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August 30, 2005

A Clash of Civilizations.

Something of a clash of civilizations here:

A Moroccan woman living in a small town in Belgium has single-handedly triggered a national debate on multiculturalism after refusing to obey a municipal injunction to stop wearing a burqa.

Now, she’s the wife of a terrorist suspect and so on, but municipal byelaws on how you may dress?  Well, we do have those as well, things like public nudity (or, actually, does the law actually say that? Or is it more about "behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace?"). But the justifications seem odd:

The burqa, together with a smaller type of face mask, the niqab, has been banned by bylaw in the cities and towns of Ghent, Antwerp, Sint-Truden, Lebbeke and Maaseik.

The mayor of Maaseik, Jan Cleemers, said he acted after six women started wearing burqas, alarming locals. Five of the women stopped wearing the garments.

A police inspector in Maaseik said the head-to-toe covering of Bouloudo's wife, who has refused to speak to police or give her name, offended and alarmed locals.

"You cannot identify or recognise someone when they're wearing a burqa, especially at night. It's not normal, we don't have that in our culture," he said.

"It’s not normal" so we’ll ban it. This is a Belgian attitude, at least this specific case is, but aren’t we glad that our new capital is in that country? Where such attitudes get written into the continent wide law? "It’s not normal so we’ll ban it"?

I’ll admit to a certain sneaking admiration for the lady, refusing to deal with the police at all on such a matter. As you all know very well I’m not an islamist in any shape or form but if someone attempted to detail what one could wear in public in such a manner I’d be sorely tempted to wear a burka myself. C’mon, it’s not a difficult issue. Since when did we give the local council the right to tell us how to dress?


August 30, 2005 in Islamists | Permalink

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» Ministry Of Silly Things from A Fistful of Euros
Hot on the heels of yesterdays report that road maps using miles instead of kilometres are now in danger, Tim Worstall tells us the story of the Belgian town council which is trying to implement standardised clothing rules. As I... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 30, 2005 9:39:46 AM

» Ministry Of Silly Things from A Few Euros More
Hot on the heels of yesterdays report that road maps using miles instead of kilometres are now in danger, Tim Worstall tells us the story of the Belgian town council which is trying to implement standardised clothing rules. As I... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 30, 2005 10:38:37 AM

» Ministry Of Silly Things from A Few Euros More
Hot on the heels of yesterdays report that road maps using miles instead of kilometres are now in danger, Tim Worstall tells us the story of the Belgian town council which is trying to implement standardised clothing rules. As I... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 10, 2005 12:16:30 AM

Comments

"Since when did we give the local council the right to tell us how to dress?"

Obviously you missed the news this summer about French towns who were giving away free T-shirts to any male 'naked from the waist up' tourists who they encountered. Maybe the issue here wasn't public decency but equality before the law with women :).

"I’ll admit to a certain sneaking admiration for the lady"

I wouldn't go down that road, you aren't in a sect(unless, that is, the ASI....) and she is. This is not normal, garden variety, Islam that is involved.

But obviously they are being extraordinarly intollerant, and this only bodes for more problems in the future.

"I’d be sorely tempted to wear a burka myself."

Oh, come on Tim, I dare you, and with a photo on the blog. Pleaaaaase.


Tim adds: Only one problem. Wouldn’t know where to get one here in Portugal.

Posted by: Edward Hugh | Aug 30, 2005 8:19:39 AM

"This is a Belgian attitude"

No it's not. It is a European attitude. If not an otherwise global non Anglo Saxon attitude.

Don't forget, when it comes to trying to control, the Anglos are the odd ones out.

Posted by: Chris harper | Aug 30, 2005 10:53:46 AM

Sorry to strike a discordant note here Timmy, but this Anglo Saxon is in favour of any ban on garments which conceal the face. We can do without the proliferation of non-identifiable folk in public life. Especially as we now have a criminal justice system that is so heavily reliant on positive eye-witness identification.

Posted by: Monty | Aug 30, 2005 11:48:38 AM

Don't worry monty. The National ID card system will track everyone's movements 24/7.

Posted by: Rob Read | Aug 30, 2005 11:54:20 AM

Italy has recently clarified its law on concealing the face so that it includes burqas. It previously only applied to crash helmets worn by muggers and bank robbers.

As for your point that you wouldn't be able to find a burqa in Portugal... well that's a poor excuse in this day and age, what with the internets and all.

Try http://www.modestclothes.com/islamic.html

Posted by: DaveVH | Aug 30, 2005 11:57:24 AM

This emphasis on burkas and covering up women is relatively new - going back two decades one only ever saw it among Saudi tourists - and perhaps a trojan horse for later issues, such as the right to withdraw from school sports. Or it could be a way of dividing womenfolk into a more muslim than thou pressure. American libertarians perhaps are naive in thinking this is just a dress issue. Sadly its a fear issue.

Posted by: William Simpson | Aug 30, 2005 12:02:22 PM

At the risk of breaking whoever's law it is about internet commentary.... the last time a european government tried to force certain people to wear a certain item of clothing was between 1933 and 1945.

This whole burqa issue is just another attempt by the mad mullahs to capture the victimhood mantle. If we ignore it, then they will soon give up.

If there really is a security issue it's with shoplifting (try working in a South Kensington shop when the Saudi tourists come in and you'll see what I mean). For this the solution is simple: allow shopkeepers and mall owners to treat burqa clad ladies the same way they do chavs in hoodies and baseball caps. A simple business decision based on the ancient right of "the management reserves the right of admission etc. etc."

RM

Posted by: Remittance Man | Aug 30, 2005 1:54:28 PM

Our local banks and building societies forbid you to enter while wearing a motor-cycle crash helmet. Comparable?

Tim adds: A private business telling you how to dress/comport yourself while on their property versus the local council outlawing a form of dress in public? No, not all that comparable really.

Posted by: dearieme | Aug 30, 2005 3:32:52 PM

Tim: "It’s not normal" so we’ll ban it. This is a Belgian attitude, at least this specific case is, but aren’t we glad that our new capital is in that country? Where such attitudes get written into the continent wide law?

No, it isn'tr a Belgian attitude. It's an attitude that people everywhere hold, unfortunately. For example, in Britain the government is -- in their usually kneejerking fashion -- planning to ban violent porn.

If Britain left the EU, this problem wouldn't go away. You'd have to change human nature to do that.

Posted by: Phil Hunt | Aug 30, 2005 7:16:06 PM

Hooray for anti-dhimmitude in Belgium.

Posted by: Jonz the mental | Aug 30, 2005 7:29:48 PM

RM: Godwins law is the one you were thinking of. I think you JUST managed to scrape by without falling foul of it. You can stay in the game for now.

Posted by: Andrew Duffin | Aug 31, 2005 4:13:00 PM

The Burka Menace in Yorkshire ...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/england/west_yorkshire/3433953.stm

"An armed gang wearing burka headdresses escaped with jewellery after a raid on a shop in Halifax.
The three raiders - whose faces were covered by the religious gowns - entered the jewellers in Queen's Road, Pellon, at 1100 GMT on Monday, asked to view some gems and then produced a gun.

The shop owner was punched in the face and left blindfolded with his arms tied up.

At least two of the raiders, who fled in a car, are believed to be male."

Posted by: Laban Tall | Sep 1, 2005 3:23:37 PM