Thursday, January 19, 2006

Concept of pluralism continues to baffle western civilization

I ran across basically the same story as this over the break, and it looks like it's in the news again:
The Dutch government will announce over the next few weeks whether it will make it a crime to wear traditional Islamic dress which covers the face apart from the eyes.

The Dutch parliament has already voted in favour of a proposal to ban the burqa outside the home, and some in the government have thrown their weight behind it.

There are only about 50 women in all of the Netherlands who do cover up entirely - but soon they could be breaking the law.
Wow. That law makes no sense to me at all.
Dutch MP Geert Wilders is the man who first suggested the idea of a ban.
Great! Maybe he can explain what there is by way of rationale for the proposed law.
"We don't want women to be ashamed to show who they are."
So, these women who wear the burqa are doing so out of shame? I'd like to respond with a couple of suggestions. First, I rather suspect that Mr. Wilders doesn't know the damnedest little thing about Muslim women and why any of them wear the burqa. Second, if you're looking to improve a woman's self-image, I seriously doubt that ripping a piece of clothing off of her is a very good way to go about it.
"...Even if you have decided yourself to do that, you should not do it in Holland, because we want you to be integrated, assimilated into Dutch society. If people cannot see who you are, or see one inch of your body or your face, I believe this is not the way to integrate into our society."
So he's worried about integration! But I always thought that integration meant people getting along in a single society despite their individual differences. It turns out that it really means people wearing the same sorts of clothes. Well, that's OK. Some people are fond of peaceful, pluralistic societies, others are fond of dress codes. To each his own.
"We have problems with a growing minority of Muslims who tend to have sympathy with the Islamo-fascistic concept of radical Islam,"
And thus this proposed ban, which would not in any way prevent the spread of radical Islam, but would certainly help foster antipathy against the Dutch government. Brilliant!
"That's also a reason why everybody should be identifiable when they walk on the street or go to a pub or go into a restaurant or whatsoever."
I'm not sure what he's getting at here. Is he worried about terrorists hiding behind burqas? Given that there are apparently only 50 burqa wearers in the entire country, it seems unlikely that wearing a burqa is a particularly good way of slipping under the radar in the Netherlands.

I'm sort of baffled as to why it isn't blatantly obvious to everybody that this is an atrociously bad idea. Is there some sort of mental defect congenital to Dutch politicians or something? What's going on here?

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