Saturday, December 26, 2009

Weil on the Burqa

Patrick Weil, who was a member of the Stasi Commission that banned the veil in public schools, opposes a law on the burqa but recommends a compromise solution involving the recognition of different types of public and private "space." In some semipublic workplaces, he suggests, one could insist by "internal rules" rather than a law that faces remain uncovered.


Leo said...

The fault in Weil's argument is that he states the burqa "ne provoque pas de trouble à l’ordre public".

I believe it does. Our "ordre public" is one where we show our faces to others.

A good illustration "a contrario" is that, in our societies, the Carnival, where all transgressions are allowed is the period when hiding one's face is legit.

Religion is not the issue (that's what even the mainstream Muslims claim) nor women's rights, an argument widely used by the islamophobists (sorry if the word does not exist in English)

This being said, it is sad that this minor issue is being used by the usual suspects to fan the evil flames.

FRANCIS said...

An useful piece from Abdelwahab Meddeb in Le Monde : La burqa et le cercle des idiots.
"C'est donc le dispositif juridique séculier qui est sourdement visé par la burqa. Comme si sa radicalité rendait plus digne, plus acceptable, le hidjab. Ne tombons pas dans ce piège. A nous de voir s'il faut répondre par une loi ou s'il suffit de mobiliser les ressources déjà existantes du droit pour faire face à ces assauts répétés.

Avec ce débat, on nous impose une régression par rapport aux acquis humains. La controverse sur le même sujet [...]se réduit à un débat d'idiots. [...] N'élargissons pas, avec complaisance, le cercle des idiots.

FrédéricLN said...

A truly deep debate, even if it focuses on representations (not many French people ever saw a burqa, if not on TV screens).

It would be, I guess, the first time since couples of years, that a piece of legislation is created about the way people may be dressed while walking in streets.

Obviously, an huge majority wants to be able to see all the others' people faces.

Should be ban sunglasses?

FrédéricLN said...

Should "we", of course.

Well, that inspired be a first post on the topic... "je ne vais pas me voiler la face" (a very common expression in French, "faut pas s'voiler la face", meaning "let's put it frankly". It usually introduces very approximative statements).

MYOS said...

FrédéricLN, it's widely considered rude to talk to s.o while wearing aviator glasses (the mirror kind).
I don't think face coverings have their place in some settings - the case about picking kids up from school is one, for example. Teachers need to know who picks up a child. But I'm not speaking of veils, necessarily, in my opinion the problem involves any face coverings that people may want to wear and that includes carnival days.
However it should be an addendum to an already-existing law not anything like what we hear about. And then conflagrate the issue with the "Identity Debates" and their tone - the venom spewed! the prejudice openly expressed! it's unbelievable! It's as if the worst thoughts came out crawling from under the rotting woodpile where they had been kept hitherto hidden.
On the other hand, it's being said that Sarkozy promises "surprises" - whispers, whispers: he might give the right to vote to non-European foreigners for local elections. (How that helps "French Identity" eludes me).