Of Burkhas and Nazis

Nobody has a right to wear the uniform of their country's enemy.

Almost a year ago, amidst a hailstorm of hand-wringing, the government of France decided to ban the burkha - the black, all-encompassing, funereal shroud worn by devout Muslim women, or more accurately, by the wives and daughters of devout, abusive Muslim men.

For whatever reason, the law did not take effect immediately.  Now it has, and indeed, the French police are ticketing and fining whoever is seen in public draped beneath a burkha, presumably all of whom are women though how can you tell?

Once again, the usual suspects are aghast and appalled at this "illiberal" law.  The Christian Science Monitor wins the prize for hyperbole:

France's burqa ban: Has Europe forgotten the gas chambers?

As we've seen with France's burqa ban that went into effect this week, global religious tolerance – especially in Europe – is under threat. Growing Islamophobia threatens to undermine hard-fought freedom and tolerance in post-WW II Europe and around the world.

Our enemies in uniform

An Enemy Ideology, Not A Religion

No doubt there are women who feel religiously compelled to hide under a sheet, but imams respected throughout the Muslim world have plainly stated that it's not a religious requirement.  It's not specified in the Koran; it's not found in the historical record; and until recently, the burkha was unknown outside of the most benighted sandtraps of Arabia and Afghanistan.  Indeed, Egypt's highest-ranking Islamic cleric felt so strongly about the issue that he recently banned the burkha from the grounds of his Islamic religious college!  There are imams in France itself who support the ban.

As interesting as this intra-Muslim debate might be, it should be irrelevant: no Western country has any business making laws based on what a religious leader decides is or is not a part of their religion.  Of course religious leaders have the right to vote their conscience and express their views; so does everybody else.  In a democracy, that's how it should be.

But only up to a point.  That point is reached when the view being advocated is for the destruction of the democracy itself - and that's precisely what militant Islam intends, as we've seen time after time.

Do free Americans have the right to dress as they please?  Most of the time, in most places, mostly, they do.

In 1942, would an American civilian have the right to go around in a Nazi uniform?  Not on your life!

Why?  We were at war with Nazi Germany, and the whole purpose of a uniform is to identify which side your on.  An American in Nazi uniform is stating, "I am an enemy of America" - and in wartime, that gets you whisked off to prison if not shot on sight.

We are at war with militant Islam.  There is some debate as to whether we're at war with Islam, full stop, but that's irrelevant.

We know that the most extreme believers in Islam have declared war on the United States, on Westerners, and indeed on all "infidels."  They plainly view it as their religious duty to murder all those who refuse to submit to their view of Allah and the Koran's barbaric sharia commandments.

We also know that the burkha is worn precisely by those most medieval, most benighted Muslim groups which are our sworn enemies.  You don't have to believe Scragged; we're not exactly fans of Muhammad.  Instead, listen to Egyptian Sheik al-Azhar Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi on the subject of the niqab, one particular type of burkha:

Niqab has nothing to do with Islam. ... I know about religion better than you and your parents.

No doubt he does, and if even he doesn't like to see his religion go down the route of extremism, why should non-Muslims have to put up with it?

The French have decided that they don't want to see burkhas invading the streets of France.  They didn't appreciate it when Nazi uniforms did the same thing; eventually they were all driven out.  Unfortunately, it took a tremendous amount of bloodshed.

Is that what will be required in France?

In a statement in October 2010, bin Laden condemned the ban on full-face Islamic veils passed by French constitutional authorities earlier that month and said France deserved to be attacked for "injustices" against Muslims.

If Osama bin Laden hates what you're doing, you're probably on the right track.  We need to to follow the French lead. A few years back, this would have been a bit galling to Americans - but fortunately, we're getting plenty of practice following the French in Libya.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments

Islamism is not a movement to be engaged, it is an enemy to be defeated.
- Andy McCarthy

April 19, 2011 1:57 PM

See? THAT'S what I like about Petrarch. There's this question that you think is quite simple, cut-and-dry, nothing to see here ...and turns it inside out like a sock and gets you to see the other questions you didn't think of.

April 19, 2011 7:24 PM

I agree with Bro John. There's quite a bit more about burkhas than meets the eye. Who knew. That Powerpoint slide show you linked to, up near the top, is full of great info. Who create that?

April 19, 2011 7:27 PM
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