_The Economist_ “reports on”:http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11751650 the situation of Faiza M., a Moroccan woman who married a French citizen and moved with him back to France. She applied for citizenship and was rejected on the basis that she wore a _burqa_, a “radical practice” that is “incompatible with the essential values of the French community, and particularly with the principle of sexual equality.” One (female Algerian) official is quoted as saying “[The burqa] is not a religious sign but the visible sign of a totalitarian political project preaching sexual inequality.”
Get over it. The _burqa_ is just a piece of cloth. It is clothing and it is not the state’s role to intervene into what type of clothing people wear. The motto of France since the French Revolution is: Liberté, égalité, fraternité. This decision makes a mockery of France’s “essential value” of liberty.
The sad thing is that Faiza M. only started wearing the _burqa_ at the request of her husband when they arrived in France. As long as it is her choice, she should be able to wear whatever she likes. If, however, she is being _forced_ to wear a certain kind of clothing against her will, then the state should step in to protect her personal freedom. Religion cannot be used as a shield. Legal and religious institutions are rightly separated, and a country’s laws are applicable to all citizens equally. Using religion to flout the laws is unacceptable, like the Muslim woman in Florida who “refused to reveal her face for a driver’s license photo”:http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/06/06/florida.license.veil/index.html.
Finally, I would just like to stress that I am by no means a Muslim apologist. “All faiths”:http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/its_a_goddamned_cracker.php have their whackaloons. The bottom line is: I am a freedom-loving libertarian, and am willing to defend that position.