Sarkozy Says No To Burqa Wearing in France
In a show of real balls, French President Nikolas Sarkozy told the French Parliament that the wearing of burqas represents an unacceptable form of “enslavement.”
The New York Times reports today that Sarkozy is drawing a line when it comes to something that he finds unacceptable in French society.
The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue, it is a question of freedom and of women’s dignity,” Mr. Sarkozy said in a sober address in which he frequently looked at his notes. “The burqa is not a religious sign, it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women.”
“I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory,” he said to enthusiastic applause.
Sarkozy’s unusual appearance before Parliament was the result of changes brought about by his party, allowing the President to speak directly to Parliment, and his speech was mainly concerning the economic crisis. The issue of the spread of burqa wearing is a hot button issue in France, and there has been much debate about how to deal with it. The French Muslim Council expressed relief that the tone of the President’s speech was respectful of Islam, but firm on the point that burqa wearing is not welcomed in France. The Muslim Council urges a less conservative form of Muslim practice and does not encourage the wearing of the burqa.
This issue is important as a woman’s rights issue, of course, but its also a huge social statement by a pretty liberal society that might just as easily try to take the politically correct way out, as America tends to do. The fact is that not only does the hard line conservative Islam create a difficult life for women, but it creates an unintegrated society in which there is a subclass of people who are unable to live full, safe lives. The burqa also creates a huge responsibility for the men in the society because along with it comes all the rules for how a woman moves around, often requiring men to accompany them and watch over them, creating another layer of responsibility for already overburdened families.
Say what you will about the French, but in a world where the line between the extremists who would go and blow themselves up over an issue like this, and the political correctness of trying to allow for religious freedom, grows ever finer, Sarkozy kicked some ass and made a strong statement about what is expected of those who wish to live in France. This is not a free speech/personal choice/religious issue, but an issue of ingrained abuse of women that is making a comeback in certain areas, and which is disruptive to the entire society. The women may say that they want to wear these garments, but this is beyond what any one person wants; its what is demanded by a free and fair society that is taking into account all of it’s citizens.