Just two pieces of wood

So today’s the day that the French parliament votes on a law to ban the burqa, sitar or khimar. Sara Silvestri over on Comment is Free Belief does a pretty fine job summing up the problems with much of this ‘debate’ in Europe’s legislative assemblies. The comments left so far are also revealing.

I have heard it said many times that the Christian cross means nothing; it is merely two pieces of wood placed in a particular way that some people find meaningful. The burqa, on the other hand, is a “symbol”. It’s a symbol of women’s oppression, of ‘being’ a Muslim (notably only in Europe). It seemingly ‘represents’ the Muslim faith and its banishment will rid ‘us’ of these representations. Get rid of the ‘symbols’ and you get rid of the ‘culture’. You know, the culture that matters, like mosques, borders and…and…and…strange musical instruments. Not our culture, theirs! Our culture is Bizet, Monet and Proust.

But the cross? That’s just two pieces of wood. Means nothing.

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3 thoughts on “Just two pieces of wood

  1. Do all these terms mean the same thing ? burqa, sitar, khimar and niqab. I thought sitar was a musical instrument.

    I have not been following the details of the debate and all the reasons for the ban but could it all boil down to the perceived security based undesirability of covering the face. After all, for security reasons motorcyclists must remove helmets entering certain premises. Also it must inhibit communication when a persons face is unseen – like speaking to someone with his/her back turned to you. I have no difficulty with how a person clothes the rest of their body although I would support a ban on boob tubes.

  2. A sitar is also a musical instrument although again these spellings are all just transliterations. A bit like sea and see.

    There are many things I would ban before banning forms of dress specifically associated with a small minority of women from a particular part of the world. As for the security argument, couriers remove their helmets because in the past they have been identified (rightly or wrongly I do not know because I have no data) with bank robberies which is as equally an objectionable an argument as banning women wearing veils in public. A bicycle helmet is not an important part of his identity. Of course there are always exceptions but not seeing someone’s face when talking with them does not seem to extend to telephones.

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