Monday, January 01, 2007

Ban the Veil (and public mask wearing)

Since we can't seem to win the big battles with radical islam (like coming up with a way to legally deport radical islamists), then let's, as a society, focus on some small issues. Small is beautiful ... And let's pick the right small, but by no means minor, issue: Banning the Veil (and, to be consistent, all mask wearing in public). It works on many levels:

1. Security--with all the video cameras and security devices in public places--how can we allow one group to be an exception? Especially in public buildings and on public transport. Especially a subgroup--Islamic Fundamentalists--from which most of our terrorists are drawn. The number of crimes committed by veil wearing women (and sometimes men) who use the veil to hide their identity and evade apprehension is growing. See Atlas Shrugs weblink that lists a sample of these incidents. here

2. It's a popular, common sense issue. Even the average weak-willed westerner who is inclined to anything-goes multicuturalism, may feel obligated to agree with us on this one.

3. The pollsters can survey public opinion and the politicians may jump in. For example: Survey finds Support for veil ban

4. Because of the obvious security concerns, the proponents of banning mask wearing in public cannot so easily be accused of Islamophobia. In fact any accusers may come off as foolish and unconcerned about public security. It can be a sort of cultural "wedge issue" against the influence of radical islam. Even people who haven't thought much about it may say "why are we allowing this?" We will still be allowing (in fact the First Amendment to the Constitution requires us to allow) all kind of religious garb, from black-coated Hasiddic Jews, to Indian saris, to Buddhist robes, and Muslim hijabs--just you can't cover your face. (Note: the veil is called a niqab.)

5. It strikes very effectively at the imposition of Sharia Law on the host country's Muslim population. Don't believe me? Well then take it from Al Queda's Mr. Number 2 Veil-wearing Muslim women are part of our fight: al-Zawahri Several Muslim countries have outlawed the veil in public--like Tunisia and, I think, Turkey--so banning the niqab would be a way to express support for them and for moderate muslims in general.

6. Historically in the USA, mask wearing in public was banned by many states in the early part of the 20th century to curtail the bigoted and threatening activities of the Ku Klux Klan. It is true that some public protestors (for example, at World Trade Organization meetings) have covered their faces (with ski masks or scarfs) here and under this plan, to be consistent, this would no longer be allowed. So a general ban on public mask wearing (which is what I am proposing) will likely (and appropriately) raise freedom of speech issues. Still, the security dangers of allowing public mask wearing may outweigh any objections to the law when challenged in the courts. Or the courts may decide no masks in airports, buses, schools, etc., but it is OK to wear the veil around your neighborhood--the point being we won't find out what the courts will allow if we don't pass the initial legislation.

7. The veil degrades women. Many of these women do not want to wear the veil but can't object for fear of their husband beating them. Listen to Hirsi Ali in her book "The Caged Virgin"
The essence of a woman is reduced to her hymen. Her veil functions as a constant reminder to the outside world of this stifling morality that makes Muslim men the owners of women and obliges them to prevent their mothers, sisters, aunts, sisters-in-law, cousins, nieces, and wives from having sexual contact. And we are not just talking about cohabitation. It is an offense if a woman glances in the direction of a man, brushes past his arm, or shakes his hand. A man's reputation and honor depend entirely on the respectable, obedient behavior of the female members of his family.
This is not something we in the west should go along with. If this isn't a women's liberation issue, what is?

8. A victory here can be a confidence builder to take on greater issues in the undeclared war with radical islam.

So if we can't yet legally deport known radical islamists, perhaps we can at least Ban the Veil.