Banning the Burqa: Liberalism Ascendant

The French have banned the Burqa and the Niqab. The new law passed 355-1 (with the Socialists shamefully abstaining) bans both the wearing a face covering, which is lightly penalised by a £120 fine, and the forcing of someone to wear a face covering, which is heavily penalised by a year in jail and/or £25,000 fine.

This law has drawn criticism and praise in roughly equal measure. Burqas are vile symbols of oppression, but criminalising them is never the answer. I agree  with Carl when he approvingly quotes Kenan Malik:

The burqa is a symbol of the oppression of women, not its cause. If legislators really want to help Muslim women, they could begin not by banning the burqa, but by challenging the policies and processes that marginalize migrant communities: on the one hand, the racism, social discrimination and police harassment that all too often disfigure migrant lives, and, on the other, the multicultural policies that treat minorities as members of ethnic groups rather than as citizens. Both help sideline migrant communities, aid the standing of conservative ‘community leaders’ and make life more difficult for women and other disadvantaged groups within those communities.

But, I don’t want to dwell on the politics of this. I don’t know enough about French Parliamentary politics to enlighten you and I consider this ban unambiguously wrong-headed on principle.

Instead, what I want to highlight is that few people want to defend this law as a necessary firkin of authoritarianism in our sea of liberalism; even though few things are as petty and illiberal as banning a particular type of clothing. [1] Many people seem comfortable defending the idea of a ban as a liberal measure in itself. The intellectual  contortion involved in describing a ban as liberal is quite fascinating to behold. If we start from Mill’s Harm Principle it is hard to see how we could justify this ban:

The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.

But justify it they do! Of course there are limits to liberalism embodied in this  principle and if you squint your eyes and tilt your head just so, then you can just about make out how a law banning some clothing can be liberal. Below are these (poor) liberal authoritarian arguments distilled:

  1. People are entitled to freedom of religion, but I don’t think wearing a Burqa is a religious obligation, therefore banning it is not illiberal.
  2. These women are currently oppressed by their spouse/father/brother therefore using the oppressive power of the state to ban their activities actually empowers them. They are all being harmed by the burqa therefore banning it is not illiberal.
  3. A burqa is a disguise which can be used by criminals. As crime causes harm to others the state should act to prevent it, that is why it has a monopoly on legitimate violence within a certain area. Burqas are little more than disguises for criminals, therefore banning it is not illiberal.

I’ve seen all these arguments deployed and every one of them torn down. What the weaknesses of these arguments show is that liberalism is in the ascendant even as we continue to see authoritarianism around us. It is now deeply unfashionable to be an authoritarian.

I don’t think this is a positive development.

Mill deployed the Harm Principle with a reasonably well delineated concept of harm. However, recently harm has taken on a more and more diffuse meaning. From left wingers supporting a smoking ban to prevent “harm” to bar staff to right wingers suggesting that burqas “harm” people by being an effective disguise, this unfocussed us of “harm” weakens the cause of liberalism as a positive political philosophy.

The language of liberalism has become the language used to legitimate coercion. Quite often coercion is necessary and just, but all too often coercion is deployed not to protect people, but to impose a tyranny against an otherwise law-abiding minority. If authoritarians are not exposed for what they are, and their capture of liberalism not challenged, fighting for people’s freedoms from a principled and pragmatic liberal perspective will become impossible.

Sadly authoritarianism hasn’t gone away, it has just but on a disguise. [2]

_______

[1] The pettiness confuses me the most. Why even bother banning the burqa and niqab when under 2000 people wear these sorts of veils? I guess this is why I’d make a bad authoritarian, if I was a legislator you couldn’t get me out of bed for that sort of nonsense.

[2] Probably a burqa…

[This is rather good too, from Laurie Penny]

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24 thoughts on “Banning the Burqa: Liberalism Ascendant

  1. Banning items of headdress and clothing is daft.

    However, a thorough interrogation of just how bad an idea Islam is I’m all for.

    The less people we have swallowing this horseshit hook, line and sinker the better we’ll all be and that goes for all religion.

  2. That’s the reason why I oppose a ban, just because I don’t think it will work. I don’t think the burqa is anything other than vile, or accept the “freedom of choice” when it isn’t a free choice half the time. I just think it won’t liberate a single woman.

    I also don’t think the Philip Hollobones of this world give a fuck, they’re just trying to get support from right-wing voters.

    It is slightly disconcerting that liberals & secularists in France disagree with my views, but I just can’t see how the ban is going to help matters. That is the crucial bit.

  3. Sound comment, Daniel Hoffman-Gill. Do you (or anyone else reading this) ever read freethinker.co.uk ?

    In real life I always vaguely feel as though I’m not meant to voice criticisms of religion. I definitely feel ashamed that I’m not more outspoken in stating my heathenish views. Imagine how glad I am to find a site that doesn’t pull its punches.

    1. Don’t know freethinker, I may check it out.

      Deference to religion is daft, its just foolish prejudices.

      Unfortunately, I’m quite into my tolerance, if you can’t tolerate really shitty stupid religious practices then you’re not tolerant.

      There’s nothing in tolerance that says you can’t be rude about religions, I just promise not to try to ban anything or to make you’re life awkward if you come to my house or business (if I had one) or club (if I ran one).

  4. I agree with the ban, although I doubt we’ll get it here, sadly.

    There is much I don’t like about Islam, just as there is about Christianity, Islam, Judaism and all the others, even atheism but I would never presume to tell the followers that they are wrong, or that they shouldn’t believe, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else.

    Like anything though, the dangers of religion lie with those that take everything literally, and to the extreme, but the same could be said of anything, including liberalism.

    1. You agree with banning items of clothing?

      Also, atheism is not a religion, so pairing it with the list of religions is not accurate.

      As for telling followers they are wrong, I’m sorry but religion has long been favoured with special treatment, in that, it’s ideas have to be treated with respect. It is immune from the levels of interrogation that most ideas are tested with, to see whether they are good ideas or bad ideas.

      The contradiction is that organised religion does hurt many, many people, whether Islam or some other such cult.

      Also, you speak of the danger in religion being when they are taken literally and to their extreme. I hate to break this to you but they are all literal and extreme, any other version is a compromise that came after the dogma because the dogma was unworkable.

      Also, as you have confused atheism with a religion, you have also confused liberalism (whatever that is, a pretty generic term indeed with little meaning, used here by you purely as a pejorative, as you come to a blog you fundamentally disagree with to troll) with a religion.

      1. You agree with banning items of clothing?

        Not completely no, but in public yes. What a person wears around their own home is their own affair, and no-one else’s, but some items of clothing are inappropriate attire in public, e.g. something that covers the entire face, or body, such as a crash helmet (when not on a bike) a hoodie (when it isn’t raining) etc. However there is more to this issue, and sometimes we need rules to help people, or even just to shine a light a wider problem.

        Also, atheism is not a religion, so pairing it with the list of religions is not accurate.

        Atheism is the total denial of a god, and is often followed as zealously as a religion, and defended just as vigorously. I did separate it from the other religions by saying ‘even atheism’, however I see no difference in a unequivocal belief in god, and the complete and unequivocal denial of god, they are both sides of the same coin.

        I hate to break this to you but they are all literal and extreme, any other version is a compromise that came after the dogma because the dogma was unworkable.

        I disagree; at their cores all religions teach compassion for their fellow man, and encourage its follower to lead a good wholesome life. Some people do take obscure passages out of context and base their own doctrine on them, but in the main religion helps more people that it hurts. All religions are compromises, true, but this has always been the case, even back to the ancient Greeks and Romans (who absorbed each others gods) but this is due to man’s changing nature and the fact that it spreads to many different cultures and not because it is unworkable. Anyone with half a brain can see that religion taken literally doesn’t make sense.

        you have also confused liberalism (whatever that is, a pretty generic term indeed with little meaning,

        Liberalism is an ideology, which again in my view is not very different from a religion in that it is often ‘followed as zealously as a religion, and defended just as vigorously.’ Also, like a religion, the beliefs and goals are often taken literally, and followed to the extreme. I mentioned liberalism specifically because liberalism is in the title of this post, and mentioned frequently throughout it; I could just have easily have used conservatism, authoritarianism, fascism etc, the same points apply.

        as you come to a blog you fundamentally disagree with to troll) with a religion.

        But that is precisely why I did come here, to get a different view to my own on a subject that is much in the news at present, and I discovered, to my surprise, that we do agree on some points. Incidentally I am not religious, I realised from a very young age that religion did not make sense, but I still have respect for its adherents, regardless of colour, creed or religion.

        1. Do we have to do this? I can tell this is going to be a bore.

          From your answer, your selective banning of clothing is what the rest of us here disagree with. When it becomes selective like that, it can be used to exercise prejudice.

          “Atheism is the total denial of a god”

          No, it is not, it is evidence based thought, it can never be total because it would be utterly presumptuous to be total in anything. Thus your analogy is flawed, I also love how a non-atheist presumes to know what atheism is.

          “I disagree; at their cores all religions teach compassion for their fellow man”

          We will have to disagree on this one, the monotheistic faiths are built on pretty anti-human doctrines, compassion for fellow man is actually compassion for fellow jews, Christians and Muslims. And that is only if they follow certain, bizarre, outmoded rules.

          You speak of obscure passages, I’m sorry but that is utterly at odds with the holy books of those faiths, they are all obscure passages, a car crash of backwards ideas.

          “Liberalism is an ideology”

          Indeed it is, but it is such a general term, one not expounded by anyone here and one that is so huge as to be vague, it is also, not a religion and no mater what you believe, political affiliations are not religions.

          You are applying general terms of religion to politics, which is fine, it is your opinion but do not confuse it with fact.

          Also, arguing opinions is pointless.

          “But that is precisely why I did come here, to get a different view to my own”

          Cool, you’ve done that now.

          1. No, it is not, it is evidence based thought, it can never be total because it would be utterly presumptuous to be total in anything.

            The very definition of atheism is:

            The disbelief or denial of the existence of a God, or supreme intelligent Being.

            The very foundation of atheism is that there can be no god. You see how you are springing to the defence of your belief system, and my interpretation of it, almost as if it were a religion. It is not a simple thing to tell people that their beliefs are wrong, I mean, who decides? You said that the selective banning of clothing ‘can be used to exercise prejudice’ but surely the same can be said for belief systems and ideologies, who gets to decide who’s right? You are all up for defending one’s right to wear what one wishes, but not for believing in what one wishes, because the religion is flawed and wrong? 

            Maybe it is just me who seems the irony in such statements. 

            I also love how a non-atheist presumes to know what atheism is.

            I’ve said before that I don’t believe in god, and so I too am an atheist. 

            not a religion and no mater what you believe, political affiliations are not religions.

            No, political affiliations and other such ideologies evolve at a much faster rate and are easier to influence, but at the end of the day they all have their prophets and their doctrines. 

          2. Sorry but again, you’re wrong, you are pushing your definition of atheism, which in its very nature, cannot be a total denial of God because it is evidence based and no dogmatic and as much as you wish it to be dogmatic in order to rpove your point, it’s not.

            Dawkins explains it best and I’m paraphrasing, I cannot be 100% sure there is no God but all evidence points to the contrary and just as I cannot say with 100% certainty that I know that a giant Lobster called Basil created the universe with his claws, or that a tea cup is floating in space.

            Please don’t make me repeat this.

            “The very foundation of atheism is that there can be no god.”

            No, it’s not and I’m growing tired of you bending facts to the will of your opinion. Just drop it and move on.

            Atheism is evidence based practice, like science and the evidence at the moment points to the fact that their is no god but if evidence did occur to the contrary then I would change my mind.

            It really is that simple, it is not about that there cannot be a God, it is that, on evidence presented thus far, the existence of a god, or any sort, is incredibly slim.

            Atheism is not a belief system, no belief is involved and I am not “springing to its defence”, I am educating an ignorant on what it is as they spout off their opinion about it, which is lettered with errors.

            It’s not hard to grasp.

            Your desperate suggestion that it is “almost like it was a religion”..please, awful straw-man arguing, you’re building a defence an inserting it in my mouth.

            Stop it.

            Again, you are building strawman with your position, this is getting tiresome, you are trolling here and I want you to stop wasting my time.

            People can believe in what they want, just as they can wear what they want but that doesn’t stop what they wear of believe in being foolish.

            I am not telling them what to do, I am free though to share my opinion on their backwards ideas or awful fashion sense.

            “I’ve said before that I don’t believe in god, and so I too am an atheist.”

            Well then, you don’t know what it is, as I’ve said before.

            And again, with regards to politics as religion (which you partly cede was an awful analogy) you restate your opinion as if its fact, your analogy is a desperate one, again you may see them as prophets and whatnot but stop presuming that your opinion is fact.

            Now leave this blog alone, arguing opinions is pointless.

      2. Sorry but again, you’re wrong, you are pushing your definition of atheism

        Not my own, but the very definition of the word. It comes from the Greek, atheos, which broken down is ‘a’ without and ‘theos’ god. You can’t be an atheist if you believe in god, it really is that simple. 

        No, it’s not and I’m growing tired of you bending facts to the will of your opinion. Just drop it and move on.

        I know what you mean, we are arguing about the definition of a word, that we both know the meaning of and that is easy to look up. You claim that I am twisting it to suit, but really its definition hasn’t changed for centuries. 

        Atheism is not a belief system, no belief is involved and I am not “springing to its defence”,

        But you are, you keep telling me what it means to be an atheist, not what atheism means, they are not the same. Look how carried away you have become just with the meaning of the word, and your perception of my misinterpretation of it. That is what you believe, ergo it is important to you and you don’t like people challenging or misconstruing your beliefs. This is a problem with many atheists and I see it quite often. Atheists seem to take their view as gospel, and see themselves and more rational and intelligent than believers, they feel free to mock others but don’t like such scrutiny in return. Yet when you pick away at their arguments most atheists base their beliefs on a book they’ve read, written by someone whom they discern to be more intelligent than they are (Dawkins is a good example) and take their points on trust, and value their assurances, and frequently quote them or use them as a guide, in much the same way as believers do the bible/Qu’ran/Torah or leading clerics or historical figures.  

        Of course it is human nature to seek a path and guidance, but my point, several comments ago, was not about atheism itself, but the fact that atheism (or whatever) is not better, and no more right than any other belief, and yes, it is a belief. An atheist judging believers as ignorant, foolish and misguided is no more different than a Muslim judging a Jew as wrong, or a Christian a Muslim. You’d probably sit back smugly mocking such a discussion, but a truly objective observer would like-wise be mocking you. 

        whatnot but stop presuming that your opinion is fact.

        But isn’t that precisely what you’re doing with regards to religion?

        Your desperate suggestion that it is “almost like it was a religion”..please, awful straw-man arguing, you’re building a defence an inserting it in my mouth.

        You’re building my argument for me with your impassioned defence of your version of atheism, and then say:

        Well then, you don’t know what it is, as I’ve said before.

        Spoken like a true zealot and obviously not seeing the irony. This whole argument could have been between two followers of Islam, Christianity, Judaism etc, arguing the toss about specific passages, hadith or gospels. 

        And again, with regards to politics as religion (which you partly cede was an awful analogy) you restate your opinion as if its fact, your analogy is a desperate one, again you may see them as prophets and whatnot

        I don’t see it as desperate, you claimed that religion hurts many, many people, but as I said before political ideologies do far more and are just as vigorously defended belief systems, if not more so. A hard line Muslim and a hard line Jew could conceivably sit and have tea and discuss their religions, would a liberal do the same with say a racist, or a fascist? Entrenched views are entrenched views, no matter how you dress them up.

        1. Semantics and pedantry do not cover the fact that you do not know what atheism is, I have already explained this to you, I will not be repeating the fact. Of course I do not believe in a god but no atheist can be 100% sure, it is not a dogma.

          You are pushing that it is a dogma because you need this to prove your point.

          Stop arguing opinions.

          It is pointless.

          A words definition and what it actually means in practice are too very different things. You know that but in order for you to justify your ideas you must pigeonhole atheism as a religion when it is not. It has none of the features of a religion.

          By all means, you can believe it is a religion, you odd man but that is your opinion, this exchange will shift never of us from our views on what atheism is.

          “But you are, you keep telling me what it means to be an atheist, not what atheism means, they are not the same. Look how carried away you have become just with the meaning of the word, and your perception of my misinterpretation of it.”

          This is a daft point to make because it is equally suited to your own protestations.

          Again, arguing opinions is pointless.

          And I repeat, atheism is not a faith and does not require faith, it requires evidence. It does not require any belief either, only evidence based pratice. I am repeating myself, which is good sign this is over as a discussion so stop perpetuating this.

          “Atheists seem to take their view as gospel”

          I have already rebuffed this as nonsense, do not speak for atheists as whole, no such whole exists, I have also made it very clear that atheism needs no gospel, only evidence on which you make decisions.

          We are re-treading ground here, you need to perpetuate the myth of atheism as dogma in order for your point to be valid, I rebut that but you still use it as an anchor for your opinion.

          This is is utterly pointless.

          “and see themselves and more rational and intelligent than believers, they feel free to mock others but don’t like such scrutiny in return.”

          Again, you speak in generalised (negative) terms that are purely personal and not factual at all, which is fine but they are not anchors of fact for a debate, they are opinions and thus, pointless here.

          “Yet when you pick away at their arguments most atheists base their beliefs on a book they’ve read, written by someone whom they discern to be more intelligent than they are (Dawkins is a good example) and take their points on trust, and value their assurances, and frequently quote them or use them as a guide, in much the same way as believers do the bible/Qu’ran/Torah or leading clerics or historical figures.”

          Utter nonsense, your opinion of a huge demographic is not a fact or a truth, it is your personal opinion, riddled with generalisations and ‘worst-case’ thinking in order to fit your own prejudice.

          Atheism is not a cult or a religion that is reliant on one voice, or one book, it is based on evidence, on rational thought, on looking around and weighing up the chances of their actually being a god, based on the facts so far, is pretty slim.

          No trust is involved, no faith.

          I really have already said this!

          We know where you stand Charlie, you’ve already outlined your argument. I pointed out the errors in that and the presumptions on which you are building your opinion that atheism is just another religion.

          That’s it.

          This circular discussion is worthless.

          “But isn’t that precisely what you’re doing with regards to religion?”

          No because if we look at the evidence presented to us in the various religions, let us take their special books for example, they are littered with awful ideas such as slavery, genital mutilation, subjugation of ‘others’, violence, cruelty, anti-humanist statements, homophobia, rape, pillaging, incest and the worship of some kind of god figure that it vengeful, jealous and liable to fits of anger that cause death.

          That is not an opinion. That is a fact. That is what is present in those texts.

          Therefore, based on the evidence presented to me, I look at these things and find them to be bad ideas, like raping children is a bad idea, or setting fire to a dog, or harming people for no reason. All of these are bad ideas because I look at the idea and the evidence or its impact and it is clear it is not a good thing to do.

          If someone asks me to believe that the Earth is a few thousand years old I will look at the evidence and find that the chances of the Earth being a few thousand years old is very, very slim.

          If the same person says that it is a truth because god said it and it’s in a book, I will dismiss the book and god as not worth my time, unless other evidence appears to the contrary.

          If someone tells that a man rose again from the grave, I will look for evidence and also for other examples of it happening. To date, a resurrection is impossible, thus if someone asks me to worship that man, I will decline because, frankly, it’s weird.

          Crucially, if evidence appeared to the contrary I would view it and change my mind.

          Religion is not abut changing your mind, it is about blind faith, atheism is no religion.

          You also confuse intelligence and a well constructed argument for ‘passionate defences’. You are doing this because in your mind, I need to appear as a ‘zealot’ for your to perpetuate your falsehood of atheism as a religion.

          Also, to be passionate about an idea is perfectly natural, religion does not have a ownership of passion.

          Also, religion is not immune from critique, you are arguing that it needs to be treated respectfully or in some why differently, when in reality, all ideas are open to interrogation based on evidence presented for and against them.

          I don’t actually believe you’re an atheist either.

          I am also tired of you putting words in my mouth and giving me affectations that enable you to perpetuate your opinions, in order to justify your ideas.

          We are done here, this is circular, opinion based and pointless, I hope you can grasp that move on.

          1. Yes I would like to add that etymology is not synonymous with definition.

            Just because a word once meant something and has certain roots doesn’t mean that it can’t end up meaning something else.

            For example, “vegetarian”. It is now assumed this means someone who eats vegetables. But that is not the root of the word.

            Vegetarian was coined in the C19th from the latin word “vegetus” meaning lively.

            The word has moved on from its root to the point where no one really cares any more.

            Likewise with atheism, a literalism prescriptive definition from its roots in a dead language is silly. Atheism is what atheists define it as, same as any other word.

          2. Yes I would like to add that etymology is not synonymous with definition.

            Quite right, which is why I provided both. But just for further clarification, according to the OED:

            noun

            [mass noun]

            disbelief in the existence of God or gods

            I am struggling to see any other definition there chaps, I’ll be honest. 

            The word has moved on from its root to the point where no one really cares any more.

            But that’s my point, it hasn’t, at least not according to OED, or indeed any other dictionary that I have ever come across. 

            Likewise with atheism, a literalism prescriptive definition from its roots in a dead language is silly

            Erm, I believe that Greek is still widely spoken, well, within the borders of Greece anyway!

            Atheism is what atheists define it as, same as any other word.

            If that is the case, then why can Daniel tell me that my definition is wrong. I am an atheist, I don’t believe in god, yet you’re now both telling me that I am not the right type of atheist?  

            Also your logic is flawed, following that on racists can decide what racism is? Fascists what fascism is? Come on, you’re both intelligent, surely you see the flaw in your whole argument? An adherent can only say what their belief is to them, they cannot change the meaning of the word. Athiests no more decide the meaning of atheism (except to themselves) than murderers murder, rapists rape or liberals liberalism. 

            Were I a fascist I could tell you what fascism is to me, what my interpretation is, and what I believe, but I cannot change what fascism is. 

          3. Is this really going to have to go on any longer?

            You don’t want to see it Charlie that’s why, you want to see dogma to enable your opinion to make the transfer to fact but what you perceive as atheism and what I perceives as atheism are very different things.

            Which is fine.

            Because atheism is not a religion and thus a movement with clearly defined parameters, you can interpret it as you will but don’t force your interpretation onto others, as you have done here.

            “If that is the case, then why can Daniel tell me that my definition is wrong. I am an atheist, I don’t believe in god, yet you’re now both telling me that I am not the right type of atheist? “

            I’m not telling you that, you can define atheism as whatever you want but the problem is when you foist that onto this generalised band of atheists you speak of, in order to help make your point.

            And as an atheist I don’t believe in God either, its not about that, it is about being dogma free.

            Also, for the record, racists do decide what racism is, the vast majority of racists I’ve debated never actually think they’re a racist, they move the parameters to avoid the tarring brush.

            Fascism is a politically belief so you can’t make up what that it, it has tight evidence based parameters that you can measure the level of Fascism on, that won’t stop people calling people Fascist when they’re not and people claiming to be Fascist when they aren’t.

            You then bring in rape and murder, you are confusing things, atheism has no connection to those terms.

            It’s common sense Charlie, you cannot say with total certainty that there is no god, just as you cannot say with total certainty that the real Messiah was Elvis and we let him eat himself to death.

            Hope that’s clearer and I hope this comes to an end.

  5. Another thing that gets me, while I’m at it.

    When I hear the woolly-minded say how much they dislike the burqa, they’ll often say “It’s not even part of Islam anyway!” (Or that forced “marriage” isn’t sanctioned by Hinduism, or that the shite engaged in by right-wing Christians isn’t in the New Testament).

    Well, what if it was? What if these holy books really did contain instructions to be a cunt?

    Then it would still be wrong, in my view. But then I’m a mere piece of heathen scum.

    1. The holy books do contain these ideas, that is the problem, they are a mixed bag, they contain good and bad but are fundamentally awful Bronze Age thinking being show-horned into modern existence.

      A bad idea is a bad idea, whether religious, political or otherwise.

      The monotheistic religions are heavily anti-human, they are built around man subjecting himself to a vengeful, cretinous and petty God; who, by the way, get’s upset if you eat bacon.

      I mean, seriously.

    2. Religion is made up stuff.

      If someone says my made up stuff contains X, then there is no way to prove them wrong, because it is their made up stuff.

      I dont think the burqa is part of Islam, I think it is a relatively modern tool for supressing women, but then thats irrelevant isn’t it? If a woman chooses to wear it so be it, if she’s forced into it, lets call the police.

      1. If a woman chooses to wear it so be it, if she’s forced into it, lets call the police.

        I think that is quite a naive view, many of the women that wear these have no hope of calling the police or seeking any other kind of help, they are completely isolated and trapped within their own communities. Many do not speak English, or not very well, and have no idea of their rights and protections, nor whom to turn to for help. 

        How can you tell the difference between those that are forced, and those that are not? You’re hardly likely to see the husband forcing his wife into in a burkha in the street. 

  6. One of the few times I agree with your LeftO.

    The banners will point at Syria and say “Look they are banning it”. But that just shows how authoritarian Syria is because it’s a relgiously controlled state and all religion is authoritarian – how else can you get people to believe impossible things.

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