Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Is a ban on the burka a really Gaga idea?

Should we ban the burka? That may well become a serious question here if France goes ahead with its plans to outlaw the face-covering niqab.

The argument against the veil is that it isn’t Islamic, that it is degrading to women and that it allows men to exercise control over them.

In secular France it‘s also seen as a major obstacle to integration.

Then there are the concerns about security and straight-forward practical stuff.

Do you allow, say, a teacher to wear a face veil?

Should a woman be asked to remove it for a security check?

The French proposal is to fine women for wearing the burka — and even to imprison husbands who force them to wear it.

But here’s the thing. What if women chose to wear it themselves? (Which many do). And does banning it not make it seem more attractive?

One sympathetic millionaire has offered to pay the fines of women who fall foul of any new law.

There is also the possibility of jails full of Islamic protestors trying to prove a point.

Making people feel victimised rarely works.

Banning bans might be more effective than banning burkas.

For where do you draw the line with a legalised dress code?

The nun’s veil, next? The hoodie? The bride’s veil? The judge’s wig?

Lady Gaga‘s mask...?

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