Denmark is set to ban the burqa

Denmark is set to ban the burqa

The Danish Parliament is set to ban the burqa and the niqab. A niqab covers all parts of a woman except for the eyes, whereas a burqa also covers the eyes. A hijab, which is only a headscarf, would not be affected by the ban.

France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Bavaria have all placed restrictions on the wearing of burqa and niqab, or full face-covering religious Islamic garb.

"This is not a ban on religious clothing, this is a ban on masking," said a spokesman for the Danish Liberal Party.

"There will come a masking ban in Denmark. That's how it is," said Denmark's foreign minister.

The burqa has been a very controversial subject in Europe. A symbol of traditional Islamic religion and the oppression of women, governments have weighed religious freedom against the 'values' of their countries. Some have chosen to ban the burqa.

The argument has been made that nuns also wear restrictive religious outfits, but that is just a bad argument. You can choose to be a nun. You can't choose to be a woman.

Journalist Nabila Ramdani wrote in The Guardian, against the burqa ban:

"The myth around which France's burqa ban was formulated is hugely offensive. It suggests that a cartel of faceless bogeywomen dressed in medieval black personify an alien religion, one whose values threaten those of the secular French republic and, by implication, those of all civilised nation states.

"As Britain faces up to a wide range of divisive issues involving allegedly alien groups, it would do well to beware a French-style burqa ban. The legislation has done nothing for liberty and justice. As an increasingly sorry caseload within France's court system testifies, it is a petty issue blown out of all proportion, one that ultimately creates nothing but hatred and violence."

The French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote this in The Huffington Post, as a kind of counterargument:

"People say, “The burqa is a dress, at most a costume. We’re not going to make laws about clothing and costumes.” Error. The burqa is not a dress, it’s a message, one that clearly communicates the subjugation, the subservience, the crushing and the defeat of women.

"People say, “Perhaps it’s subjugation, but it’s done with consent. Get it out of your mind that malicious husbands, abusive fathers, and local tyrants are forcing the burqa on women who don’t want to wear it.” Fine. Except that voluntary servitude has never held water as an argument. The happy slave has never justified the fundamental, essential, ontological infamy of slavery. And, from the Stoics to [19th century thinker] Elisée Reclus, from Schoelcher to Lamartine to Tocqueville, all who rejected slavery provided us with every possible argument against the minor added outrage that consists of transforming victims into the authors of their own misery."

What do you think? Is the burqa a symbol of anti-woman religious traditionalism, or does multiculturalism transcend that?

Or, no matter what the burqa represents, is it right for the government to ban a religion's traditions?