Sarkozy hates the Burkha! According to this BBC report, Monsieur Sarkozy feels that the Burkha reduces women to servitude and undermines their dignity. Sarkozy wants to establish a parliamentary commission that will examine whether the wearing of Burkhas in public ought to be banned. Readers may recall that France has already banned the wearing of any religious attire in schools, an act which resulted in French Sikh students being unable to wear turbans
I can see a lot of merit in the ban on Burkhas. To start with, I believe that Burkhas do undermine women’s dignity. Burkhas are worn almost always by women who were brought up to believe that women are inferior to men. The late Suraiya nee Kamala Das is an exception of course. Forcing women to give up the Burkha may force them to be liberal. No, I’m not joking. In Turkey, Pasha Ataturk forced men to wear western clothes and shave and Turkey is now one of the most liberal countries with a Muslim majority.
The only problem with this French proposal is that it goes against all that France stands for (at least on paper). The nation which gave the world Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau, the statue of Liberty (they planted it in the US due to lack of space near the Eiffel) and the slogan Liberté, égalité, fraternité has not banned prostitution since it believes such a ban may violate individual freedom. Doesn’t Sarkozy think that prostitution reduces women to servitude and undermines their dignity? Evidently he doesn’t.
But Burkhas may be banned pretty soon!