Burqa ban

Test1 As part of a training conducted at work, we were all shown a set of photos and asked to choose among these for various roles in our organization. Since we were given nothing other than the photos, we had to rely on their appearance. The exercise was over in 5 minutes. When the choices were compared, it was a wake up call for me! Among the photos, there were a man wearing a keffiyeh and a woman wearing a burqa. None of the participants including me chose these two people for any role! I pride in being non-biased. But the reality is different! I’m prejudiced!

As a result, I look at France’s burqa ban in a different light. When I read the news, I was disgusted! My initial reaction was “why”; why do you play with religious sentiments? In a post-9/11 world, there is mistrust in the keffiyehs and the burqa. Your prejudices surface in a crowded place and your heart skips a beat. By banning burqa, France is homogenizing their residents. With this process, there are trying to remove not only the mistrust and fear in the beholder but also the danger for the one who wears these garments.

The mistrust and fear can be eradicated by creating awareness in people. An awareness campaign might take longer and would not yield the desired results. A burqa ban is more effective and painless than an awareness campaign on any day. But, isn’t it a failure of democracy when a section of people are forced out of their right to wear what they like or chose?

Tags: Musings,Burqa,Keffiyeh,France


  1. Me prejudiced too. I'd better not say anything on this subject as it may create a big controversy.

  2. All I want to say is circumstances have changed vastly over last 2000 years and current situation does not permit to hide in public places.
    I don't think that is failure of democracy.

  3. How can a ban be more effective in eradicating mistrust and fear? I am not just talking about Burqas. Can fear of heights be solved by putting a ban on high rise buildings? Would putting a ban on alcohol solve domestic violence and improve the living conditions of the manual labour class?

    I don't think blanket bans solve anything. Its just enforcement of what a section feel on a certain matter.

    One way or the other everyone is prejudiced! and BTW, I am totally in for a ban on Alcohol ;)

  4. Awareness can take time. It is the question of mistrust.The fact is that we are prejudiced for which I dont blame us.I blame those who have created hell in the world with killings.

  5. You have written very nicely about the fact. Appropriate post for the present scenario. Its difficult to say anything regard this issue.

  6. I don't think this is the same scenario though. If I have to choose someone for my organisation just based on looks then I think it's obvious I choose from those I can see. That is a whole different situation from when I see (or don't see since they're all covered) these same people on the street. If they don't interfere in my in any way then why should I care what they wear.

  7. @Aparna - We are all prejudiced to some extent

    @Arvind - I'm still not convinced. It can also be construed as bullying a section of the people because they are different from the rest!

    @Dominic - Even if you look using that lens, then the laws of the country are also enforced on the people. Aren't they?

    The ban might not be effective. Probably, this is the only option in front of them to erase the differences in a short time!

    As for the ban of alcohol, I "strongly" oppose it. :) You are taking away my right to imbibition!

    @BKC - Will we move forward if stop short of trusting fully?

    @Babli - Thanks for commenting

    @Mayank - In context to the training, if their faces were not covered, then someone would have chosen them. Similarly, that may be what the people passing the ban are thinking! If the faces are not covered, they can assimilate well!

  8. Burqa symbolizes the very antithesis of western culture i.e, of freedom,openness,liberty and right to expression. It symbolizes the clash of cultures that is not getting accentuated in a globalized world

  9. The burqa can be misused. We have a local exhibition here for 45 days each year and they have two days exclusive for the ladies. There are definite instances of men walking in, in a burqa. Also, women in burqa ( this could be misused by any community) have been known to shoplift all the time. It is very easy to tuck in small items without being noticed.
    And I guess if the community has chosen France as their place of residence, I guess they can abide with their rules.

  10. Yes you are right what you say about the country's laws. So the choice is about that person if he wants to chose to live there or not. If majority finds that way, then the others either live by that set of rules or move out. IMO.
    But justifying any ban (again, I talk least from the burqa angle) and trying to say that it is for the good and "world peace" can be achieved by this ban etc is just lame excuses to quell our own self doubts.
    But alas, anything more that I say on this topic would be taken as a statement on the Burqa ban. I have no comments on that since I believe it is the right of Citizens of France to decide and abide. My contention is purely on any Ban and passing of in a "its ok since it is the silver bullet" kind of manner.
    I do believe in living within the laws of ones country.

  11. @Vaz - Thanks for your views.

    @Radha - Interesting! Yes, Burqa can be misused.

    @Dominic - Thanks.


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