Cultural showdown: who will accommodate whom? Muslims always demand accommodations and never accommodate (in line with Muhammad’s dictum that Islam must dominate and not be dominated), so this will be interesting. “French burqa ban goes into force on Monday,” from AFP, April 9 (thanks to Paul):
French police will from Monday become the first officers in Europe empowered to intercept Muslim women wearing full-face veils and to threaten them with fines if they refuse to expose their faces.
While some other countries and territories have drawn up bans on the burqa and the niqab, France — home to Europe’s largest Muslim population — will be the first to risk stirring social tensions by putting one into practice.
The law comes into effect at an already fraught moment in relations between the state and France’s Muslim minority, with President Nicolas Sarkozy accused of stigmatising Islam to win back votes from a resurgent far right.
French officials estimate that only around 2,000 women, from a total Muslim population estimated at between four and six million, wear a niqab or a burqa, full-face veils that are traditional in parts of Arabia and South Asia.
But many Muslims and rights watchdogs accuse Sarkozy of targeting one of France’s most vulnerable and isolated groups to signal to anti-immigration voters that he shares their fear that Islam is a threat to French culture.
Other critics worry the law may be hard to enforce, since it had to be drawn up without reference to religion to ban any kind of face covering in public and since police officers will not be allowed to remove women’s head coverings.
Many supporters of the law have defended it as a measure not designed to harm Islam, but to support a woman’s right to walk unveiled, although the text makes it clear that a woman can not choose herself to cover her face in public….
A woman who repeatedly insists on appearing veiled in public can be fined 150 euros ($A205) and ordered to attend re-education classes.
There are much more severe penalties for anyone found guilty of forcing someone else to hide his or her face “through threats, violence, constraint, abuse of authority or power for reason of their gender”….
Were that enforced, Muslim men would double the size of the French treasury with their fines.