• http://twitter.com/blamer ɹǝɯɐןq

    The democratic principle in question seems to be “liberty”. That is, are those few families who’re following the tradition of wearing the niqab somehow stepping on the freedoms of those families who aren’t? Framed as a question of “individual rights” it’s difficult for me to see the french niqab ban as liberal or democratic. It smells of popularism.

    Objections to the french ban on the basis of inconsistencies (banning traditional muslim wear but not traditional christian wear) seem to be a red herring. Legislation that bends the principle of “consistency” seems permissible. It’s the bending of the democratic principle of “protecting minorities from persecution” that seems impermissible. Though again it seems difficult to make the case that french law is “persecuting” those niqab-wearing families (as much as it of course must feel like persecution to niqab-wearing women and their husbands and imams).

    The worrying inconsistency for me is that the “old” secularism (of christendom in teh american protestant tradition) keeps insisting that legislation OUGHT to treat religious families differently to irreligious families. Imo that distinction is becoming less and less useful (and more and more divisive) as the lobbiests for religio-political monotheism defiantly insists on state laws that aren’t agnostic, but instead favour the strictly religious over the non-religious.

    Which of course cannot help but be unfavourable to the rest of us who want our governments to remind their citizens that the pious are teaching them fictions, not facts.