Argument: State should not judge culture/burqa; slippery slope

Issue Report: Ban on Muslim burqa and niqab


Sandeep Gopalan. “Behind the burqa.” New York Times Op-Ed. January 27, 2010: “judgments about cultural values are very subjective. Who decides if particular items of clothing fit with French values? Can we trust politicians and bureaucrats to make these decisions for us? […] Secondly, where do you draw the line? Are turbans, yarmulkes, saris, salwars and long skirts next? Many groups, including some feminists, assert that crucifixes and crosses are examples of patriarchal oppression. Would a government ban on jewelry containing crucifixes be justified? This is a slippery slope. […] If we support a burqa ban on the basis that we dislike the clothing, or that it offends our notion of freedom, or that it makes us uncomfortable, we would then be opening ourselves to all manner of compromises on the many unpopular personal choices that we make in daily life.”

Sadanand Dhume. “France’s Burqa Ban Sharpens Global Debate on Islam.” Jakarta Globe. February 9th, 2010: “What will be declared un-French next? The sari? The Sikh turban? Day-Glo bicycle shorts?”

“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?”