We’re there now. A current French discussion about banning the burqa — understood here to mean the head-to-toe garment that leaves Muslim women peering out at the world through a narrow slit — is really a politicized retreat from a potentially meaningful debate about Muslims assuming a more distinctly French identity in exchange for the assurance of a greater role in French life.
How the possible discussion of real issues dissolved into a charade with a low-risk choreography as ancient as the minuet is suggestive of how difficult (and debilitating) the subject is for Europe’s leaders.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Vinocur on Identity Debate
In The New York Times, John Vinocur unloads on the French "identity debate":