Iranians are fighting for freedom in the streets of Tehran as they march directly into men wielding batons and chains, some of the protestors are wearing western clothes, some women are in jeans, and some women are wearing the burqa. But, to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the most critical issue confronting his nation is not the recession, it is not loss of jobs, it is not an education system which does not assist all children, NO, to the man with a beautiful wife it is the sight of women wearing a burqa. He told parliament the issue is not one of religious rights, but “the burqa is not welcome on the French Republic’s territory. It is not what the French Republic wants for the dignity of women” since wearing it is reflection that women are being debased and treated like second humans.
The highest estimate is that about 50,000 Muslim women in France wear a burqa which suggests the vast majority do not. A high percent of women who are protesting in Iran wear the burqa without conveying a sense of inferiority or personal debasement. Ironically, it is men wearing western dress who are beating them.
The issue of the burqa is much ado about nothing. Women have the right to dress as they please and if some prefer the burqa why is that a concern of government? If we allow government to decide women can not wear a burqa it opens the door for government to decide every aspect of the personal lives of people.
Ironically, first lady Carla Bruni of France goes around wearing a dress that reveals her ample breasts. I suspect there are people who view such dress as inappropriate for a woman. Frankly, who cares if she is bare breasted or all covered up?
Recent polls indicate nearly half of Swedes oppose Muslim women wearing headscarves. In 2005, 43% of Swedes rejected the idea of Muslim women being allowed to wear headscarves in public places like schools or government buildings, today, that figure is 49.8% of respondents. The questionnaire used the word “sloja” which literally means “veil” but apparently most Swedes use the word in referring to any form of head covering. Ironically, only 5% indicated they had negative views toward foreigners although about one-third believed they came to take advantage of Sweden’s social welfare opportunities.There apparently is something about Muslim women wearing head coverings which upsets many people in western nations. Why the passion about this relatively unimportant aspect of attire?