France Joins Growing European
Islamic Dress Ban Club
by Dan Ehrlich

A few observant Muslin husbands are beating Holland’s Burka ban by sending their wives to live and dress how they please in more liberal Britain, while they remain at their jobs across the North Sea. This may seem extreme, but it’s their religion and choice.

Jewish women, in past centuries, used to cover their heads similar to Arab women. But, anti Semitism was so virulent in Europe, to avoid verbal and even physical attack, they traded in their head scarves for women’s wigs, thereby fulfilling their religious custom without being noticed.

Now in an age of enlightenment and gender equality throughout much of Europe many Muslim women on the Continent should be able to dress how they wish without fear of racial prejudice. Unfortunately, the terrorist age and the growing number of Muslims in Europe has resulted in a cultural conflict that seems destined to become worse with time.

France’s Burka ban came into effect Monday making it a punishable offense to wear clothes that cover a person’s face. Holland and Belgium have similar laws. French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who spearheaded the ban, has insisted he saw female Muslim dress as being repressive and discriminatory towards women. He defends his view with statements from liberal Muslim clerics who maintain there’s no specific dress code in Islam.

Now had be pinned his objections on terrorism, the fact that male terrorists could hide under burkas, his argument would have held more water. Whether Islamic dress is insulting and repressive towards women is for the women in question to decide, not Sarkozy.

Things deemed politically incorrect have always been unofficial since they dealt with social norms and freedom of choice. This is one of the first times a liberal PC based view has been made law and by a conservative government, too.

I live in an area of London with a large Muslim population. But this is still London. I personally find a woman, in a developed western country, covered from head to toe in nijabs or burkas, totally absurd, if not comically outrageous. But, I would not ban these get-ups. I mean you have to go back to the 1950s when US high school kids were kicked out of school for trying dress and look like Elvis Presley. This is a matter of free choice.

On the other hand, this isn’t America in the 1950s and the wealthy western nations  are under threat of attack from crazies who feel they are doing Gods work by killing Infidels.

Eventually, through the school of hard knocks Muslims may follow the example of other minority groups in peaceful coexistence. It's too early to tell since Muslim immigration is a contemporary event. The U.S. had more than 200 years to develop its brand of multi culturalism, one based on the formation of a mass middle-class. The main lesson to be learned is: You can’t expect miracles over night.

When millions of immigrants were pouring into America around 1900, they built ethnic neighborhoods. It often took several generations for these disintegrate or disappear with their inhabitants assimilating into the vastness of nation. Yet, even with this, in cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia, these ethnic and racial communities still exist.

A major Islamic problem in Europe and in America is kids not being allowed to embrace the western lifestyle. For example, the U.K., where I lived for 28 years, with a large influx of Muslims and now Poles offers a stark comparison. While Polish immigrants can't wait to jump into the British lifestyle, many Muslims, mainly from Pakistan, not only keep to themselves but keep their kids as far away from the infidels as possible. This includes forming private Muslim schools where western values are kept to a minimum.

So what does this mean? Are some young British Muslims rejecting British values and the western lifestyle? If the Black experience in America is anything to judge by, it’s more a matter of these youths being unable to fully partake in that lifestyle that’s at the root of the problem in the UK.

However, over on the Continent racism has a more enduring history, especially when a minority group has members who preach jihad against the non-believers. Enacting a ban of Islamic dress only fortifies views among some Muslims that the West is at war with Islam. In any case, people should be free to dress as they please…even though I, or anyone else, may think it seems out of place in time and space.

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