it believe.If it post security threats on French people then president Sarkozi should uses other means.

  48. 101 patti in cape coral
    June 23, 2009 at 13:51

    This is a tricky issue. Women should wear what they want to wear, but there is no way to determine whether the woman is wearing a burqa of her own free will or if she is being forced to wear it, as she wouldn’t be likely to admit that her husband makes her wear one. Also, a good point, I never even considered the fact that a woman might be put in danger because she might be suspected of robbing a place, or being a terrorist. I also seem to remember a while back reading an article about how some women were being hit by cars trying to cross the street because they could not see well in their burqas. Perhaps a compromise could be made where a woman would be required to take off a burqa before going into a store, etc.

  49. 102 Ibrahim in UK
    June 23, 2009 at 13:57


    Muslims and non-Muslims should expect the same rights and freedoms that every other citizen is entitled to in that country.
    I remember pseudo debates about Halal slaughter and how it was cruelty to animals and whether it should become banned. Nowhere in the debate did it feature that other non-muslim minorities have been using the same practice for decades and it is accepted.
    Another bruhahaha was raised about “sharia courts” being allowed in Britain, and how unacceptable that concept is. Again, nowhere was it mentioned that other non-muslim minorities already had their own courts functioning for decades too.
    The impression this gives is that it’s not the practices that society is at odds with, indeed they have accepted them from others, but it is only when muslims are doing these practices that they become objectionable. Once this mindframe is established, even “legitimate” complaints appear to be just another discriminatory attack hiding behind the veil (pardon the pun) of secularism and Western values.
    I think what is needed is more open debates with the right questions being asked so everyone understands what is being objected to.

    • 103 Soumim
      July 1, 2009 at 20:52

      Again, nowhere was it mentioned that other non-muslim minorities already had their own courts functioning for decades too.


  50. 104 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    June 23, 2009 at 14:19

    I think it’s just an example of hate mongering to ban the burqa. Women’s equality is about her right to choose. There are plenty of women who choose a traditional or religious role in their life and that is their right. Banning the burqa is immoral for anyone who believes in women’s rights.

    • 105 Tom K in Mpls
      June 23, 2009 at 16:35

      Finish it Kelly, ‘even if it is misused for oppression at times’. No solution is perfect and sometimes you need to choose the lesser of two evils.

  51. 106 ali
    June 23, 2009 at 14:34

    Whatever happened to human rights? If a woman wants to wear a Burqa, why shouldn’t she? Agreed that subservience and undermining of dignity is a bad thing, but it is not true to say that all women who wear the Burqa are being forced into subservience and undermining of their dignity. What really makes women subservient and undermines their dignity is the fashion industry (dominated by men) that encourages women to dress in a way that reveals what should be kept concealed

  52. 107 Grahame Shadbolt
    June 23, 2009 at 14:48

    Of course Sarkozy is right. The Burqa is an affront to all the rest of us that believe that community is about an open society and sharing common values. The burqa is plain evidence of a closed and repressed culture. A badge of slavery. The vast majority of the women wearing them do so because their men have told them to do so. No doubt many of them fear to express the freedoms that their men insit on for themselves.

    As for religious beliefs they belong in the home and behind closed doors. There are a great many of us that do not belive in father Christmas, pixies and burning bushes.

    It is not just about the burqa, we should be equally suspicious about any persons who say they want to share in our culture and our benefits, and then reject our culture, and walk around all day hiding under any sort of cloak.

    If these pepole wish to continue living in the unchanged manner of 2000 years ago let them go somewhere else – give them a ticket to Afganistan! And no I do not believe that the ideology of islam is a good thing, it is patently bad!

  53. 109 Jessica in NYC
    June 23, 2009 at 15:40

    Hi Ros and WHYS team, I know Iran is a hot topic and it should be the topic of discussion. I hope you come back to this story later in the week or near future.

  54. 110 VictorK
    June 23, 2009 at 16:19

    @Ibrahim: you make some good points.

    Re animal cruelty, yes, kosher slaughter ought to be just as objectionable as halal. I’d ban both. But yes, halal seems to get more attention. That’s unfair.

    You’re right again re the fact that Jewish religious law is already where some Muslims would like to be with ‘qualified’ Sharia. There may be an element of hypocrisy in people who object to Sharia not objecting as loudly to this, but I think there’s a bigger element of ignorance: most people are unaware of the acceptance of the (qualified) application of Jewish customary law here in the UK.

    But isn’t the basic explanation for the different ways in which UK Jews & Muslims are viewed this: amongst one group you can find an attitude of permanent hostility, even outright hatred, towards a country that they regard as not theirs until it is conquered for their religion; while the other group minds its own business, does not produce mass murderers intent on slaughtering ‘infidels’, and actually makes positive contributions to Britain’s cultural & intellectual life?

  55. 111 Grahame Shadbolt
    June 23, 2009 at 16:27

    Its interesting that the cloak some people hide behind is a pseudonym, as used in these messages. The reason people do this is not that they have good reason to be anonymous, but they fear those who do, the bullies in our societies.
    It is bullies that make women wear the burqa. It is amazing how many submissions talk about letting women wear what they choose to wear – when the great majority of these women have no choice. Though they are free in our democracy they are victims to their culture once they are in their households. Probably none of them would wear any of that totally impractical form of dress if they felt free to make that choice. It is nonsense to refer to western sexist fashion as being imposed, these women make that choice because it gets them what THEY want.

  56. June 23, 2009 at 17:02

    Salaam… I am a young practicing Muslim woman and I have been wearing Al Hijab or the headscarf willingly since I was eleven years old… As for the statements of Mr Sarcozy, will all due respect to him b/c I do find him xtremely amusing to watch on TV but I do believe that this time he got it all wrong… The common concept is that in the “civilised-hmmmm” world people are absolutely free to say and do whatever they choose and that includes the way they’re dressed, while in countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran there’s no such freedom, so Mr Sarcozy has now made France equal to Saudi Arabia or Iran when it comes to the freedom of dressing, too bad indeed ! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad, Iraq…

  57. 113 Tom D Ford
    June 23, 2009 at 17:32

    The burqa was imposed because some Muslim men did not want to take responsibility for their own sexual urges and so they blame their victims, women, and force them to cover up.

    It is quit like the old Puritanism of forcing women to cover even their ankles.

    The burqa is a symbol of oppression and France is right to outlaw such oppressions. Same with all of those black coverings and scarves, I forget what they are called.

    “If God had meant man to be nude he would have been born that way.” Or similar words by some wisecracking person. Oscar Wilde?

  58. 114 Denise
    June 23, 2009 at 17:52

    The burqa is most certainly a sign of oppression and submission – which is exactly the intent of the muslim religion. It is how muslims put women “in their place”. Just because some women wear it willingly does not make it right. There will always be willing victims and women who purport to want to wear the burqa are just that.

  59. June 23, 2009 at 17:54

    I traveled the length and breadth of Indonesia a few years ago to take pictures and make movies for Save the Children. I met many intelligent and charming Muslim women. I liked them very much.

    Anyway, my experience is that a burqa turns a woman into an inanimate object, a stupid mule, an idiot. It is, among women’s clothing, unique in that regard. The Muslim head scarf is harmless. The burqa, however, is evil. The idea that a woman should be able to wear what she wants, in this case, does not apply. The problem is that many women who wear the burqa are forced to by their husbands and families.

  60. 116 Alan in Arizona
    June 23, 2009 at 17:55

    I guess maybe non Islamic cultures have more respect for their woman. It’s like putting tags on your dog so others will know who owns it. Personally I don’t even like branding cattle. But even if an Islamic woman choices to wear a mark of ownership, I will still respect them for making their choice for religious purposes. I will just be sad that their personal beauty can not be shown to the world!

  61. 117 Patrick
    June 23, 2009 at 17:57

    I don’t see why people are opposed to this. In the 1920’s Ataturk banned burqas and headscarves in Turkey, which is a Muslim country. The people eventually accepted it.

    I personally find the burqa offensive. I had a few heated discussions while travelling in the Middle East about it. The arguments I heard varied from, the women would feel naked in western cloths to it allows the men to avoid distraction. Both arguments silly. Both the woman and men will adjust to it like the rest of the world.

    I think all countries should ban any garment that covers the face. For the simple reason that anyone could use it to hide their identity.

    Maybe other countries will take Frances lead.

  62. June 23, 2009 at 18:01

    Salaam again. 1stly, the Holy Quran and the Prophet Mohammed NEVER mentioned that practicing Muslim women should wear Al Niqab or Al Burqa… 2ndly, I have been wearing Al Hijab or the headscarf willingly since I was eleven years old, and I am now a 5th yr. med student, I have never felt at any point during my whole life that wearing Al Hijab would humiliate me or compromise my dignity, to the contrary, It has raised my self esteem and made me feel so proud of myself as a lady, everytime I walk down the street I just feel like I’m wearing a crown over my head, it makes me feel precious, invaluable, and inaccessible, it’s all about me and my inner aspirations to satisfy Allah and honour myself. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

    • 119 patti in cape coral
      June 23, 2009 at 19:10

      Just curious, Lubna, if you decided you didn’t like your head scarf anymore, would you be free to take it off? Unfortunately, I don’t personally know any Muslims, so I also want to ask you, do you think the majority of women feel as you do?

      • 120 patti in cape coral
        June 23, 2009 at 19:12

        Also, Lubna, you do not wear the burqa, right? You wear a head scarf, just covering your hair?

    • 121 patti in cape coral
      June 23, 2009 at 19:45

      @ Lubna- I wrote to ask you a question before, but my question disappeared. If it was censored, I am sorry, I wasn’t trying to be offensive at all. I will try to rephrase: Lubna, do you have the choice of not wearing your headscarf if you didn’t want to? Also, do the women you know feel the same as you do?

  63. 122 Steve in Boston
    June 23, 2009 at 18:04

    I think these burqas are quite ingenious. You can’t tell the ugly girls from the pretty ones, therefore, they all get the same amount of attention from suitors. You can’t get any more egalitarian than that now can you?

    It’s kind of like meeting someone on an internet chat room: your imagination fills in the blanks and you conjure up an image of beauty.

    Here in the West we have a similar type of garment. It’s called a paper bag.

    • 123 Alby
      June 23, 2009 at 18:30

      How much do you know about suitors or courtship in Muslim culture?

      There is a difference between suitors and cat callers! Maybe not in Boston.

      I like your image of mutability and illusion of beauty in the chatroom. There are other forms of beauty besides terms like ‘ugly’ and ‘pretty’ , largely defined by advertising agencies in the US or outdated sexist notions!

      We have another expression that comes to mind: “can’t think their way out of a paper bag”!

      We need more people to start wearing paper bags, on their mouths!

  64. 124 Shaun
    June 23, 2009 at 18:08

    How far we have come ! Today men can marry men , women can change their gender , nude beaches are a tourist attraction , and now this confusion about women wanting to cover themselves. Our moral compass seems to be broken or severly damaged.

    Look how far we have come !!

  65. June 23, 2009 at 18:08

    What if a woman in a Muslim country doesn’t care to wear a hijab? Do they have that choice?

    In the West we realized that many of our laws and customs actually prevented women from having equal rights. The burqa and hijab are archaic religious BAD president that keep women down.

    • 126 RightPaddock
      June 24, 2009 at 02:35

      @pdxmike – What if a woman in a Muslim country doesn’t care to wear a hijab?

      Not all “muslim” countries are the same,

      Saudi women must wear the niqab (which cover the lower half of the face), they are not allowed to drive and they cannot leave their homes unless accompanied by male member of their family

      In Indonesia you’ll see thousands of women wearing tight jeans, riding two up on motor scooters, one or both will usually be wearing the hijab; and they are likely as not on their way to meet friends of both genders in McDonalds or Starbucks.

  66. 127 Alby
    June 23, 2009 at 18:24

    In a democracy, people should be able to wear what ever they want to,

    except for hate speech and speech to incite hatred or violence…

    Sarkozy is pandering to the tres catho!

  67. 128 Ibrahim in UK
    June 23, 2009 at 18:27


    Yes! That’s what needs to be brought out into the open and discussed. Muslims are viewed with suspicion because the only perceived contribution to Western society is hostility (and possibly Kebabs) even though the majority of muslims go about day-to-day business normally and have no intention of conquering everything that moves. If someone saw a famous muslim sportsperson like Ribery of France, would their initial reaction be “Oh he wants to destroy my way of life”? Probably not.
    Whereas if they see someone with a big beard or a female wearing a Burqa? Even though they may be doctors and contribute significantly more to mankind than a footballer. These appearances may be alien and scary to most, and, coupled with news images of Afghanistan and suicide bombing videos, the immediate reaction is one of insecurity and distrust. Without open and free debate, these perceptions will not change, distrust will not be addressed, and the Burqa ban (and any other subsequent ban) will just be seen as a gratioutis attack on all muslim citizens.

  68. 129 Venessa
    June 23, 2009 at 19:12

    Wow, I’m surprised by the judgement and people offended by the burka, yet not offended by a yamika or any other religious garb. Does anyone not see the double standard? Who are any of us to judge whether or not a woman wants to wear a burka or even a hijab or anything else? Does this really hurt anyone? It is a perception by each of you that it is degrading or wrong, yet we have an Iraqi on this forum who states that she willing wears these garments. How we individuals dress is their business and no one elses. I’d be pretty upset if I were told I couldn’t wear certain shoes or clothing. How is this any different? What about the “offensive” sayings on t-shirts you can see people wearing all the time? It’s your individual choice to be offended. We preach equality and a right to practice religion in the West, yet if something doesn’t align with our individual morals or it is not personally agreeable we are quick to ban it.

  69. 130 Sharafadeen Adesanya
    June 23, 2009 at 22:24

    2005 saw the ban of religious symbols in public places (primarily headscarf, and not cross chain for it has been there for many century wore by many average Christians) now it is the turn of Burqa. It is very clear to those Muslim who know what they are doing that this is nothing but an attack on Islamic religious ethics.
    To the woman folk (especially the Muslim ladies) to be conscious of Allah’s commands in Quaranic chapters (24:30-31) what should not be exposed to public gazing, and (33:59) that were ordered to wear Jal’bab when going out of your homes that you may not be molested (such raped, sexually assaulted etc). Women folks Jal’bab (either Hijab, burqa) is to bring you to a dignified position and not to downgrade you as a sexual dolls.
    I strongly believed that if a man may ordered his wives, daughters, sisters to be dressing nude around the public places surely that will not be subjected to a ban thus seen a threat to the secularism of such country, after all in western city we find lady performing exotic dances in bars and hotel, some cyclist rode nude around the city on some western countries. Yet it is their freedom to do that and never a threat to secular nature of such countries.

  70. 131 mountain adam in portland oregon usa
    June 23, 2009 at 22:40

    @ Lubna
    Right on sister!

  71. 132 RightPaddock
    June 24, 2009 at 03:32

    Like many others I am in several minds over this issue. One of the issues that concerns me is that its directed a muslim women, who seem to be easy targets. Forcing women to wear the burqa, binding their feet, elongating their necks, mutilating their genitals and other such practices must each be condemned. But at least the first of these can be undone, the others cannot; yes there are instances of foot binding being practised in East Asia today.

    One of the concerns that’s been expressed is that its difficult to have a conversation with someone whose face is covered, could it be that that is the precise intent of the women who choose to do so.

    I suspect that some of the women who live in “western” countries and who choose to wear the Burqa are making a political statement, but that’s equally true of someone who wears a Che Guevara T-shirt.

    Sikh men, collectively know as the Khalsa, wear five symbols of their religion – kesh (uncut hair bound in a turban), khanga (comb), kach (shorts), kara (steel bracelet) and kirpan (dagger). This practice was mandated in 1699 by Guru Gobind as means by which Sikhs could recognise one another. The mandate was a reaction to the oppression of the Sikhs (and Hindu’s) by the Murgal emporer Aurangzeb, including the murder of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib. There can be no doubt that Gobind’s mandates were political in their nature, and even justified, they also added a militant strand to Sikhism.

    If Muslim women are to be prevented from wearing the Burqa under any circumstances, then should Sikh men be prevented from wearing the political symbols that their religion mandates, and should not Hassidic Jewish men be prevented from wearing the symbols that their religion mandates etc etc.

  72. 133 Deryck/Trinidad
    June 24, 2009 at 10:15

    @Lubna, @RightPaddock, @Sharafadeen Adesanya, @Alby

    Forget what Sarkozy says.

    The reason I would consider a ban are on grounds of a terrorist threat. Personally I need to know who’s walking on the street beside me and what’s under that clothes. Are my fears justified?

    Ques: How do families in the muslim countries where the burqa is required to be worn identify a relative in a crowd?

    • 134 Tom K in Mpls
      June 24, 2009 at 16:06

      Also, can *you* or anyone recognize a terrorist even if you see their face?

    • July 1, 2009 at 19:43

      The size of the body, the gait, the way that they hold their bodies. Small details on the clothing. Knowledge of habits of time and place. It is simple-minded to assume that we can’t identify each other just because our faces are covered. Now, for legal purposes, obviously, a niqabi would have to ID herself to a legal official – preferably a female.

  73. 136 ali
    June 24, 2009 at 10:34

    On the other hand, one could argue that each country has the right to determine the acceptable dress code for its citizens and guests. For example, mini-skirts are not an acceptable form of dress for women in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. Women who feel unable to accept this restriction should be free to go elsewhere. Likewise, women who wear the Burqa might be advised not to live in France, as it is proving to be an unwelcoming environment for Muslims.

  74. June 24, 2009 at 11:31

    Salaam Patti… Let’s talk about my girlfriends at college, I do know a girl who was one year older than I am, she chose to take off her Hijab or headscarf for good last year, and at that time although I expressed to her my criticism for her decision but I told her that I do totally respect it and will be supportive, and the girl is still till now without Hijab, so yes Patti, I do have the choice to take off my Hijab whenever I want to (which I never will of course!)… I do have 3 close girlfriends at college, 2 Muslims and 1 Christian, the two Muslim girls also wear Hijab, and they are as proud as I am of their Hijab and may be even more, non of us at college (or any practicing Muslim lady I know) wear Al Burqa, and Al Burqa is an xtremely uncommon phenomenon in my Iraq…

    • July 1, 2009 at 19:39

      assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah 🙂 My experience is similar to yours – I do not know any Iraqi women who cover their faces. Most of the women who I know hwo cover their faces are Saudi. What disappoints me is that for most of them, it is a cultural thing. They wear the niqab because it is the Saudi thing to do, but htere is no love in their hearts for Islam. They are casual about worship, eat what they want, act however they want to without regard for religion. I wish that people wouldn’t dress like religious folk if they aren’t religious themselves.

      I also cannot stand this attitude that one needs to act a certain way if one wants to cover her face. I have been told that I should not cover my face because I am not as graceful as a niqabi should be, or because I would not be covering my face in small rural (Western) towns like where I live. I feel that if I want to cover my face in situations were I would be more comfortable having my face covered, that should be my own option. I see others wearing the niqab at the masjid and not to the mall when they go shopping, and as a Shia Muslim who does not believe that it is obnligatory to cover the face, I see nothing wrong wit that at all. I also think that I shouldn’t have to worry about whether I am as co-ordinated as a ballerina or not just so that I can wear a niqab. I am sick of others trying to tell me what to do or not to do.

  75. June 24, 2009 at 11:41

    Salaam again… Also to Patti, I chose to wear Al Hijab willingly since I was 11 years old, and I’ll be 23 very soon, but my older sis chose to wear Al Hijab willingly when she was 19, and she’s now 27… I do hope that I have answered all of your questions clearly Patti, and if you or any of our friends have a question for me, then I’ll be more than happy to answer it… BTW, Thanks a million Thomas for your very nice words, very interesting comment indeed, may Allah always bless you, Amen… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  76. 140 Methusalem
    June 24, 2009 at 14:10

    99% of those poor Moslem women who wear either the Burqa or Hijab are not honest or courageous enough to tell you that they are forced to wear them. But to the observer, there face, their eyes tell how oppressed they are.

    • 141 Sharafadeen Adesanya
      June 24, 2009 at 17:11

      @ Methusalem

      I wonder where you got your statistics to this that effect? In the first place how do you get to read from their cover faces and eyes that tells you that they were oppressed? This is certainly Stereotyping.
      I know of some ladies whom their parents don’t wear it and even frowned at it, some ladies where not allowed into Universities to study etc yet this ladies are proud of wearing it (Hijab or Burqa etc) this is becuase they wish to please their creator who command them in fear of his punishment and obedience in looking foward to his rich reward hereafter.
      Therefore, if they don’t complain then don’t complain on their behalf…

  77. 142 deryck/trinidad
    June 24, 2009 at 17:12

    @Tom K in Mpls

    Tom this is about paranoia not about rational thinking. Deep fears that lurk inside all of us, the fear of the unknown. If I can’t see you I’m a little jumpy that’s just me.

  78. 143 Jennifer
    June 24, 2009 at 18:55

    I thought I would never live to see the day, but I agree with Tom D. Ford:

    “The burqa was imposed because some Muslim men did not want to take responsibility for their own sexual urges and so they blame their victims, women, and force them to cover up.”

    Re: The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has said the burqa – the full-body garment worn by some Muslim women – is not welcome in France.

    I think I love Mr. Sarkozy! 🙂

    When I was younger; I had a friend from syria who wore a headscarf. She got to where she would take it off during the day…It was curious to me that her hair was already going gray. One day she couldn’t put it back on and she was very upset; crying and pretty much hysterical. I remember telling her that it would be ok and surely her dad would understand. Thankfully, she got it back on before he got there. But, I remember the look on her face. It was fear that she would be caught by her father not wearing the headscarf. If it had been her choice to wear it; she would not have been sneaking and taking it off. I remember that she always wore long sleeves and covered up; even when it was very hot! That’s not a choice for women. It’s just a choice made by men…

    • 144 ali
      June 25, 2009 at 14:27

      Dear Jennifer – so you met one hysterical woman and you base your view of the Hijab on that experience. Suggest you take a broader view. I know several Muslim women who used not to wear the Hijab, but later chose to do so. I repeat CHOSE. They were not forced or co-erced by men.

    • 145 Khadijah from California
      July 23, 2009 at 22:06

      Jennifer, just because you have one friend who is forced you are going to say we are all forced? So, according to what you say I am forced. Now, by whom am I forced? My father? Dead. My uncle? Dead. My brother? Don’t have one. My husband? I’m not married, yet. So who is forcing me? In Iran when the Shaw forbade the niqab for 7 years, a lot of women who felt it was obligatory, refused to even leave the house. So, they were effectively under house arrest for 7 years as prisoners of conscience.

      Barrier to integration? No. I am quite well integrated in society. I can leave my house freely, go to the store, a restaurant, the hobby shop, the coffee shop, etc. In all of these places, people who work there recognize me. One time I had to put something in to a hobby shop for repair, and when it was ready, I just barely walked in and the gentleman started to get my item out.

      People are able to recognize me, for example, a very busy restaurant I frequent, I went to once before I started wearing niqab. A few months later I came back and as soon as I walked up the sister in front said “Oh you are wearing niqab now!” Now it is obvious that she recognized me…or she would not have made the comment that I was wearing niqab “now”…as compared to “before.” I know sisters who wear niqab, hijab or even nothing, entirely by their own choice.

      Also, to those who say “we can’t dress unislamically in Muslim countries so they shouldn’t be allowed to dress Islamically here” you would like it in Tunisia. This is a “Muslim” country but all Islamic dress is illegal and even a scarf will get the wearer arrested and a year in prison. Also, don’t you dare pray in anyplace public, or you will be arrested and go to prison. Amnesty International has made several complaints about the oppression in Tunisia, and has had no results. How would you feel if YOU were arrested by the police just because someone just didn’t like the way you were dressed?

      • July 24, 2009 at 13:03

        Honestly, if people cannot handle the freedoms that everyone is able to enjoy in a country that was based on liberty, they really should go to someplace where people’s freedoms are restricted. Religion-haters should head for Chine; hijab-haters can go to Tunisia. Let the rest of us enjoy our freedoms.

  79. 147 John in Germany
    June 25, 2009 at 15:37

    It is a barrier to integration, of course it is also meant to be just that. Restrictive for the ladies that have to wear it, but effective for the men that consider a woman to be property, and not a partner.

    What is wrong in any restrictive style being worn just indoors, a answer may be. Of course not, it is designed to be worn outdoors where others may see.

    John in Germany

  80. 148 Tom D Ford
    June 25, 2009 at 17:52

    In my earlier post I wrote:

    “The burqa is a symbol of oppression ”

    That is not correct, the burqa is actually a “tool” of oppression, as are all of those black coverings and scarves.

    • 149 RightPaddock
      June 29, 2009 at 19:39

      I assume you’d include all those one sees in Greece, Italy, Spain, Russia etc, as well as all those one sees in Rome, especially those worn by men – eh?

  81. 150 Jennifer
    June 25, 2009 at 18:49

    So, if you consider a 12 year old girl a “woman” then we are talking about a “woman”. When even ONE woman is being forced to wear something like the burqa; it is being used to oppress women.

    And, in my case, this girl was also not allowed to go to the movies, have sleepovers, could never even talk to boys, if her grades were less than perfect she said she would be in trouble. And, I don’t think that the girl I knew was “hysterical” at all but fear of facing her father’s anger did make her that way.

    • July 1, 2009 at 20:11

      Jennifer, it is obvious that the girl’s father was a control freak who went over and above the limits of Islam. Islam does not prohibit women from talking normally with men, or from associating with their friends. And while Islam advocates education, there is no basis in our religion for making the lives of our children hell if their grades are not perfect. Regardless of what a person’s beliefs are or are not, it is *never* acceptable to use fear to pass them on to one’s children. Shia Islam in particular considers this injurious to a child, just as beating is, in terms of legal consequences.

  82. 152 Dale Nason
    June 26, 2009 at 05:07


    Sorry about my spelling! ;p

    Remember Dale:
    Burqa NOT Burkha!


  83. 153 Nik Sockmunki
    June 26, 2009 at 12:38

    Not much point in wearing L’oreal makeup if your wearing the latest arabian fashions.

    Sacre bleu, come to think of it, it’s downright anti-capitalist!!

  84. 154 Jim Newman
    June 29, 2009 at 11:08

    Hello again
    There are so many people who have the same opinion as me that all I can say is that if ‘le petit Magyar’ bans the Burhka I shall wear the burhka out of protest.

  85. 156 Nigel
    June 29, 2009 at 12:38

    What more ostentatious sign of France’s Christianty than the thousands of churches and cathederals all over the country. Whether they think themselves to be secular or not they are a Christian nation but are not showing the tolerance usually associated with Christianity. How convenient…..do as i say not as I do.

  86. 157 john
    June 29, 2009 at 15:05

    Did anyone bother to ask them if they want to take it off?
    isnt it there religion that makes them wear it and if sarkozy bannes the burqa that he would kind of make an insult? They thing he should try to do is give these woman the chance to make the choice of wearing a burqa instead of them getting forced to wear them!

  87. 158 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    June 29, 2009 at 15:19

    I am an immigrant in the country in which I live. I speak the local language and follow local customs. Switzerland is a small, fragile, crowded country with a rich cultural heritage, which cultural heritage is being diluted by immigrants.

    I object to the burka on cultural grounds. The burka makes the statement that the woman wearing it refuses to adapt to the culture of her adopted land.

    I’m no fan of Sarkozy, but I’m with him on this one.

    • 159 Ramesh, India
      July 1, 2009 at 16:43

      @Donnamarie, If Swiss or french have such strong reservations, who forced them to adopt those muslim people. Europeans are hypocrats. When they need labourers, they will allow immigrants without any hesitation. And thanks to the recession, the true clors of the europeans are being exposed! Americans and Brits are far better.

    • 160 Ramesh, India
      July 1, 2009 at 18:41

      And Donnamarie, How Christianity came to Switzerland from outside people? Didn’t the swiss have any culture at that time?

  88. 161 Tom D Ford
    June 29, 2009 at 18:42

    We need to get over any idea of respect for religions. Religions show disrespect for people and we ought to put people above religions, in the law!

    Put people first!

    • 162 Dora
      July 1, 2009 at 16:17

      Tom D Ford : I agree, I have never understood why religion is above or beyond reproach. They should not be either unquestioned or shielded from offence. I am offended by things all the time and accept that but if you are under the religion umbrella offence becomes an excuse to bomb, kill, burn books etc… never understood that.

  89. 163 RightPaddock
    June 29, 2009 at 19:31

    Sarko delivers the very first speech ever given by a sitting French President to a joint sitting of both chambers of the French legislature. It’s delivered in the palace of the dictator kings who reigned prior to the revolution of 1789.

    It should have been an historic occasion, with oratory of great moment but what does Sarko bang on about, yet again its on how women should dress, just like he apparently did at the recent commemoration of the D-Day Landings.

    He seems to be obsessed by the subject, he even ditched his former wife of significant intellect for a spoilt brat former fashion model, I assume Carla did some fashion as well as her nudity and glamour work.

    Only the French, only the French – why didn’t he talk about cheese or wine or Bridget Bardot, but no it just had to be another Sarko rant on couture le femme.

    Apparently few if any French Muslim women even wear the Burqa.

    They seem to be quite a useful garment, they would allow one pop down the shop in your PJs without anyone knowing its you, every woman should have one.

  90. 164 Toners Bruxtin
    June 29, 2009 at 22:23

    It is not a religious item so there is no need to worry about insulting any religion by banning it.
    It is a symbol though.
    As a symbol it says men cannot be trusted to see a womans skin without going into a sexual frenzy and raping women. I find that offensive to men and to women. If it offends both men and womens dignity it is part of a dehumanising process.

    Since it is both a symbol and instrument oppression why not ban it?
    The swastika is banned in Germany for that very reason.

  91. 165 Toners Bruxtin
    June 29, 2009 at 22:31

    116 Nigel
    June 29, 2009 at 12:38

    “What more ostentatious sign of France’s Christianty than the thousands of churches and cathederals all over the country. Whether they think themselves to be secular or not they are a Christian nation but are not showing the tolerance usually associated with Christianity. How convenient…..do as i say not as I do.”

    Actually the church in France just cant get the priests these days. Very few want to do it. Plenty of empty churches everywhere.

    It is written into law that a citizen should help another citizen in crisis. I think, much as I don’t like N.Sarko, he has actually done something sensible and at least the French have the guts to face the truth. It should be a European wide ban in my opinion.

  92. 166 dada isme
    June 30, 2009 at 00:41

    i believe the number of 100 000 women wearing burqas in france you gave is grossly inaccurate. From some hundreds to a few thousands maybe.
    It is more the symbol of it that the real number that , in arguments, counts.

    To the thousands of algerians woman whose throats were lacerated during the 90’s civil war because not enough veiled they chose to live, to the millions more today in conservative islamic societies,who live under this cultural and religious slave chain there is an argument to be made about this piece of cloth as an uniform ( a liitle bit like the KKK uniform)

    So, to the many victims , whose possibilities in life were restrained and in two many cases obliterated, because of this fascism in new clothes, to know that in certains societies the presssure is on the fundamentalist , is somewhat a victory, and not a pyrrhus one.

    I do believe that the next great challenges facing us are not really islamic based.
    Something like the domestication of the sun’s energy, the colonisation of mars, or some sciences based developpment.
    But who knows, the futur is not written .
    Qui vivra verra

  93. 167 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 1, 2009 at 10:59


    The threat of the Al Qaeda reinforce negative islamic stereotypes that muslims have a bellicose nature. This just proves that Sarkozy was right in the first place.

    As I stated earlier in this blog my reason for the proposed ban on the burqa deals with security not the repression of women because I think that is a personal issue for each woman.

    Being able to move around the country in anonimity as well as the possibility of having contraband items concealed under the burqa are issues of national security.

  94. July 1, 2009 at 12:47

    Belgium has just elected the first hijabi woman to any legislative body in the Western world, and France (and not Belgian schools) is proposing the same fascist, anti-democratic nonsense that Turkey imposes on its people. When a government tells me how to dress, that is not freedom. It is tyranny. See my comments on cals for Muslim women to remove their hijabs on my Facebook profile.
    -Pink Muslimah

    • 169 Gary Paudler
      July 1, 2009 at 14:12

      Sarcozy’s impulse is correct; the burqa is dehumanizing and not a garment of personal choice, unless the person doing the choosing is some man who imposes his choice on his wife, daughter or sister. There are many women who embrace Islam but who don’t wear the burqa so it is not essential to Muslim piety. The problem with Sarcozy’s well-intended edict is that some women will be made prisoners and not allowed out of their homes if they cannot wear the burqa. I suppose that some, probably very few, women would make a personal choice to wear a burqa without its imposition by an autocratic male and in that case their choice should be respected, but in a repressive culture how can one know what is an un-coerced expression of personal choice? I hope that Sarcozy’s commission can devise a way to assure freedom of choice and that the choice will be that of the women and not their masters’.

    July 1, 2009 at 13:12


    The Taleban are just endorsing the argument that they are truly out of step. In the first place, does Muslim mean Taleban? This is pure heresy and they ought to come out and state what they stand for. Burqa is an Arab world fashion dress and its Islamic connotation is highly questionable and may well have nothing to do with with religion. In this context, it is a none issue and a bunch of fanatics walking around with a chip on their shoulder can only be dreaming if they think that everyone is going to swallow every twist of ignorance they exhibit.

    We will not be threatened and we don’t care what they say. I believe that whoever will stand for everything stands equally for nothing; they are vague and are just a bunch of irritants.

    Finally, France or any other country ought to find out how many Talebans are walking disguised as women reside in Paris and other cities.

  96. 171 Halima Brewer
    July 1, 2009 at 14:04

    I agree with the French president. If you cannot show your face, people have a right to deny interaction with you.
    fair enough. I have lived in an Islamic setting and however it is defended, 1. it is not Islamic, it is cultural, and 2. it sends a message about women which is repugnant.

  97. 172 Azhar
    July 1, 2009 at 14:07

    I think it is the time muslims should not think of defending but react equally. Show these people what modernisation is giving them, nude women, seminude women, is it this the culture and the safety you are talking about. How many are virgin in their early 20’s is a question unanswerable. Before raising a second thought about Burqa, you look into reality of your own people, who have become accustomed to premature, illegal sex and showing off their bodies. Can this be termed as the modernisation or can you proudly call it as Dignity to your women. Think again, is Burqa protecting women and giving dignity or is seminudity to full nudity accompanied with loosing virginity before marriage giving women their dignity. If you feel the latter is true then atleast muslims don’t think so, and i do understand most of your men want this to continue, as only this way can dignity of women be exploited with their soft cornered will to the tune you want to play with them. I can say it that your women need to think, is it the time when you need to switch on towards wearing more better clothes and practice burqa and hijab or still allow your next generations to become prey of all the above said in the name of dignity and modernisation.

  98. 173 Linda in Italy
    July 1, 2009 at 14:10

    To dress this up (pardon the pun) as a women’s rights issue, is just plain nonsense.
    Any religion (not just Islam but also certain branches of orthodox Judaism and some Christian sects) or cultural practice that tells women how to dress is of course guilty of gender discrimination in the first place, OK so men may also be told not to shave their beards etc., but the worst wrath is generally directed at women.
    This is precisely the argument we feminists thought we had won when certain antediluvian judges used to have a habit of letting rapists off because the violated woman had “asked for it” by her dress/behaviour etc.
    As another blogger has remarked, this is also demeaning to men as it makes them out to be so weak and irrational that they can’t keep their grubby hands (and other bits of their anatomy) to themselves.
    I’m with Sarkozy on this one, must be a first for me, and I also agree with the security angle. I’m sure I read somewhere that one of the Taliban Godfathers being sought in Afghanistan for incitement to horrific murder escaped in drag, hidden under a Burqa – there’s macho for you – Toad of Toad Hall anyone?
    This abomination has no place in Europe, anywhere.

  99. 174 Bare Osman
    July 1, 2009 at 14:22

    Hi All
    The call from the French president Nicolas Sarkosy to ban the Burqa is a bit very bad and injures the hearts of the muslim community in France at large. however, this will create a rivalry between the people living together peacefully now , I think, it is good that the president acknowledges and respects the rights of the Muslim women with regards to wearing the Burqa.

    Every community regardless of their race,creed ,gender and so on should be given freedom of worship hence people to heavily interact to promoting mutual relatioship between the different faiths.If you allow a person to dress in a tight jeans why do you refuse others to dress in clothes permtted by their religion is seen as ‘terrorist’.


    Bare Osman,
    Dagahaley Refugee Camp

    • 175 Nanci
      July 1, 2009 at 14:31

      I hear your points. But what about my right as a Christian white western woman to wear what I want to wear if I travel to Saudi Arabia?

      If I did, I would be arrested. Why is it that Muslim countries expect Muslims in western countries to be treated with respect and dignity and accorded full human rights when they do not extend visitors to their countries from the west the same courtesy?

      • 176 Ramesh, India
        July 1, 2009 at 17:14

        Simple. Don’t go where you feel restrictions. But these muslim women were not restricted when they emigrated to France. Why Now???????? Can you see the hypocracy of europeans?

      • July 1, 2009 at 20:21

        You are assuming that those of us, Muslim and non-Muslim, who support a woman’s right to dress as she pleases, including covering her head and even face, also agree with Saudi Arabia telling women how to dress.

        Assumptions do strange things to U and ME both.

  100. 178 Nanci
    July 1, 2009 at 14:28

    In traveling to Muslim countries, I have had to dress modestly, going so far as to even wear a chador and sometimes a burqa. I was happy to do so in order to respect the local customs.

    I do find it very irritating that Muslim women here in the UK wear the burqa. They are living in ‘my’ culture, so why can’t they show us British the same courtesy? I realize that there is an issue of modesty. Does not the hijab and modest trousers will a long blouse over it accomodate Muslim women’s need for modesty here?

    It irritates because it is a symbol of separateness and otherness that shows an unwilliness to fully join in as British citizens. I find it to be rude and insensitive to British culture.

    If hoodies can’t wear hoods in the name of security, why should women be allowed to wear burqa’s that obscure identity?

    Finally, I am a proponent of free speech and at the end of the day, I think these women should be able to wear what they want to. You can’t legislate against that and I think that is where french secularism goes wrong. On the other hand, I don’t think it advisable for these women to continue to wear the burqa in Britan out of respect for our culture.

    • 179 Ramesh, India
      July 1, 2009 at 17:18

      Nanci, Do you think wearing a burqa is disrespectful to your culture? In what way? If a muslim girl is told that teenage sex is british culture too, should she go adventurous as well?

  101. 180 rob z.
    July 1, 2009 at 14:32

    A person should be allowed to practice their religion any way they feel,as long as it does not threaten others or violate another persons rights.
    It is unfortunate that in many organized religions,women are concidered 2nd class or not equal to men.
    Changing such standards will take time.

    • 181 Ramesh, India
      July 1, 2009 at 17:32

      Rob, you are right. But those changes should be initiated by people within a particular religion. Not by people from other religions. There used to be many negative aspects in Hindu religion and even now many exist. But over time, reformists were able to bring a change to a large extent. I still remember that when I was a child a woman loving a man and marrying some other man was also regarded as bad, even without sex! Nowadays, some people don’t mind knowing their wives having sex before marriage. All they care about is whether the women are faithful to them. after marriage.

      What I mean is if Burqa is wrong, it should be recognised and done away by muslims themselves.

  102. 182 Peter Gizzi UK
    July 1, 2009 at 14:33

    Hi Again Everyone,
    The “regulars” on this site know I am an atheist. I try to live and let live. The one question I ask is “Is there a dress code for Muslim Men?” If not why not, and if not that is surely sexist?

    • July 1, 2009 at 20:31

      I do miss hearing from you.

      Muslim men have a dress code. Shia Muslim men are basically obligated to wear a shirt with sleeves, full-length slacks, and a beard. There is also a lot of peer pressure to wear long sleeves, not just any sleeves. The reason that men are not required to wear hijab in Islam is because the philosophy of Islam accepts that there generally exist physical differences between men and women. On that basis, Islam seeks to approach our religious practises on the basis of those differences.

      Peter, please do check out the After Hours discussion board. Anyone can check it out, actually, as it was established to serve as a continuation of the disucssions held here, with fewer restrictions on content and length of post: thus the name “After Hours” – a more free-wheeling type of conversation that continues what was started here.

  103. 184 VictorK
    July 1, 2009 at 14:34

    So, Al Quaeda get angry when non-Muslims interfere in the Muslim world, and get angry when non-Muslims go about their business in their own countries?

    And what of the wider implications of this threat? I take it to mean that the people of a non-Muslim country can never be safe as long as they harbour a Muslim presence that groups like Al Quaeda can use as a pretext for mass murder.

    It’s for the French to decide what rules apply to France, in accordance with the values and traditions that make up the French way of life. Muslims who don’t like that should either not go to France, or they should leave if they’re already there. Simple really.

    @Pink: are you French? If not, what’s your problem with Sarkozy’s position (why so much anger?)? And if you’re not French what country are you from?

    • July 1, 2009 at 20:38

      I am an American convert to Islam. My non-Muslim family has been American for at least five generations, depending on which side of the tree you look at.

      I am angry at France’s restrictions on women’s clothing for the same reason that I am angry with Turkey’s restrictions on clothing and on the expression of Kurdish culture or the addressing of the Armenian genocide, and the same reason that I am angry with the clampdown that has recently ocurred in Iran, or the repression of minorities that takes place in Saudi Arabia, China, and other countries with which the United States does business: these all fly in the face of democratic values.

      Democracies do not dictate how people dress, what languages they speak, or whether they epxress disagreement with their government’s policies. Tyrannical dictatorships do. France should call itself a secular dictatorship, if this is how they want to act, but they should drop the word democracy from their vocabulary.

  104. 186 Bare Osman
    July 1, 2009 at 14:34

    Sarkosy is very wrong to annonce that he will ban the use of Burqa from the muslim women and i don’t think it is a good approach from a good president instead of accepting people’s customs/religious rites.
    So to me it is totally injustice for the French government to ban the use of Burqa.

    Bare OSman
    Dagahaley Refugee Camp

  105. 187 Sergio Joaquim Dique
    July 1, 2009 at 14:38

    In my country being asked to show your ID is common police practice. It is done to ensure that people in the country are well documented. It also is a very good way of fighting crime.

    My concern regarding the burqa is that it covers the whole face. l agree with Sarkozy, it does not help identify the person behind it. A runaway criminal could wear a burqa and would go unnoticed. Our faces are not meants to be concealed. Unless of course someone has something to hide.


  106. 188 soxmunki
    July 1, 2009 at 14:41

    Assuming for the moment that some form of legislation passes the french assembly; do the fashion police arrest those not in compliance, hand out tickets or escort them to Prada?

  107. 189 Nanci
    July 1, 2009 at 14:47

    What I find particularly objectionable is Al Queda’s statement. Okay AL Q—you want western standards of freedom to practice one’s religion upheld for Muslim immiigrants in france, but if I lived in Afghanistan, I would have no human rights as a woman to wear what my religion allows me to wear?

    I love the double standards here.

    I hope Sarkozy ‘sticks to his guns’ just to poke the Al Q dictators in the eye. They are laughably inconsistent.

  108. 190 Roy, Washington DC
    July 1, 2009 at 14:58

    It should be about personal choice. Saying “no woman may wear a burqa” is just as restrictive in this sense as saying “all women must wear burqas”.

    • 191 Venessa
      July 1, 2009 at 15:43

      Exactly! I’ll say it again, if you make it illegal to wear one type of religious garment in public then all should be banned. Don’t just single out one religion.

  109. 192 VictorK
    July 1, 2009 at 15:00

    @Linda: you wrote, “As another blogger has remarked, this is also demeaning to men as it makes them out to be so weak and irrational that they can’t keep their grubby hands (and other bits of their anatomy) to themselves.” Not necessarily. Perhaps Muslims understand very well how some Muslim men can behave, & therefore attempt to protect their wives and daughters through dress.

    If you look at non-establishment media sources you’ll have come across what’s been described as a ‘Muslim rape epidemic’ in Western countries like Australia, Sweden and Norway, where Muslim men target non-Muslim women for sexual assault, often justifying rape or attempted rape because the women were not ‘modestly’ dressed. There’s a connection between that attitude & conduct & the way Muslims routinely describe Western women as ‘whores’. Here in the UK there’s a well-documented problem in some northern cities of predatory networks of Muslim men targeting underage non-Muslim girls for sexual exploitation (the UK authorities are too frightened to act over this!).

    The problem isn’t really Sarkozy.

  110. July 1, 2009 at 15:07

    I use to live in Tanzania as a performer. Tanzania has a significant muslim population. I was performing at their water park (the largest in East Africa) and I was most struck with the women wearing burkas there. They wore their burkas and they got on the water rides and was enjoying themselves like everyone else, they didnt look or act repressed while they were splashing around with everyone else.

  111. July 1, 2009 at 15:10

    First, I think people are misreading the French president’s statements. There is absolutely no “double-standard” in banning a burqua versus a yamaka because the burqua is not being banned for its religious nature. It’s being banned for its degradation of the female form.

    As for the issue of legislating how much rather than how little a woman wears, when I lived there, I found French women to be very modest dressers. I hardly even found any of the famous “topless” beaches. It’s a conservative place with strong Catholic values. Sorry to disappoint those who cling to French stereotypes, but they really aren’t all about dancing naked in the streets as they get drunk with their lovers. The very opposite is true.

    Understand that, in French culture, equality comes from sameness in public presentation. Your religious beliefs are not shoved in people’s faces as they are in the U.S. When evangelical missionaries go there, they’re stymied because they can’t engage in direct conversation about religion. It’s just not done, but rather considered rude. So the burqua threatens their very version of democracy itself. Maybe this definition of democracy needs to change. But then, I don’t believe for a New York second that these women who wear burquas (even the one who posted a comment above) actually do it out of freedom. A woman who is truly free and equal with men would not even dream of putting one on — unless she lived in dust storms.

    Can’t recall the last dust storm I saw in France. So, there you go.

  112. July 1, 2009 at 15:12

    @Nanci — Right on! Well put.

  113. July 1, 2009 at 15:38

    The french are absolutely right to do otherwise is sexist. Being male I could not walk into a shop wearing one. It’s a disguise. It could be a man behind the mask as only eyes are showing. It is disgraceful that they were ever allowed to wear them and there is nothing in their faith that requires this to be worn.

  114. 197 Ramesh, India
    July 1, 2009 at 15:44

    This Burqa controversy is more about intolerance than anything else. Personally, I don’t have any problems with muslim women wearing a burqa. What I don’t like about the indian burqa is its color – black.
    Now I try to imagine the problems Burqa may bring in. If a run away terrorist somehow gets on with a burqa, there is no way indian police could dare to open the burqa. So it makes it easy for the terrorist to flee and disappear.
    Burqa gives me an opinion about muslim women. Those wearing it are extremely religious and those not are much open minded. Those women wearing it may sound like they like Burqa. But when they have real freedom, I don’t think many of them will continue with it.
    But, if the society(french, english or indian or any other) is intolerant to Burqa, it is not a secular society for me.

  115. 198 VictorK
    July 1, 2009 at 15:45

    “And should France reconsider its postion in light of Al Qaeda’s threat?”
    No, of course not.

    “Is the burqa really about personal choice?” I doubt it. It’s hardly a new thing for slaves to come to love their chains. Islam has no tradition of female independence. The blunt truth is that the least important opinion to be considered here is that of a Muslim woman. If a Muslim woman’s circle of male relatives is liberal, then she too will be liberal; if it is conservative, then that’s what she’ll be as well. Islam has stripped the Muslim woman of personhood. There can’t be many instances of a Muslim woman choosing not to wear the burqua when all her male relatives want her to. Probably not as rare as a unicorn, but close.

    ‘Are the French right…?’ I don’t think it can ever be a matter of universal right and wrong, that can be judged as easily from Lagos or Mumbai as in Paris. It’s much more specific and local. Given their cultural traditions, their values, the premium they place on ‘egalite’, is it right for the French to have acted as they did? To ask the question that way is to answer it.

    • 199 Ramesh, India
      July 1, 2009 at 15:51

      Well, didn’t the french know about the Burqa before giving citizenship to muslim people? Why now??

  116. 200 steve
    July 1, 2009 at 15:47

    So it will be perfectly acceptable to underdress and expose yourself, but not acceptable to “overdress”. And dressing like a street walker isn’t degrading if it’s done by choice, but wearing a burqa by choice is somehow degrading? Is this another case of being offended on behalf of someone else, who perhaps is not offended themselves?

    July 1, 2009 at 15:49

    The burqa is not the problem. Its dramatization is actually the problem and I am not sure the so called Muslim women are in complicity. Its a dress and that is all. Having said that I have a feeling that it is wrong to turn this issue as another case of women molestation. Who is molesting them in the west where there are alternative laws? As for pornography, this is purely private life behind doors and no one advocates its publicity. Publicity is only on the commercial aspect and is not supported by all and sundry.

    They are women right? But this does not make them a special category to me.
    Being rich, or poor, being man or woman is no virtue,
    being a criminal does not deny you the right to be innocent tomorrow. Being innocent does not mean that you don’t have potential to be a criminal either.
    Being white or black is no virtue and equally living in either east or west is useless if you have nothing positive to contribute to society.

    Its the high time we took charge of our reason and responsibility and avoid these void pathetic dramas.

  118. 202 Denise in Chicago
    July 1, 2009 at 15:49

    I find the whole concept of the burqa to be demeaning. However, if a woman wishes to subjugate herself in such an oppressive fashion, I suppose that is her right. However, it should not be allowed in places where security is an issue, such as airports.

  119. 203 Steve in Boston
    July 1, 2009 at 15:49

    Let’s cut through all the nonsense. The issue is not clothing–that’s just a smokescreen. The issue is 5 million Muslims in France refusing to assimilate. If it were just about clothing, then what about other ethnic groups like Hindu Indians or Hasidic Jews who walk around in their own form of “outlandish” costumes?

    The real issue is that Muslims are not “immigrating” to France, they are colonizing France, and threatening to overwhelm its cultural identity. They are not becoming Frenchmen who happen practice the Muslim religion.

    I’m a big believer in the melting pot, which is what America used to be all about. This business of “cultural diversity” is only going to lead to division, competition, and eventually violence, especially if the economy continues to decline.

    Why stand out and make yourself a target? Because of some egalitarian social theory or principal? Because of a sense of entitlement? C’mon, get real. When in France, viva la France, or you’re free to go back to where you came from.

    • 204 Ramesh, India
      July 1, 2009 at 17:52

      Come on steve, you people give them citizenship without making any fuss about Burqa at that time. Now you say they are free to go where they came from. Changing clors!! or getting paranoid!!???

      July 1, 2009 at 18:04

      @ Steve in Boston,

      I thought I was alone on this. That is clear enough. There are better ways of conducting oneself even if you want to protest. Fabrication may not make a good argument and it may lead us in the wrong direction. We can’t deny that France needs to maintain its identity too. This applies to both the French and the Muslims.

  120. 206 Jessica in NYC
    July 1, 2009 at 15:51


    I like the idea of banning all religious symbols from government offices, but that won’t remove religion from influencing policy markers and officials. I don’t see crosses being banned from any government offices. So this is about targeting one group. As long as the women wearing burqas do it of their own free will, then it’s their choice and the western, “free world(s)” should be threaten by it.

    • 207 John (Las Vegas)
      July 1, 2009 at 18:00

      But if it is a religious requirement to dress modestly, is it a free choice? And if the Quran only requires all Muslims to dress modestly, why the burqa? Couldn’t this religious requirement be met in another way? It seems to be more about the culture and less about religion. If that’s the case, can the French ban an aspect of culture?

  121. 208 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2009 at 15:56

    No one should be forced to wear a burqa…but it’s even worse to force them not to.

  122. 209 John in Salem
    July 1, 2009 at 15:57

    It’s not right to legislate what can or can’t be worn but neither should societies be compelled to accept anything anywhere. Personally, I don’t do business with people who blatantly conceal their identity and I’m not about to start trusting anyone who wears a bag over their head to express their faith.
    It doesn’t matter what your intent is – if you wear a clown suit people will laugh at you and if you wear a disguise people will think you’re up to no good.

  123. 210 Tom K in Mpls
    July 1, 2009 at 15:57

    The one and only intelligent political act the French have done in their history was to not support the Iraq invasion. We can thank them for Vietnam. Now you get to see childish behavior from two groups, France and Al Qaeda. Too bad it probably will cost lives. Other than that, it’s a pretty funny situation. Maybe now Sarkozy will face the issue and ignore the symptom.

  124. 211 Methusalem
    July 1, 2009 at 16:01

    Those women in Burqa are deprived of one of the most important Vitamins — Vitamin D. And this is equal to torture.

  125. 212 Linda in Italy
    July 1, 2009 at 16:10

    Sorry Victor, but I have to reply to insist that this is not an Islamophobic rant, I have the same disdain for most religions, and the tabloid spectre you raise of marauding gangs of Muslim men roaming the streets of the UK to prey on innocent young Christian (presumably) virgins is nothing short of BNP rabble-rousing.
    In some ways your argument recalls the cultural differences between Southern and Northern Europe in the 60s and 70s, when the Catholic culture, while it didn’t actually imprison women in burqas did frighten them with hellfire for sex outside marriage and by forbidding, as it still does, any form of contraception, let alone abortion, to handle the biological consequences (no AIDS then). In those days girls visiting the Med on holiday from the UK and Scandinavia in particular were seen as “loose” and to be pursued for fun and games of the trousers off variety because they weren’t allowed anywhere near their own females without a ring on the finger. In reality of course things did go on, but the shotgun marriage was still in vogue. Most of us actually had a ball and forgot about our Latin Lovers as soon as the plane touched down at Gatwick, with no harm done on either side.
    My beef is about precisely that sort of double standard for men and women, regardless of the religion or culture it originates from, so the great burqa-ban debate is, for me, just a symptom of this.

  126. 213 Admiral Akbar
    July 1, 2009 at 16:47

    The burqa is a tool to degrade women, forced upon them by bigoted, oppresive Islamist regimes of the past and presented. France is a Western democracy. It should protect its female citizens from Islamist oppression by banning the burqa because it is designed expressely to violate human rights.

  127. 214 Afya (USA)
    July 1, 2009 at 16:51

    I think that wearing a burqa in public is a security issue (I’m not talking about hijab). I don’t think people should be allowed to completely conceal their bodies (hands/faces/feet) and their identities in any way when in public places for a number of reasons I can think of (bank robberies, suicide bombings, smuggling all matter of contraband, etc.). How easy would it be for women to use religion and privacy as a way to subvert law enforcement. From a cultural point of view, I think covering oneself is a private matter that should be the CHOICE of a woman based on her values. However I think that at least the face should be seen for identification purposes (maybe they could wear sunglasses or something else if they felt exposed).

  128. 215 VictorK
    July 1, 2009 at 16:58

    @Linda: I’m the last person to accuse anybody of ‘Islamophobia’ (which I happen to think is more often than not a perfectly rational response).

    I’m sorry that you think factual statements are ‘BNP rabble rousing’ (isn’t this what WHYS call ‘denigrating other people’s sincerely held views’? It’s certainly not even close to being an argument)

    Oh, and btw, young Sikh girls are also targeted by Muslim sexual predators in our northern cities.

    My objection to the burqua is cultural. It means that, unlike you, I have no difficulty with the burqua, or other traditional Muslim practices, when it occurs in an appropriate cultural setting (i.e. a Muslim country). It needn’t imply a sexual double standard. the point I was making was that the garment may very well be be a useful prophylactic against rape in a certain kind of country, where order is spasmodic, law when it occurs is for sale, and women have never been considered worthy of a man’s respect. It seems to be what Muslims think, and I’m ready to respect their judgement of their own societies.

  129. 216 anna
    July 1, 2009 at 17:07

    That’s not for Mr. Sarkozy to decide. While I don’t agree with the practice, it’s not for a government to legislate what can or cannot be worn.

  130. July 1, 2009 at 17:29

    I’m a bit fed up with all this nonsense about this being about free choice. Islam is not a religion of choice. If the Qur’an, the hadith (sayings of the Prophet) and the books of shari’a law say you have to do something, you have no choice. Hardline interpretations of Islam all insist that women have to wear loose clothes and head coverings, and many of them say a woman should only uncover one eye or wear a full burqa. A woman living in the sort of community where this is the norm has no choice in the matter. This means that some British citizens are deprived of the real freedom to which they are entitled. The burqa/niqab are an insult to many people: to the grandmothers of modern hijab-wearers, many of whom struggled hard, like our suffragettes, to get rid of the veil; to Jewish, Christian and other religious women who are perfectly modest and chaste, but why are described in shari’a rulings as little more than trollops; to men, who are treated as permanently lustful and incapable of resisting sexual temptation of the mildest kind (I have read a fatwa claiming that even a woman’s thumbnail will inspire men with uncontrollable lust). Working in a university for several years, I saw young women on a one-to-one basis every hour, some of them very attractive women. Did I pounce on them, slobber over them, grope them? Of course not. And if I had done even once, I would have been kicked out straight away. The veiling approach to sexual control places all the onus on the woman: why shouldn’t men cover their faces? Or don’t women have sexual feelings? It is a childish, dare I say, neurotic approach to a ‘problem’ that doesn’t exist in any other culture. To treat a thumbnail as a cause of lust is deeply neurotic, and I don’t see why Muslim women should be subject to the whims of the neurotic old men who pass these rulings. We are talking about British citizens here, and I think it utterly wrong to see them controlled in this way, or commanded to stay in their houses and only to leave (covered) with their husband’s permission. That is shari’a too, and it may be a criminal offense, since it is a form of forced imprisonment. A woman can only exercise free choice when she lives in an environment where there are no sanctions if she chooses not to wear a veil. And even where there is free choice, what on earth is that about? To choose to put on a garment that sends out a stark message of separateness, of aloofness from non-Muslims, and of a frankly daft attitude to sex and the human body, and a demeaning attitude to women.

    • 218 Halima Brewer
      July 3, 2009 at 17:38

      spot on. Every word you have said is directly to the point. thanks

      The burqa is as oppressive to men as to women. It implies men have no control over themselves and that sexuality is all powerful and solely in the persona of women. I find it offensive, because it hides the face. – and that has NOTHING to do with religion. I have no objection to the headscarf, apart from finding it ugly. I tried it and found it oppressive too, but that is my own choice.

  131. 219 John (Las Vegas)
    July 1, 2009 at 17:52

    From wikipedia:

    “This type of dress has its origins with desert times long before Islam arrived. It had two functions. Firstly as a sand mask in windy conditions. This would be worn by men and women and is still common today. For women only the masking of the face and body was used when one group was being raided by another. These raids often involved the taking of women of child bearing age. With all women hidden behind a veil, and the home team fighting back, the chances of being taken were substancially reduced as the women of child bearing age could not be quickly distinguished from the very young and the old.”

    It goes on to state that the Quran requires Muslims to dress modestly. Such a requirement could be met in many different ways.

    I find it difficult to reconcile the wearing of the burqa with free choice. The culture in which these women live would seem to severely limit one’s choices. And this may well be the central issue: not religion but culture. The cultural values of the West, despite its own claims, are not universal.

    On a more specific issue: What French laws or constitutional provisions would either allow for or prohibit government regulation of clothing?

  132. 221 John (Las Vegas)
    July 1, 2009 at 17:56

    Another question: What is motivating President Sarkozy to institute the ban?

  133. 222 Mukul, Parsippany NJ
    July 1, 2009 at 17:57

    It will be interesting to see if people supporting Burqa will leave France if it is banned by legislation.

  134. 223 Shannon
    July 1, 2009 at 17:58

    I fully recognize that there are women in some burka-wearing countries who are doctors, professors, lawyers etc., but most burka-wearing women in the west appear to live very restricted lives. Not too many business executives or cadiologists in the bunch.

    Many here in this blog argue that the women are simply honoring their God in the manner they have chosen. In some cases I think that is true. But many (not all) Muslim women who wear burkas are simply obeying fathers, husbands, brothers, uncles etc. who feel free to beat them if they are less covered (including hijab).

    Consider the rash of “honor killings” here in the west that have occured in the past decade or so. People who argue that ALL women who wear the burka “choose” to wear the burka could be right–after all, its certainly more comfortable than bruises, broken bones, or a bullet in the back of the head.

  135. 224 Cassandrina
    July 1, 2009 at 18:05

    Steve in Boston is totally right.

    We have a security problem in the UK because our government encouraged millions of Muslims, their families, and extended families to live in UK, while putting barriers to people that are helping us like the Ghurkas.

    When you live in Moslem countries you have to abide by their rules on dress and habits, and this is right.
    We in the UK are too easy to roll over due to political correctness from this government, and propogated by the bbc.

    People from outside coming to live in UK must assimilate or leave.

  136. 225 John (Las Vegas)
    July 1, 2009 at 18:08

    Welcome to the 21st century! It’s fascinating to read the comments. The burqa is a symbol of how to reconcile different cultural values.

  137. 226 steve
    July 1, 2009 at 18:09

    The announcer just said “the holy Koran”. Would she have said “the Holy bible” or “the Holy Torah”? Me thinks not.

  138. 227 anna
    July 1, 2009 at 18:12

    This is a complex issue. My gut reaction is that the French position is somewhat patronizing and assimilationist (if that’s a word!). The French attitude towards integration, multi-culturalism, or whatever you want to call it has been problematic to put it mildly. I’m shocked that third-generation immigrants (French citizens) still feel excluded and Sarkozy’s position will only contribute to that.

    However, after having said all of this, I find it unsettling when I see a woman covered from head to toe. Why hide a woman’s face? Our faces are our identify. Why do only women wear burqas? Why not Muslim men? However, if women do freely choose to do so, I don’t think that the government should interfere — with a few exceptions, including for employment-reasons or for obtaining/creating identify documents.

  139. July 1, 2009 at 18:13

    between the riots a few years back and this statement, the French have crossed the line between respecting personal Liberties into outright racism by insulting the religion & culture of Islam.

  140. 229 leti in palma
    July 1, 2009 at 18:13

    I don’t think that burqas get a mention in the qoran, but it is a bit creepy to be surrounded by faceless people.
    Religious fancy dress is just that, fancy dress. Spiritual experience? Tosh.

    I don’t much care for the jumped up Sarko.. but he has a point:
    If I went to Riyadh, wouldn’t I be forbidden to walk around in a crop top and shorts?

  141. 230 Mike in Seattle
    July 1, 2009 at 18:16

    Should it be outlawed? No, free speech is an important aspect to human rights.

    At the same time, that same right of free speech allows me to say that choosing to wear shackles doesn’t make one any less enslaved.

  142. 231 puneri2009
    July 1, 2009 at 18:17

    Finally the war on burqa has started. An important step in the civil rights moment.

  143. 232 Patrick from nyc
    July 1, 2009 at 18:17

    Why are we discussing this AGAIN! I’m tired of this subject.

    Lots of women who wear a Burqa say it is by choice. It is my experience they are brain washed into thinking this way. I’ve heard so many ludicrous arguments. Just forbid any garment that hides someone’s face, man or woman.

    By the way it is not part of religion otherwise it would have been mentioned in scripture. That is fact!

  144. 233 Justin from Iowa
    July 1, 2009 at 18:17

    Adding my agreement with the idea that the government can’t regulate this. The rights which modern western countries grant you allow the individual person to make the choice whether to wear or not to wear any religious item. The enforcement of THAT right is what should be emphasized. By trying to force people not to wear something, is a rape of their private choices and personal self. The provision of choices is the important thing here. The woman should be able to decide. Not their husbands, their brothers, fathers, or the GOVERNMENT.

  145. 234 John (Las Vegas)
    July 1, 2009 at 18:18

    If wearing the burqa is a sign of religious devotion, are there other ways that Muslim women can honor their god? Why is the it a sign of worship to cover oneself?

  146. July 1, 2009 at 18:18

    Has it ever been a good thing; when a religion becomes a crutch for a culture? Particularly a culture that may be in a period of decline. I do not think so. Whether its the Southern States of America that mold Christianity in their vision to somehow justify slavery. Or the mostly Arab countries of the Middle East shaping Islam into opressing women. Its no good at all!

  147. July 1, 2009 at 18:20

    The guest who is explaining the fact that some scholarly views in Islam consider it to be required to cover the face does come from a somewhat factual basis. The Hanbali madhhab of Sunni Islam considers it obligatory – though I don’t remember the exact Arabic term (“fard” or “wajib”), The Hanafi madhhab considers it wajib, which in Sunni Islam means that some factor not explicitly laid out in the Qur’an or Sunnah has rendered it necessary to cover the face. Most Sunni `ulama do consider it acceptable to open the face in the West. Some even encourage it. The Salafists, of course, have strayed to the point where they consider it fard, meaning that they have (mis)interpreted the Qur’an and Sunnah as explicitly requiring a woman to cover her face. http://www.sunnipath.com has some information about the various perspectives within Sunni Islam.

  148. July 1, 2009 at 18:20

    She not allowed!!! What a shame!

  149. 238 Chrissy in Portland
    July 1, 2009 at 18:21

    To quote another blogger.. “The Burka will never be welcome in the developed world as long as Muslims are associated with suicide bombings and terrorism.” If people are forced to take them off against their will, do you not think that will encourage anti-western sentiments? Would they be justified?

    I have family in Amman, Jordan. Some of the women in my family wear the jilbab and hijab while others wear western clothes. I would say that my family in Jordan is generally conservative, but none of the women in my family have ever been forced or told to cover up. The ones that do, do so completely of their own free will. I have an aunt who refused to wear a hijab and only recently (in her late 50’s) has decided to wear one. The assumption that all people wearing a burqa, jilbab or hijab are wearing one because they are being forced to wear one is completely wrong.

  150. 239 Geoff in Tennessee
    July 1, 2009 at 18:22

    In Tennessee a burqa would be illegal. It is illegal to cover your face in this state for securuty reasons. In the 19th and 20th centuries, a group called the Ku Klux Klan terrorized people of color, Catholics and anyone else who they did not like. The Klan members wore masks based on European eclesiastical garb. The Klan laws outlawed any face covering, to protect the public. While freedom of religion is important in the US, there is a difference between what is appropriate in the public and private spheres. The French have the right to have regulations about the public sphere.

  151. 240 Reverend Wallace Ryan
    July 1, 2009 at 18:22

    I’m not surprised at Sarkozy’s attack on Islamic culture but I am disappointed. I’ve found that a lot of people in the European Community hold very hostile opinions of other cultures and peoples outside the borders of the EU. I think Europeans have to look long and hard at this Euro-Racism that taints their world with a pathological sense of self-importance and superiority. This sickness applies not only to attacks on the Muslim world but also to the attacks on the North American Natives by Europeans for their way of life.

    I think Europe has to open their eyes to this cancer that is more of a true threat to equality than any veil could ever be…

  152. 241 steve
    July 1, 2009 at 18:22

    Will Nuns in France not be allowed to cover their hair anymore?

  153. 242 Mark Sandell
    July 1, 2009 at 18:24

    Denise in SF, listening on KALW

    Chinese women at one time looked forward to having their feet bound. Would we modern women tolerate such a custom?

  154. 243 John (Las Vegas)
    July 1, 2009 at 18:25

    Are there limits to toleration?

    When should a society not tolerate differences?

    If the burqa is allowed out of tolerating difference, what should be prohibited?

    And, if the burqa is banned, on what principle? What else could be banned for the same reason?

    • 244 Tom K in Mpls
      July 1, 2009 at 19:42

      Finally!!! Someone that can see that this whole debate is nonsense! There *is* no right answer. Not only that, but as usual, people pick on a silly symptom and ignore the real questions.

      Thank you John.

  155. 245 stephen/ portland, Oregon
    July 1, 2009 at 18:26

    I think it should be someone’s choice to wear what you want.

    BUT I really believe that woman are not treated with the respect and sensitivity that they deserve in the countries that have this culture. This is obviously an idea originally created by MEN.

  156. 246 Manas Gupta
    July 1, 2009 at 18:28

    If Burqa is about freedom of choice then we should remember that with freedom comes responsibility. Burqa is an attire that screams “I am different”, “Stay away from me”, I think it is the responsibility of all muslims to dress with other people in mind.

    People don’t move around the streets wearing swim wear or bikini, they only wear it at the pool or at the beach. Similarly people don’t move around wearing Nazi uniform with a prominent swastika since that is intolerant to other people’s feelings.

    Because of these reasons Burqa should not be allowed.

  157. July 1, 2009 at 18:28

    I’m an American. At the beginning of the Iraq war, I taught Englisn in a predominantly Muslim high school outside of Paris. I was ashamed of my country’s actions toward the Islamic world but I was also very proud to come from a place that embraces diversity, including the burka.

    The French, by contrast, have a condescending attitude toward immigrants. They believe that when you’re in France, you should instantaneously become French – whatever that means.

    That being said, I’m a feminist and I appreciate France’s commitment to secularism. Although I tend to have strong opinions on nearly everything, I came away from my time in France unable to take a side on this issue.

  158. 248 A.J.
    July 1, 2009 at 18:30

    It is not acceptable that any woman be forced or physically or psychologically “persuaded” to wear burqa or hijab. It can be and often is a way for men to exert their dominance over and impose their will upon women. However, if it is entirely the choice of the women, for religious reasons or out of modesty, then it is no one’s business but theirs’. It is when it becomes a question of being FORCED, to either cover or not cover, that it may be considered a problem into which others may feel the need to interject their opinion. As much as some may wish to express their opinions on the matter, we must also take care not to be seen as non-Muslim meddlers.

  159. 249 Nadine (san francisco-KALW)
    July 1, 2009 at 18:32

    I agree with many of the posters here. Funny how when women “choose” not to wear much it’s not a problem.

    I’m an American woman who has actually worn a burqa while in Pakistan. I travelled there on business often and had to visit a clothing factory in the country. My co-worker, a Pakistani woman. Said we could dress the same as we did in Lahore but thought I’d like the experience.

    She was right. My eye were not covered. People looked me in the eye, and listened to what I had to say. The amount of respect was probably due to the fact that I was an American but not being judged by my body or fashion was liberating.

    As my former co-worker put it, “I’d rather be covered head to toe than an 40 years old wearing lowrise jeans and push up bra to be treated with so-called respect.”

  160. 250 Mukul, Parsippany NJ
    July 1, 2009 at 18:32

    If a French fashion house launched a winter Burqa collection then maybe it would become acceptable.
    Don’t like burqa on the ground of inequality, why women alone should have the freedom of ogle men incognito.
    We know there are female stalkers. It would be difficult to enforce a restraining order.

  161. 251 Afya (USA)
    July 1, 2009 at 18:33

    I wonder if women who are considered Muslim by blood (father is a muslim) feel more pressure to cover or to wear a burqa than those who are converts (Western or otherwise) or not Muslim by blood.

    ** I understand that one is truly a muslim by way of faith/belief, however, it is commonly believed that if you are born into a Muslim family by patriarchal blood then you are a Muslim. If you decide to convert to another or no religion, you could be ostricized or worse become a victim of ‘honor killing’. So don’t write me nasty e-mails. 🙂

  162. 252 edd browne
    July 1, 2009 at 18:33

    The burka is a security issue.
    You can’t have face identity concealed in this world.

    • 253 Tom K in Mpls
      July 1, 2009 at 19:45

      And once again I have to ask, can you identify the face of a terrorist? I can’t. And since automatic biometric systems are not yet in place, why is this an issue?

  163. 254 CJ McAuley
    July 1, 2009 at 18:34

    Yes, for a large part of getting the measure of any person is seeing their face when they talk to you! The saddest thing is that secular/capitalist societies have not shown themselves to be adequate for an increasing number of their citizens. Marx did have one thing right: religion is the opiate of the masses!!!

  164. 255 Ahmed motayed
    July 1, 2009 at 18:34

    My point of view about Burqa , there is 2 part of it. if u see it frm the Religion, then all women should cover their private part of body frm other people. but if u see it frm human rights, then its up to women only.

  165. 256 Patricia WILLIAMS
    July 1, 2009 at 18:34

    In the last two or three years France has experienced several incidents where Muslim women have lost their lives or been seriously disfigured – burned – by family members because they either appeared in public unveiled and/or conversing with males who were not related to them. Hence France has a problem to cope with that perhaps you have not experienced in the UK.

  166. 257 Ralph
    July 1, 2009 at 18:36

    Until recently, Catholic nuns wore habits like the burka (which they got from the Middle East in the Crusades!). Perhaps the burka would be more palatable to Sarkozy and other “Christians” if muslim women were allowed to dress as nuns!
    I doubt, incidentally, that Sarkozy would ever dare to ban the Jewish skullcap!

  167. 258 puneri2009
    July 1, 2009 at 18:36

    If a non-mulim woman walking on the street in Saudi Arabia is required to wear a burqa then a muslim walking on the street in France can be required to take it off.

  168. 259 Anna
    July 1, 2009 at 18:37

    I think it is worth clarifying what people mean when they say ‘force’. Force is not necessarily the threat of physical violence or anything overt; it is often a subtle coercion that operates unconsciously.

    For example, I had an eating disorder in college, not because anyone told me ‘You’ll never get a date if you’re not skinny’, but because I internalized that message as I was growing up in New York City.

    I’ve lived now for the greater part of the last seven years in the Middle East and North Africa. When I was living in Cairo in 2006 – 2007, many people and media outlets noted the rise in the percentage of Egyptian women taking the veil, estimating it was reaching 90% (similar estimates applied to the number of women undergoing female genital mutiliation.) In Egypt the same subtle forces of coercion seemed to apply – no one was telling women ‘veil or else’, but messages from a variety of sources – perhaps family members, news media, friends, neighbors, religious leaders and opinion makers – implied that if they did not, they would be judged negatively.

    It is often not a positive instance of ‘force’ that compels women (and men) to do things, but the consequences of what will happen if they don’t.

  169. 260 Tamara (Lubbock, TX)
    July 1, 2009 at 18:37

    I am most uncomfortable by women who wear skimpy clothing like tube tops, low cut tops, and skirts way too short. But if the government were to ban bikinis, there would be no discussion–everyone would be against it and complain that the government has no right to ban clothing. The same is true of the other extreme. Banning one extreme is no better than banning the other.

    • 261 puneri2009
      July 1, 2009 at 18:44

      The difference in wearing skimpy clothing and wearing a burqa is that no one forces women to wear skimpy clothing.

  170. 262 Martin
    July 1, 2009 at 18:38

    Religious freedom is not such a clear-cut right. In several Muslim countries, woman are stoned to death if they have been “unfaithful”. In western countries we do not allow that horrible act to happen, even if it would fall into “religious freedom”.

  171. 263 Joseph Swift
    July 1, 2009 at 18:39

    We have to remember that ‘choice’ and ‘belief’ are virtues that are not decided by a free conscious. Our values are installed in each of us at a young age – simply by removing the burqa will not change the internal oppression that has existed from a youthful age (and will continue to exist).

  172. 264 John
    July 1, 2009 at 18:40

    Your face identifies who you are, an individudal, a human being. To cover your face is to deny your identity, your individuality, your humanity

  173. 265 steve
    July 1, 2009 at 18:42

    If France decided to ban fat people from wearing spandex, then I would support that. We sure could use that. There’s a bit of overexposure by women here in the west.

  174. 266 John (Las Vegas)
    July 1, 2009 at 18:43

    It seems that those guests in favor of wearing the burqa or niqab are expressing an intolerance.

  175. 267 steve
    July 1, 2009 at 18:45

    Your caller from the UK says that Muslim men impose their will on muslim women. I have question for him, has he ever told his wife to not buy something that she wanted to buy? In that case, do christian men impose their will on christian women?

  176. 268 Mary
    July 1, 2009 at 18:46

    listening to you online from work in Portland Oregon…

    it should be a choice. Nuns choose to wear the habit. Its their choice to become a nun and wear the garb. The Muslim women should have a choice. France should not restrict the choice of any one to do things that are not harming any one. Just as the People of Islam shouldn’t force their women to wear the garb if they dont want..

    Freedom of choice should be ok in all areas. Not just some.

    i love your program.. thank you.

  177. 269 John (Las Vegas)
    July 1, 2009 at 18:46

    Tahir’s husband already answered the question if Muslim men determine their wives’ behavior. He said earlier that if his wife chose not to where the burqa, he would “counsel” her to study her religion until she understood properly.

  178. 270 globalcomedy
    July 1, 2009 at 18:47

    These women who want to wear a burqa know about the French policy of “we’re all French”, correct? Observing your traditions to a point is ok. But they choose to live in France, and not the Middle East. Which means the face, visual cues, etc. are an intergral part of French culture. Is asking to see someone’s face when speaking to them rude? Maybe in other countries. But if you choose to live in France, please adapt.

  179. July 1, 2009 at 18:47

    I disagree with Amjad. How a woman dresses or does not dress does not increase or decrease the rate of rape. Women are raped every day in Pakistan, Somalia, Saud Arabia, etc.; and it is not because they exposed an ankle or something stupid like that. It is because the rapists, like Western rapists, want to control women and feel that they can only achieve gratification by raping women. Rape is a control issue, not a sexual issue. Anyone who knows an PUNCE of psychology knows this. See my Facebook note for more of my thoughts.

    I enjoy covering my face, in spite of the protestations against it by the men in my life. The callers who are assuming that we women in the West all cover our faces because a man in our lives forces us to need to get a serious reality check.

  180. 272 Lisa from Pennsylvania, US
    July 1, 2009 at 18:49

    Banning burkas sets a dangerous precedent. Other religious garb could now be banned in the future such as yarmulkes, crosses, etc. As long as you’re not hurting yourself or someone else with the way you dress it should not be banned.

    If this was purely a security issue (putting people at risk of terrorism or even escaped convicts because burkas obscure the face), then I would have no problem with such a decision Although again, if you go down the route of banning burkas for safety, then big sunglasses or even hats may be the next articles of clothing to be banned.

  181. 273 reid
    July 1, 2009 at 18:49

    Sarkozy should also ban the shaving of womens body hair, high heels, and mini skirts. These are all forms of oppression by men on womens bodies and most women in france have a choice to participate, much like women with burka’s in france. In the east women must cover up for men, in the west women must bare skin.

  182. 274 eva
    July 1, 2009 at 18:49

    I would feel more confident that Sarkozy has women’s rights at heart if he were to propose that women should not be obliged to cover their breasts in public.

  183. 275 Ralph
    July 1, 2009 at 18:49

    History constantly shows us that politics and religion do not mix!

  184. 276 Scott [M]
    July 1, 2009 at 18:49

    Considering most countries that are Muslim discriminate openly against other lifestyles and ways of thinking, means they have no ground to argue against this morally. But French Muslims can argue against this. But the question is where do we draw the line with freedom of religion? Clearly we draw it somewhere, when it violates other laws, so why not here? We would not allow a child or wife to be enslaved by their family. But what if the women wants to wear it? It seems hard to make a case against it. You could perhaps argue that it violates the rights of equality between sexes, but still, if it is a choice and can be demonstrated as such, what can we do?

    I think we should just remove the freedom of religion, because it doesn’t deserve special freedoms.

  185. 277 amir
    July 1, 2009 at 18:50

    Some Muslim countries demand a certain dress code from foreign visitors. Isn’t it right that a non-Muslim country can also have certain codes?

  186. 279 Mark R
    July 1, 2009 at 18:51

    What the previous caller stated:

    (In regard to the muslim men who do not allow their wives to wear the coverings)

    “Muslim men dictate what the women are wearing and that’s sexist and controlling and unjust”

    Isn’t that was the French president is doing?

  187. 280 Tom D Ford
    July 1, 2009 at 18:52

    I note that many people claim to speak for “God” but “God” does not speak for himself.

    Until “God” presents himself I invite people to only speak for themselves.

  188. 281 steve
    July 1, 2009 at 18:54

    In short, if you are opposed to wearing a burqa, then don’t wear one. Case closed. You have no business telling others what to do.

  189. 282 Denton
    July 1, 2009 at 18:55

    All nations should neither penalize nor encourage the wearing of burqa. Over the centuries, it has evolved from a form of cultural dress to a form of dress which SOME Muslims regard as religiously-mandated. Therefore, the motives for its use are completely ambiguous and should be left to individual choice.

  190. 283 Tom D Ford
    July 1, 2009 at 18:57

    Nobody gets to drive an army tank down the street just because it it their choice and the government also has the right to legislate certain kinds of clothing.

  191. 284 Ethan Davis
    July 1, 2009 at 18:58

    American student just returned to US after a year abroad in Paris:
    “In France, an incredible number of people believe that, just as wearing a burqa is a right, it is also the right of those who are not Muslims to not be exposed to proselytism against their will. Many French believe that someone wearing a religious symbol is an attempt to push that person’s religion on others, and for that, they are against religious symbols, especially the burqa.” If Sarkozy is being particularly contrary to the burqa among religious symbols, maybe he is making an indirect commentary against the increasingly surprising immigration of Muslims into France?

  192. 285 Christine (Portland, OR)
    July 1, 2009 at 18:58

    So much of human interaction is based on facial expressions. When talking to a woman in a burqa, I’m going to miss that non-verbal feedback.

    When I see a woman in a burqa, I feel like she is trying to cut herself off from the community around her. It’s like she is saying “I”m holier than you; I’m better than you. Even though I’m living in a society, I want to interact with you as little as possible.” It’s isolating.

  193. 286 leti in palma
    July 1, 2009 at 18:58

    can some one please explain to me what exactly is spiritual about covering up?
    what spiritual “freedom” is gained?
    after all, “your maker” made you naked…thers NOTHING wrong with your body..!!!

  194. 287 Scott in Portland
    July 1, 2009 at 19:01

    I do not think Sarkozy was justified in his statement. There are two issues that are potentially in conflict. Religious freedom and protection of women. How does the French (or any government) stop husbands from forcing women to wear any kind of garment while also allowing women the freedom of choice to wear their head garment if they so choose? I believe the answer does not lie in a ban on head scarves. Instead, other awareness programs, domestic protection organizations, should be protected to advocate for, and give resources to, women who are being commanded/controlled by their husbands.

    I do now know my islamic theology well enough to speak to the legitimacy of women wearing a headscarf or not. I do not, personally, believe that people should cover themselves, but I very strongly believe that one should be allowed to wear what they want.

  195. 288 Perplexed
    July 1, 2009 at 19:03

    Why on earth do you cut people off that are bringing relavant historical reference from Qu’ran?? Cutting off people on the show to ramble on about everyone on the show should be “respecting history” and not allowing the historical reading from the Qu’ran is totally disrespectful and goes against the hole purpose of the show to LET PEOPLE HAVE THEIR SAY!!!! Get over this push, push, push, volume means nothing to the debate, if you do not let people make their point! The annouceer today was dreadful…and in error on this point, way outside the line…

  196. 289 Ghassan
    July 1, 2009 at 19:04

    The Burqa is nothing but a statement of oppression instated by insecure men who still believe men are superior to women. It is fundamentalist in nature and followed by extremist sects that hold no resemblance to Islam or its divine values.

  197. 290 Tom D Ford
    July 1, 2009 at 19:04

    I am not surprised that so many women argue to continue being victims and wear the oppressive burqas, I have studied that phenomenon in psychology and seen it on a jury.

    It often takes great courage to stop being a victim and like Michael Jackson sang, “make that change”.

  198. 291 patti in cape coral
    July 1, 2009 at 19:05

    My question is, what would be the penalty if a woman refused to wear the Al Hijab (?) or burqa. There would be no penalties imposed by France, obviously, but what would happen within her marriage or community? Would she be divorced, excommunicated, shunned? Or would nothing happen?

  199. 292 Sean Meyer
    July 1, 2009 at 19:05

    What is wrong about the burqa is that it represents a mentality that is regressive and not conducive to free thought and progress. It represents a culture and way of thinking that is obsolete, superstitious and overly-religious. Religions perpetuate the mentality that people must follow rules without questioning them. The French are trying to speak out against this fundamentalist mentality that is stiffling progress throughout the world. I applaud the French president for attempting to challenge a culture that is archaic and far too reliant on religion.

  200. 293 Anthony
    July 1, 2009 at 19:06

    Please please please NO MORE BURQA TALK!!! I think N Korea starting a nuclear war is MUCH more important 🙂

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  201. 294 Sean Meyer
    July 1, 2009 at 19:06

    please continue this topic tomorrow.

  202. 295 John (Las Vegas)
    July 1, 2009 at 19:08

    I think it was a great discussion.

    Instead of addressing the same question of whether the French should ban the burqa or not, I think you should broaden the discussion. One of the questions at the center of the debate on the burqa is how to reconcile conflicting cultural values?

    Partly this debate is fueled by the immigration from the developing to the developed world, which requires the countries of the developed world to adjust to changed circumstances. In the US, there are similar debates of the use of other languages than English in public documents and public schools. This intolerance of immigrants is nothing new to the US; it is the other side of the coin that has valued the diversity. Europe, an historic emigrant culture, is new to the question of adjusting to immigrants.

    Beyond the borders of the Eurocentric world, there remains the question of the universality of Western values, if not their validity then how they are interpreted and applied. With the rise of China and India, and the relataive decline of the Atlantic world, this will be the prevelant issue for decades to come.

  203. 296 Scott [M]
    July 1, 2009 at 19:09

    If you are a member of any faith-based religion (by choice) you lose a fundamental credibility to argue as a rational person. You can’t possibly be considered reasonably intelligent in any way that matters if you believe in religion. Because on the fundamental questions of life you have chosen to believe in something with no evidence. In any other parallels of thought you would be considered foolish. People should be allowed to wear the burqa because it is a scarlet letter, that lets the world easily decipher, who is blind to reason and logic.

  204. 297 patti in cape coral
    July 1, 2009 at 19:20

    Does this mean that Muslims believe that people are incapable of modest behavior unless women are covered up?

  205. 298 Sarah, Cleveland Ohio
    July 1, 2009 at 19:23

    Clothing in western cultures reflects their values, and their human relationships. Some nudists honestly believe nudity in public should be allowed. Burkas also are a statement of beliefs. Just as public nudity is considered inappropriate, likewise burkas are an offense, since they imply female subjugation (even if they are not), suggesting inappropriate male interest in their bodies. Surely this is an insult to men. It must also irritate many western women, including myself, who resent the implication that the men of their country -whether strangers, their colleagues, or their family members and spouses – represent an ongoing threat to unveiled women.

  206. 299 Antoine Roederer
    July 1, 2009 at 19:43

    Mr Sarkozy seems to forget that the the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (France 1789) defined Liberty (of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity) in its Article 4 as follow:

    “Liberty consists of being able to do anything that does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every man or woman has no bounds other than those that guarantee other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights.”

    If there was a referendum asking people if wearing a burqua does harm others or not, I guess the majority would agree that it does not.

    The problem is more the question of equality between men and women in certain respected religions and its compatibility with French law. It is not the burqa.
    But I am French and I remember a time where in christian weddings in France women were told to be submitted to their husbands and where my mother could not open a bank account without my father’s permission……
    So let people wear what they want!

  207. 300 Jim Newman
    July 1, 2009 at 19:54

    Hello again
    Don’t you think the subject’s just about been thrashed to death.
    The whole world and uncle Tom Cobbley and all seem to have chipped in at some moment or other.
    I would have liked to have heard more from the Sharia judge as he was the Muslim expert, but he didn’t have time to develop his argument. For me a program like that is more a learning program than a participating program.

  208. 301 Nathaniel in Indianapolis
    July 1, 2009 at 19:54

    Personally I think that the pressuring of women to wear burqas degrades them and is oppression, however the idea that the government can dictate what is acceptable in clothing is equally appalling. I think the intent to reduce burqa use is a good and noble aim, however it is a thing to be accomplished culturally, not legally. Enforce laws protecting women’s rights and encourage Islamic women to participate in society and I think one could reduce burqa use without any force. But if one wants to live in a liberal democracy one must accept that some people will always wear these garments and that is ultimately their choice.

  209. 302 Kim Johnson
    July 1, 2009 at 20:28

    The burqu is the symobo for backwardness, oppression. These women can wear this in Pakistan, Afghanistan or go back to where they came from. He is right to ban and he should ban all moslems from coming to France.

  210. 303 Iva
    July 1, 2009 at 20:58

    I am a woman and I cannot agree more!
    I don’t want to see burqa on the streets as much as I don’t want to see prostitutes.
    I don’t want to explain to my daughter any of the two.
    This has nothing to do with region or human rights.
    It is a statement and I don’t want anyone making that statement in the free world where I believe I live.
    If I go to Saudi Arabia I cannot hug my husband in public place or wear a short trouser/skirt, so when someone with that culture/origin comes over here they need to adapt to our mentality and dressing culture.

  211. 304 Sean Meyer
    July 1, 2009 at 21:35

    The argument over the Burqa represents a battle between 2 mentalities. This is a battle that has been fought for years and is becoming more heated recently. It is the battle between religion and logic…the use of the burqa represents a religious mentality in which people rely on false fairy tales and arbitrary traditions to guide their principles, rather than logic and reasoning.

    Societies that are very religious tend to have more conflict and tend to be very oppressive. The French are simply trying to challenge religion in hopes that is may make people start to question religion more and start to ask themselves why they blindly follow certain beliefs that make no sense.

  212. 305 Tanya
    July 1, 2009 at 22:15

    Sarkozy only made Ted Nugent’s words more legitimate– “You can’t do that in France.” That’s a shame.

  213. 306 GEORGE
    July 1, 2009 at 22:39

    How do you identify a person who is wearing the burqa?

    What happens when a person ( man or woman?) who is wearing the burqa enters a bank? What happens when a person wearing a ‘balaclava’ enters a bank?

    These situations are identical and yet most people would react differently to them.

    All the arguments in favour of wearing a burqa, whether for religious reasons or otherwise, apply to people hiding their faces behind a balaclava.

    In an open society personal identification is important.

  214. July 1, 2009 at 23:24

    I agree with the French President Sarkozy. The Burga is symbolic of the Islamic religion’s intolerance towards women’s rights.

  215. 308 GEORGE
    July 1, 2009 at 23:30

    Why is freedom denied to western women to wear what they like when they are in most middle eastern countries? Why do western women have to cover themselves in these ‘free’ middle eastern countries? What happens to them if they do not? Why are the freedoms which are so strongly demanded in Europe not similarly applied in middle eastern countries?

  216. 309 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 1, 2009 at 23:54

    As I’ve been saying the the wearing of the burqa is a security issue for me and nothing else. I’ll be willing to bet that Al Qaeda will some day try this tactic in the West. Concealment of a bomb. Check the website. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8119446.stm

  217. 310 Nigel
    July 2, 2009 at 00:40

    The West of which Sarcozy is part continues to bleat on about Arab nations becoming democratic and Muslim countries introducing the related freedom of religion which of course would open the dooor to Christian conversion. While this is going on Sarcozy is saying that in France you cannot be free to express your religious beliefs in certain ways and remember that it started before the most recent foray on the Burqua…….it started with Hijab which only covers the hair. Is this duplicity or what?

  218. 311 roxana
    July 2, 2009 at 03:36

    I think that respect peoples religions is OK but if you go to live to another country , you have to respect those people customs too. We , the inmigrants, should not take with us all our contry’s customs. One thing is respecto muslims and other thing is that we have to see women all in black , for me is pathetic when is 40C outside , or talking with somedy that only shows her eyes. So respect them , but they shoul respecto their new contry custom too.

    I don’t think that in any muslim contry they allow people that not respect going inside their church without cover it because is not our custom , so is the same.

  219. 312 viola
    July 2, 2009 at 03:39

    Men should fight their wars with their own bodies and leave women’s bodies alone. Women should not be required to carry the burden of maintaining any culture whose men have pretty much abandoned it in favor of modern goodies. I see that pattern all over the world.

  220. 313 Mashal
    July 2, 2009 at 05:23

    I dont think so that borqa something forced by people in Afghanistan. Im from Afghanistan, then i dont think some one else from the other countries will know more than me.Of course borqa is mentioned in Islam to wear, but women must wear Hejab because this is incombent in Islam, so there is any option for women not to wear Hejab, so those saying that the women must show there indentiy to the people or the socity, then this is not the way of showing your identity. And what Mr. Sarkozy said is totally incorrect, it’s cruel upone muslime and no one of the muslims will tolerate that. If you think that he is right, then what is the difference between Mr. Sarkozy and Taliban? If so, then Taliban forced women to wear Borqa and they were wrong and Mr. Sarkozy force people not to wear even a simple well?

  221. 314 Mashal
    July 2, 2009 at 05:25

    I will again mention that Borqa is not mentioned in Islam, but the women must wear Hejab because that is an incombent and it’s not something optional.

  222. 315 Mashal
    July 2, 2009 at 05:26

    I hope we have the same topic tonight.

  223. 316 Matiullah
    July 2, 2009 at 05:34

    i am from afghanistan living in a town our women are happy to wear burqa .
    i am not agree with the comments of Sarkozy.islam not force you to wear burqa
    but you have to wear hejab
    why the women in the west wearing only underwear and brestband it is also haram in the Christianity in jewsh religion
    why he is not protecting those kind of thing
    we are Muslims we have to follow the saying of our Allah and Mohammad

  224. 317 Pragya Gurung from Kathmandu
    July 2, 2009 at 05:59

    I agree with Bob…we shud totally respect peoples individual choice of wt they want to wear……..burqa or no burqa..its absolutely wrong to ban women from wearing burqa if its their own choice….howver it is a totally diffn aspect if they are forced to do so… Sarkozy definitely has put a question mark in his ability in handling this issue!!!!

  225. 318 Pragya Gurung from Kathmandu
    July 2, 2009 at 06:18

    And also regarding Pancha Chandra’s comment about respecting the customs of the host country, i think it has to be vice versa..right ..i totally agree with the saree example…i personally feel that saree is one outfit that complements the womens body most ….but just imagine if it is banned in european and american countries because its restricts thier movements????lol

  226. 319 Aboy calledhate
    July 2, 2009 at 06:36

    I don’t know, wearing something like the burqas in a some places could be construed as nothing more then an attempt be shocking / alarming and draw attention to yourself. In the Bible weren’t Gods people instructed to try and fit in when going into other lands. Not morally and spiritualy of course but I mean socially? Why dress in a way that you know is going to be frightening to the indigenous people. Just seems rude to me and kind of mean.

  227. 320 Jr
    July 2, 2009 at 07:36

    Given that the burqa is a symbol of oppression and unjust authority, even if such authority is willingly accented to, I side with Sarkozy on this issue. Having said that, consider those who do not view the burqa as a symbol of oppression, but view it as an expression of a social value, such as modesty. Would preventing a person, in this context, from wearing a burqa be a violation of her exorcise of free speech and religion? Would such a violation be of less importance than the the message of oppression conveyed in the burqa.

    In my country, U.S, I can’t say if it would be accepted, but the 1st amendment would protect a person’s right to wear a burqa.

  228. 321 Ann
    July 2, 2009 at 13:09

    Wow – I clearly missed a heated debate!!! My two pennies worth…

    At the risk of being obvious. It’s all about fear, power and control.

    The burqu debate is steeped in Islamophobia – note we’re not talking about head-coverings in other religions. And Muslim reactions are understandable because it is an attack on their culture and freedoms. Religious tolerance is up for grabs – lets be honest, France is becoming increasinly racist, most particularly towards Muslims – same too in Holland.

    But it’s also an attack on religion per se – Muslim women are an easy target. Shame on those secular fundamentalists!

    And then there’s the issue how the burqa is understood within Islam itself – there is no doubt that there is repression of women in Islam. And this needs to be addressed, JUST as the oppression and denegration of women all over the world! It’s not just a Muslim problem. But some women also have the choice to wear what they want and it is an important symbol of their faith. No one should the right to take that away – they have a right to be furious.

    Sarkozy has weighed into the mire of all these issue with two left feet and he’s got the reaction that was inevitable from Al Qaeda! Nice work! Better step up security in France Sarkozy.

  229. 322 Rick T.
    July 2, 2009 at 15:11

    Why is here no-one to say that the women are wearing it to make a political statement, a publicity for the expansion of their religion. That is the main message with the Burqa in the West!

  230. 323 Daniela Delgarbo
    July 2, 2009 at 18:13

    I think no cloth makes a better Muslim or Christian that’s why Jesus never talks about any sort of cloth. All the rest is a sort of fetishism (fetish) Ego problem and Ego suppression on woman.
    We have to work in our hart and behavior

  231. 324 Halima Brewer
    July 3, 2009 at 17:26

    yes. covering the face is a form of deception. It has nothing to do with religion but yes, it does have something to do with oppression of women, no matter what those who “choose” to wear it insist. If someone wants to cover their face, then no passport, no interaction with others from other cultures is possible. I agree with Sarkozy.

  232. 325 Tarique
    July 4, 2009 at 03:38

    Simply, men and women are naturally not equal in physical stature. For example, women have monthly period wherever men do not have. Now, let’s look at the Islamic dress code for male and female. The obligatory parts to cover for men are from naval to knee. But men can not go to anywhere wearing just a shorts. They have to follow Islamic etiquette.

    By the way, there are two paradigms for woman regarding dressing viz. indoor and outdoor coverings. Woman has to cover everything except their face, fingers and feet when she goes to outdoor activities. But anybody who wishes to cover more than the prescribed one is welcome. For indoor activities, dress code is liberal provided that there is no one who is eligible to marry her(gairi muharram).
    Let’s come to the issue that whether women should wear hijab/veil/burka or not. I am not belligerent to Mr. Sarkozy since he does not have any knowledge regarding Islamic dress code, but I do know he does surely know what the Christian nuns should wear. Look, nuns cover their body due to religious obligation not for the European tradition, so do the Muslim women.

  233. 326 Prof. Brian Bevan
    July 4, 2009 at 10:43


  234. July 4, 2009 at 12:33

    First I think you need to understand that Sarkozy is speaking for himself on this matter. He was not elected to comment on this subject so talking about his point of view being the pov of (all/majority of)French people is not accurate. I commented earlier on this matter pointing out that the president does not deal with the matter in its religious/ theological context if he had said the same thing about priests wearing cassocks he would have been considered mad. And that is the point: knowledge is the crucial issue and that requires an informed public debate such as we had in France about the euro or the Lisbon treaty. The burqa is just as important as any other human matter and should be treated accordingly.

  235. 328 kuwaitmirage
    July 6, 2009 at 22:15

    Ban SarKozY !

  236. 329 wendymann
    July 7, 2009 at 11:24

    interestingly research indicates that people are more susceptible to being deceived if they can view the face of the person they are speaking to rather than if they are only listening to a person and cannot view the face.

    as for security, it is a non issue , one cannot determine the nature of the person solely through the way they look, and a terrorist will seek any way possible to commit their crimes regardless of any dress code.

    as long as women are available to confirm the identity of a person in a burka what is the difficulty?

    whats curious is the fact that so many people claim to feel intimidated. i have to ask why? if i chose to wear glasses, an hat and a neck-scarf as many women in the west do , you would see even less of my face and yet there is no call for the banning of glasses, hats or neck scarfs.

    its weird how bigotry works.

  237. 330 amber
    July 18, 2009 at 07:55

    I agree with Sarkozy because he has the courage to say burqas are archaic and demean women. I have traveled all over the east and all the women I spoke with secretly told me they hate these clothes. Women must wear the out of fear from men. Women have NO (or very little rights) in muslim countries. They are dependent on men for access to their children, to drive, to go outside, for financial support and to socialize. They must even eat after men eat. This practice has evolved out of a practice of controlling women with fear and violence. It is ingrained in the consciousness of women to NEVER oppose men or they will be beaten or arrested like Iran/Saudi Arabia where they have clothes police that target women.
    Women, when beaten usually stay with their abusers until they can resolve the instilled fear and lack of confidence to separate from control and violence. This instilled practice based on violence is no different.
    In Saudi Arabia/Iran the women are forced to wear black (the color of the devil) and men are allowed to wear white (the color of saints) but are also allowed to choose their clothing. Why do you think Al Queada is so concerned about this practice enough to make threats? Because it is a practice evolved from dark forces used to instill fear and control over women only. It is based on violence and should be eradicated from all cultures. It has nothing to do with religion and is NOT in any scriptures any where.

  238. 331 Kent
    March 1, 2010 at 19:21

    Let us say, France ban Burka. Do you think all people who believe in Freedom to wear anything that they like will go to Saudi Arabia to exercise their rights?

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