Never Mind the Burkas

If president Sarkozy really believes that Muslim women are subservient to male members of their families, then he shouldn’t try to regulate their clothing. He should draw the full consequences of his beliefs and forbid Muslim women to vote in French elections. If, on the other hand, he believes that these women are autonomous enough to vote independently of their husbands and fathers, then he should let them dress as they please.

Via Mathias Klang.


9 thoughts on “Never Mind the Burkas

  1. Since Muslim men are surrounded by non-conforming, immodest women, shouldn’t they wear blinkers or a cap with a brim that lets them see only their feet? It’s their temptation; let them take responsibility for avoiding it.


  2. You are talking about a president who told his parliament (in the same speech) that they should ignore the french constitution and institute a law that boils down to being guilty on accusation.
    So this is about par for him.


  3. He should draw the full consequences of his beliefs and forbid Muslim women to vote in French elections.

    I see the point you’re making, and indeed I’m inclined to agree with it, but I don’t understand your thinking in this sentence. If he believes that Muslim women are subservient to their husbands or fathers, it doesn’t follow that he believes that they are not full human beings. If their views are chosen by someone else, but they still hold them, they are surely entitled to vote to try and arrange a world that matches those views. If their views are chosen by somone else, but they don’t agree, then surely the last thing someone who wanted to change that would want to do is take away these women’s access to a secret ballot that might be their only way of voicing opposition to their subjection safely!

    I realise that you are not arguing that Sarkozy makes sense, but I don’t understand what thought process you are suggesting would lead him to the conclusion you suggest.


  4. Why would a politican follow logic? I haven’t noticed that this is a common procedure in this country, for example.


  5. Jonathan, you mean that the ballot is not comparable to the burka since the former can be used secretly. I’ll grant you that. But still, if you believe that a woman can’t even make decisions about the clothes she’s wearing, is it really realistic to think that she’ll have independent political opinions? And that is a much more important issue.


  6. I agree, but I don’t think that having political opinions dictated by someone else obviously disqualifies one from the vote, nor do I see how withdrawing the vote could help the matter. I guess that your argument is that this just gives her husband two votes. But she remains a human being whose vote ought to be counted and one can hardly do it any other way than treating her like a regular citizen, surely.

    I mean, we could go from here to people who vote the same way as their parents do or did. Is that an independent opinion?


  7. I certainly don’t advocate withdrawing suffrage from Muslim women. My point is that if you, as the Prime Minister of France, believe that a certain group of citizens is practically enslaved, then the way they dress should be the least of your worries. And if you do not believe them to be thus enslaved, then you should assume that they’re dressing in a manner of their own choice and leave them be.


  8. Martin: I worry that the absence of the burka will subject Moslem women to ridicule and even abuse at the hands of their fathers, brothers, and neighbors.


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