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Thank you very much for sharing this.

You make a really key point distinguishing the situation in Islam-dominant countries like Morocco and the situation in European countries.  This was really interesting:

When she's over there, she is often struck by the changes in the dress code by women she sees there, both in the street and in her own circle of family and friends.

I do have to disagree with you on this, however:

Muslims in France are a different question... They are not merely promoting a dress code, however; they have a political agenda which goes very much further, and radically opposes the secular, liberal and individualistic values which are the cornerstone of European society, and very much require defending.

You are absolutely right that our -- I mean, our European -- secular, liberal and individualistic values very much require defending.

However, I would argue with you that presuming that a woman walking down the street wearing a veil or a burka was doing so because she was forced to violates those very European, liberal, individualistic values.  In effect, that would be a presumption of "guilt" on the part of the family and/or friends who co-erced that woman into wearing the clothes she is.  (It would also be insulting the woman if she had in fact chosen freely to wear the clothes herself.)

Alternatively, if you insist that such a woman is not only promoting a dress code but a political agenda, whether of her own free will or not, then that is also a presumption of "guilt", in this case on the woman herself (not the putative relatives and peers who forced her to wear the clothing).  Does such a presumption of guilt accord with our European values?

One measure of how healthy our European values are is how liberal we can be with letting people wear what they want in public.

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire

by marco on Sat Apr 9th, 2016 at 01:51:11 AM EST
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If we're specifically talking about the niqab or burqa, then there is no ambiguity whatever about the ideology and politics behind it. To what degree the wearer is doing so voluntarily is sort of beside the point; it's not a matter of preventing people from dressing as they wish, but of recognising a danger signal.

It is not an anodyne coincidence that the rise of specifically Salafist-prescribed dress codes has occurred simultaneously with the departure of hundreds of young European Muslims to engage in holy war. It's part of the same political movement. It's not up to you or me, of course, to declare who is a "good Muslim" or a "bad Muslim"; but Salafists are scum and must be resisted, on purely political grounds.

One (of many) bad mistakes made by the French government was to not interfere with what was said and done in and around mosques -- until quite recently. This is despite the fact that France has strict laws about separating religion and politics, which have often been applied in the past against the Catholic church; and insufficiently against Moslem organisations, who practiced Salafist indoctrination, mostly financed by the Saudis. With tragic consequences : hundreds have gone to the Middle East and been killed; a few have returned and killed hundreds in Europe.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Apr 9th, 2016 at 01:33:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To what degree the wearer is doing so voluntarily is sort of beside the point

Huh!? Of course it isn't beside the point. If you want to punish people, it's the whole point.

it's not a matter of preventing people from dressing as they wish, but of recognising a danger signal.

That's sophistry. What does it mean if you identify a "danger signal"? Will you (a) do nothing, or(b) prevent people from dressing as they wish?

the rise of specifically Salafist-prescribed dress codes has occurred simultaneously with the departure of hundreds of young European Muslims to engage in holy war.

First, was there a rise in such dress codes at all, or just a rise in hysteria? Second, from what I know, these dress codes aren't limited to Salafists. Third, Salafists are to terrorists like Orthodox Jews to radical Israeli settlers: the bulk of them are just crazy prayer fanatics, and it needs a potent political organisation to compel a minority to violent action. Do you want to ban Orthodox Jewish clothing and hairdo? Fourth, do you really think that going after women wearing burqas will stop the flow of Daesh recruits? Fifth, is this really anywhere near the biggest problem we have in Europe?

Moslem organisations, who practiced Salafist indoctrination, mostly financed by the Saudis. With tragic consequences : hundreds have gone to the Middle East and been killed

Look, I'd like to see Saudi influence over European Moslem organisations curbed, too, but this is a gross over-simplification and exaggeration. From every story I read, (1) most recruits used to be secular but have gone through a 'born-again' phase, (2) this is strongly connected to alienation which is not the Saudis' fault, (3) on-line propaganda had a big role, (4) the Jihadi recruiters weren't the muftis but fellow worshippers who subverted (not just Salafist) congregations to seek out likely recruits, or friends. You won't defeat al-Qaida and IS recruitment networks by going after Salafists and/or Saudi-financed mosques.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Apr 17th, 2016 at 03:56:43 PM EST
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There are about a hundred mosques and prayer rooms in the Lyon region, of which fourteen are Salafist. There used to be more (Salafist), but some of them were shut down for hate speech, recruiting for foreign wars, or other infractions of French legislation.

You will no longer hear preachers telling their congregations that it is OK, and perfectly normal, for a Muslim to beat his wife, or inciting to jihad (these elements of Salafist doctrine are well-documented in my region, and still preached in every country where they can legally do so). They have become calmer, even mealy-mouthed, because they know they are now closely watched. And the Salafist holy men, generally not the preachers, now hang around outside the mosques to recruit vulnerable young men.

It was said by someone that I would not wish to shut down an analogous "white" "conservative" activist group. On the contrary, if Salafism were a political party rather than a sect, I'm pretty sure that the Ministry of the Interior would not content itself with closing down a few branch offices where such outrageous things happened. It would be banned, and if necessary, forcibly dissolved.

In other words, they are clearly benefiting from religious privilege.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Apr 20th, 2016 at 02:39:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If, on the other hand, we're talking about a headscarf (the term "veil" clearly indicates something that covers the face, so I supposed we weren't), I'm personally not troubled in the slightest when my sister in law comes to stay and wears hers. Nor am I troubled by the dozens of women I see in the street, shops or place of work who cover their hair with a scarf. In general, people who would have a problem with that are most likely what I would call islamophobes.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Apr 9th, 2016 at 01:36:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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