Burqa ban is a divisive topic among readers | All of Deutsche Welle′s social media channels at a glance | DW | 13.04.2011
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Burqa ban is a divisive topic among readers

Readers weigh in on both sides of the French burqa ban, with some saying it goes against basic French values of liberty, while others think it's liberating Islamic women and that immigrants should integrate at all costs.

Sarah Morvan, 18, Muslim woman with her daighter in Aubervilliers, suburb of Paris, April 2011

Does a burqa ban infringe on rights or enforce them?

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Burqa ban 'infringes on my European rights'
France begins enforcement of controversial burqa ban

Apart from religious freedom, we are talking about appropriate behavior in secular societies, where individuals have wide latitude to practice their faiths. None of us have the right to go about disguised or utterly anonymous with our faces masked for reasons of public safety and open social interaction. Second, erasing a women's individuality in public is abusive not protective of her rights. She becomes a cipher. -- E. Joan, US

Ironically, the burqa ban is both an infringement of religious freedom and supports freedom of women's rights. -- Marc , Australia

No burqas - no full face veils. This is all about concealing identity, plain and simple. -- Diane , US

From Facebook, answering the question: Should governments be allowed to tell people what they can or cannot wear?

As long as you want to live in a foreign country, I believe you should obey their laws. Maybe I like to wear very short skirts and only a bra. Do you think I can wear that in a Muslim country? I will be surely arrested for indecent exposure. -- Lucia

This an outrageous and racist act; the banning of wearing a veil, has to be the greatest paradox in French history. France, was born on the basis of one being able to express liberty; This ban screams exactly the opposite. What next ... no bikinis at the beach? -- David

It is a difficult question, but I think we can't allow that people hide their face in public space! -- Helga

This is all about wearing this burqa! They have to respect the rule of the country. Go to Iran or another Arab country as a tourist or something else and you will see the woman obliged to cover her hair and herself as per the law, so why not respect the law of a European country that forbids the veil? -- Papusha

If it threatens national security or anything that poses harm to others, yes. I share the same sentiments with Lucia. Arab countries impose tough laws on how visitors should observe their clothing, and we follow. Why can't Muslims [follow the rules] when they go to other countries? -- Jun

Yes, they should when it comes to religious garments. Religion should just be left in the household. Bravo to France for not bowing down to the insane left-wing political correctness and going through with this burqa ban. -- Satyajit

First of all I'm Muslim, but I'm sure that the French government has the right to prevent Muslim women from wearing full-face-covering veils because the French people have their own culture, and they are not obliged to see something weird from their point of view in their country. Like if any western person comes to the Arab countries, he should obey our restrictions at least in public. -- Yehia

It's a very delicate question. In every country, one should keep in mind, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." Everywhere you go, there are laws and traditions which one must adhere to. -- Eugene

@Yehia, this argument has never been about foreigners respecting another nation's laws, it is about the French government, not respecting the French constitution on which France was founded: the fundamental belief, that every person should be able to have liberty. @Eugene: I applaud the remark, however it is to a degree long outdated. Example: If in Zimbabwe, should one do what Mugabe does, racially harass the mass of the population whilst taking time to pillage from the poor? -- David

It is not a duty for a Muslim woman to cover her face no matter where she lives, except for example if she was extraordinarily beautiful and she wanted not to draw attention to herself. As for living in a European country, I have seen many successful cultural bondings and social behavior, and maybe its just a great deal more comfortable even for me as a woman to actually see the person I meet or talk to. -- Samira

@David I agree that France has a fundamental belief of liberty, but this liberty has a limit. If not, every person would do what they want, like people would walk naked if they want, tribal people would walk our streets only covered with a piece of cloth. I guess it would be disturbing seeing people going naked to supermarkets, cinemas and other places. I don't mind their beliefs and religion, just that sincerely I think that you should see a person's face. I agree that people wear sunglasses and hoods, but if an authority asks them to remove them, I bet they will. I'm not sure I can say the same thing about this burqa-wearing. So yes, I support what France is trying to do. In public you must obey the country's laws, in private you can do what you want, as long as you don't disturb the surroundings. -- Lucia

Freedom means first of all the freedom for the one who thinks and believes differently. It's a shame that a state which has a big tradition on liberty makes such a law. It's a way to persecute a minority. And it doesn't prevent any violation of women's rights. In a way it's the violation of the woman's right to decide on their own if they want to wear it or not. -- Julius

This law is neither upholding secular nor feminist values. It is just an unprincipled attempt to appease a growing far-right movement by adopting some of their views! The French go on about the fact that women in burqas or niqabs are refusing to integrate; that's rubbish because most immigrants in France, especially from North Africa (many of whom will wear some kind of veil) have to live in those awful banlieues which are essentially ghettos on the outskirts of a city whose population living in the centers overwhelmingly white and French. What efforts have the French made to help integrate such immigrants into society? None! The other hypocritical fact is that the law prosecutes women, despite the fact that those on the feminist side of the argument claim that it is a symbol of oppression, that they are the property of men. Well, if that is true for all of them, why fine and force the woman to take a citizenship course? -- Cosmo

If people do not want to conform to a free and open society why would they want to live there? It is amusing though that the French, who obviously are against oppression of women, know well that the laws are against women's choice. It is a typical example of the majority knowing what is best and completely bogus. -- Rory

How free and open is that society if they are forcing people to give up their traditions? -- Michele

What's wrong with protecting European culture in Europe? If you move to a different country by choice, you must assimilate those already there. To allow vastly different norms as [has] been able to happen in America, and look what happens. Gangs of ethnic origin take hold, school bullying runs rampant, lack of respect for authority as these different norms aren't compatible with a society with one set of laws. France is doing what it only must in order to prevent the further muddiness of its society. If you don't like it, don't live in France. What a concept?! -- Michael

Patriarchal structures descend into oppressive perversity eventually, it seems. The need to micromanage others to this is extent is a sign of sickness within the society. Metastised capitalism is how I think of it. It's no worse than the horrible wars we are carrying out fraudulently, the gratuitous killing, but it is part of the same violent dynamic. Part of the same theater that entertains some, and horrifies others, our ongoing lust for wars and violence is very much based on racist intolerance (or nationalism as some would call it). -- Tracey

Not the government, but people themselves I guess. In general, it should be a referendum on how far one goes in stepping on other people's rights. So, you get naked just where other people want to be naked. You don't walk naked in downtown San Francisco. You don't put a mask on your face when going to the bank. And similarly, if people want to see your face for identification, you don't cover your face. You can throw a burqa on your head at home or among other fully sheet wrapped people, but you don't do that in public places. You can smoke at home, but you can't do that in a restaurant. Simple as that. Those who are pushing their agenda and beliefs on others are very arrogant and selfish. -- Dan

[The] veil is forbidden in France? Sounds unbelievable to me. In fact, the veil is welcomed in my country and city, and so is the bikini. Yes, less than a hundred feet from a mosque downtown there are churches nearby. People from all over the world can sit peacefully together in the botanic park. This is Hong Kong. If the veil is forbidden due to security reasons, then one can also hide his or her handgun or grenade easily under [their] clothes or bags. Forbidding the veil is quite meaningless. I think it would be better to fix the bad relations between the Western powers and Middle East countries. You see a woman wearing [the] veil coming towards you and then become scared? People here with veils and bikinis do sit together. Come here and take a look! -- Paskol

Compled by Stuart Tiffen
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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