Argument: Discomfort with burqa is inadequate to ban it

Issue Report: Ban on Muslim burqa and niqab


“What’s behind France’s proposed burqa ban?” Christian Science Monitor Editorial. January 27, 2009: “The burqa does not fit comfortably with Western sentiments. It’s closed; Westerners are open. They want to see people’s faces. It’s also viewed as a prison for women – even if Muslim women are free to choose it. And it symbolizes fundamentalist Islam, which conjures up images of terrorism. […] But sentiments shouldn’t be confused with bedrock freedoms, including the right to practice one’s religion. Being uncomfortable with another’s faith or even dress – and encoding that discomfort in law – puts one on the slippery slope to official discrimination. Will Sikh turbans be next?”

Michael White. “France, don’t ban the niqab.” Guardian. February 2010: “You need a much better reason than personal discomfort to do that in a free society. I don’t much care for facial piercings or tattoos either. “So you want to make yourself ugly and unemployable, do you?” I mutter to myself as I pass those who have them in the street. But we shouldn’t ban them either.”