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Laïcité, Egalité, Fraternité - (Secularism, Equality, Fraternity)

By honi soit qui peu y boit in Op-Ed
Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:13:02 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Lila and Alma Levy are two girls of high-school age from Aubervilliers, France who, in most countries, would probably not attract much attention to themselves. Like millions of other young women, they choose to wear a Muslim headscarf as an expression of their faith[1]. However, the two girls live in France, a secular country which does not tolerate any sign of religious expression in public places which might jeopardise their notion of laïcité (state atheism practised as an evangelical religion) and is moving towards a ban on the wearing of all visible religious emblems in public schools and possibly hospitals.[2]. Consequently, the two sisters have been told not to return to the Lycée Henri Wallon (high school); the pretext for this decision being that they are causing a disturbance by coming to school wearing veils.


The French President Jacques Chirac recently antagonised the 5-million-or-so-strong Muslim population in France by commenting that: "Wearing a veil, whether we want it or not, is a sort of aggression that is difficult for us to accept." It is worrying that this sort of statement is being made by the elected head of the French state. More worrying is the fact that this statement and the policies relating to it are strongly supported in France. It is an issue that both the Right (M. Chirac's UMP) and the Socialists can agree on, albeit perhaps for different reasons. French feminists also strongly support the idea. Yet why do girls like Lila and Alma, whose mixed parentage would lead one to suppose that they are brought up in a tolerant household, chose to wear the veil and to go to such lengths to defend their right to wear it? Oddly enough, not all of them consider it to be degrading or sexist.

Women have worn veils for roughly three thousand years, with the first laws dating to the reign of the Assyrian king Phalazar (1112-1047 BC). The only women expressly excluded from this ruling were prostitutes, who could walk around without a veil. [3] The oppressive nature of this ruling is lamentable, but hidden behind it is a strong moral aspect which, to put it simply, says that virtuous Muslim women wear veils. Although most would oppose any such laws in the modern world (such as the Taliban's forcing of women to wear full burqas), we should also appreciate that many moderate Muslim women no longer equate the veil with any kind of obligation but with an expression of virtue. It would be naïve not to acknowledge that many women are forced against their will to wear them to conform to the ideals of other members of their communities, but the fact remains that a certain number wear veils of their own volition. There are no readily-available figures, but this has to be an entirely separate issue for the state should deal with, and that liberating these women from oppression by their male relatives is not best achieved by denying all Muslim women permission to wear the headscarf, against their will if necessary.

Many have pointed out that this law is not exclusively anti-Islamic, which is true. If passed it will affect all religions, outlawing the wearing of yamakas, large crosses, Sikh Turbans, wiccan Pentagrams, etc. However up to this point the debate in France has almost exclusively revolved around the law's effects on adherents of Islam. The fact that all religions are discriminated against in any way justifies the discrimination, and the discrimination may well not be applied equally. After all, there is no way that a law could be passed exclusively outlawing Muslim artefacts from schools. Up until now, it is only Muslims who have been excluded from schools. Also, the proposed law will not be limited to schools but will encompass hospitals and other state-run institutions as well. It's just that so far the effects of this debate are only really visible in schools.

In the past, the mainstream secular leadership hoped to pry the masses away from their religious beliefs by helping them to attain a degree of social and economic mobility intended to empower them to shed their religious attachments. The current government hasn't given up on that approach, but today faces a new threat, that of Arabic satellite television channels exhorting viewers not to accept the values of the secular state. Rather than becoming more secular, many French Muslims are becoming more conservative in their religious outlook and are increasingly looking to the Islamic world for guidance. Chirac's aim is to put an stop to this, even if it means a full-blown kulturkampf.

Furthermore, can attitudes really be changed through legislation (French link)? How can forcing the removal of an item of clothing that you personally see as emblematic of something bad alter the opinions of people to whom it may have an entirely different meaning? By this argument, the reason for banning the display of religious symbols is to marginalise the cultures of those to whom they have meaning. If detached from those cultures you assume these people would be happier. The point of view intrinsic in this argument is that most Muslim men are incapable of respectful behaviour, which is a statement we can hopefully all agree is wrong. Singling them out will not help them get on with their lives and embrace the French state's Enlightenment. They are distinct from other French women and to force them not to be is impossible. Wearing French clothes isn't going to change this; setting what are in effect special rules for religious minorities (or rules which apply to everyone but in fact only interfere with religious minorities), takes away from the concept of equality.

There are claims that laws are passed against polygamy (something which is permitted under the Koran's teachings, as well as by certain other religions such as some the Church of the Latter Day Saints [LDS or Mormon] offshoots) or cannabis, central to the rastafarian religion, do not receive condemnation. Laws against polygamy and pot, however, were enacted for reasons apart from culture. The justification for prohibiting polygamy and certain recreational pharmaceuticals remains regardless of why the behaviour exists. They seek to remove an actual harm from society as opposed to a perceived one.

If your personal conception of the practice of your religion involves the wearing of a certain type of clothing in your daily life, and you are no longer permitted to wear that clothing as a student, then in a very real and direct way you have been banned from fully practising your religion. Regardless of the fact that you have the right to go to non-state schools where this type of clothing is allowed, this is beyond the means of the majority of people since the government does not offer financial support to these schools. Now, given, if someone's personal practice of their religion were causing some sort of active disruption to the school system, then it might be acceptable or reasonable on the part of the French school system to place restrictions on that practice. It seems that these practices are being forbidden not because they are causing a disturbance, but because they are religious practices.

The Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has stated on national TV that he is in favour of positive discrimination (French link)and has pledged to nominate a Muslim prefect within the near future. For his trouble he got a very public rebuke (French link). Two wrongs make a right and Chirac's view that promotion to such a position should be based exclusively on merit is right but people can appreciate why Sarkozy felt compelled to say what he did. Since that happened, Sarkozy has overtaken Chirac in the polls (French link)so it's clear that not everyone agrees with the President. Other attempts are being made to take the Muslim community's wishes into account, although segregation remains a bad thing, even when propounded by the minority population in question. Surely the state's schools ought to be able to accommodate its own citizens without forcing them to abandon their traditions? Furthermore, what is to stop the French state from simply enacting another law outlawing such schools? Already there are incidences of private Muslim playgroups being closed because the government does not agree with what goes on there. The French government ought to be able to see that it's preferable to permit multi-cultural practices within the wider community rather than allowing radicals to form their own institutions and promoting extremism.

France has enjoyed a separation between Church and State since 1905 and freedom of religion is supposedly a constitutional right in the country. However, this law is more often used to support anti-clerical discourses. It is claimed that because of this law, the notion of a right to religious expression within the institutions of the French state does not exist. The government has every right to outlaw religious instruction in schools or promote its own values such as secularism, although many find it objectionable when the rabid quest for atheism is allowed to directly interfere with the lives of individuals.

This article does not wish to imply that France is outlawing the practise of Islam or any other religion, because this is not the case. Even if this does become law, people will be free to believe whatever they wish and practise whatever religion they choose, in private. The law will not cover people's homes, places of worship or privately run organisations (although there are examples of the authorities closing down Islamic playschools due to the content of their curriculum). Private schools will be free to make their own rules. Many believe that a secular state has the right to demand that there be no displays of religious allegiance within it's own institutions. As an employer the French state is able to make certain demands, such that there be no religious instruction in schools. The question is: is the state justified in forcing it's own values onto people by prohibiting them from maintaining familial or cultural traditions, no matter what the justification for this action may be?



Print Footnotes:

1. Le Monde 2 n°34, novembre 2003 p. 58-60
2. Le Monde n°18309, dimanche 7décembre 2003, "Loi sue la laïcité: le débat rebondit de l'école à l'hôpital"
3. 'Depuis quand les femmes sont-elles voilées?', Ça M'intéresse n°274 Décembre 2003

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o [1]
o [2]
o not to
o return to
o "Wearing a veil, whether we want it or not, is a sort of aggression that is difficult for us to accept."
o strongly supported
o [3]
o through legislation (French link)
o positive discrimination (French link)
o a very public rebuke (French link)
o overtaken Chirac in the polls (French link)
o Other attempts are being made
o separation between Church and State since 1905
o Also by honi soit qui peu y boit


Display: Sort:
Laïcité, Egalité, Fraternité - (Secularism, Equality, Fraternity) | 398 comments (387 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Chirac is a fascist (2.27 / 11) (#7)
by intransigent on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 03:47:18 PM EST

But what are the reasons for outlawing polygamy? Other than driving more men insane, it seems like it should be legal and available to both sexes. Especially considering legal divorce. True that drugs can be debated outside of religion but marriage?

Why is atheism a religion to some people? Intimidation from other religions?



Or cannabis? (2.00 / 4) (#9)
by jup on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 03:59:48 PM EST

Sames, maybe even more, goes for cannabis. I would classify both of these as perceived rather then actual harm to the society. These things are just being demonized by some.
--
Two beers or not two beers. That's the question.
[ Parent ]
True, although (none / 1) (#126)
by Ward57 on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 11:45:38 AM EST

smoking it will give you cancer. Just like smoking anything else will give you cancer, as long as it burns, that is.

[ Parent ]
Huzzah! (none / 0) (#323)
by Nursie on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 08:32:27 AM EST

/me claps joyfully

People need to take that more seriously.
I'm on the legalisation side of the debate myself. But when people claim cannibis does no harm, and it's not proven to be harmful etc. etc. they often forget that smoking pretty much anything is carcinogenic.
'No more harmful than cigarettes' is a valid argument, but that's still pretty harmful.....

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
True (none / 0) (#335)
by jup on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 12:14:23 PM EST

But I don't need no state telling me what's good for me and what is not. It's certainly not that dangerous. Is it carcinogenic? Quite possibly, after all, tobaco is certainly too, and it's legal. I for myself don't intend to smoke it on everyday basis, as I don't heavily drink on everyday bases. But if somebody wants, as long as I don't have to smell it, it's theirs problem.

Besides, who said anything about smoking? There's loy of other uses for cannabis, some of them in medicine. And have you ever tried using it for cooking?
--
Two beers or not two beers. That's the question.
[ Parent ]

Some otherwise (none / 1) (#125)
by Ward57 on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 11:44:22 AM EST

reasonable, calm atheists don't see why they should have to put up with religion, sometimes even see it as a threat. e.g. whahabism or pseudo-christian opposition to abortion.

[ Parent ]
correct, not to mention (none / 0) (#255)
by davros4269 on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 03:10:41 PM EST

- evolution, stem cell research, etc. Why do we pretend to base these descisions on the facts and the empirical scientific data, if we need concepts like the soul and other supernaturals?
Will you squirm when you are pecked? Quack.
[ Parent ]
I concur (none / 1) (#132)
by cpt kangarooski on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:42:41 PM EST

But what are the reasons for outlawing polygamy? Other than driving more men insane, it seems like it should be legal and available to both sexes. Especially considering legal divorce.

Take a look at the infamous Reynolds decision in the US, which went against polygamy. It's rife with moralistic and somewhat racist reasons for upholding a ban, but it never once makes a good argument.

Indeed, given that we no longer penalize sex outside of marriage, can write wills or enter into contracts so as to support multiple partners, have readily available divorce, don't penalize illegitimate children, and so forth, it's pretty evident that people can live very nearly polygamously -- all they lack are the particular benefits and duties of marriage (which can be pretty considerable, however). Why deny them this? It's pretty similar to the issue of same-sex marriage; there's been very little call to deny it that has not been founded on moralistic attitudes.

Though I also agree that having one spouse is more than enough -- you'd have to be nuts to want several at once.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]

aggression (none / 1) (#136)
by PigleT on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:50:04 PM EST

"Why is atheism a religion to some people? Intimidation from other religions?"

Well, it's based on a statement about religious matters ("there is no God"), and some folks choose to take it religiously (ie legally, evangelistically).

I don't see anything aggressive in someone choosing to wear a head-scarf, any more than I think "hmm, pentagram" or "hmm, cross". I'd go as far to say that any aggression perceived is Chirac's own problem, he brings that preconception with him. You do not get a free state by banning everything semi-religious, but by tolerating it all and saying "well, good for you".
~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]

Atheism (none / 1) (#165)
by marx on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:20:10 PM EST

it's based on a statement about religious matters ("there is no God")
No it's not. Not believing in UFOs does not mean that you have to make the statement "there are no UFOs".

I'm sure you will launch into a tirade of describing how this is agnosticism and not atheism, but I don't think many actually care. I have never met an atheist who has claimed that "there is no God", just that they don't think that the arguments proving the existence of God make any sense.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

illogical, cap'n (none / 0) (#201)
by PigleT on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:57:27 PM EST

"No it's not. Not believing in UFOs does not mean that you have to make the statement "there are no UFOs"."

That doesn't actually counter what I said. It's still a statement in the "religious" arena. You should really check in the dictionary before flaunting something as a definition, too.

"I'm sure you will launch into a tirade of describing how this is agnosticism and not atheism,"

Rubbish. Agnosticism is "we don't know if there's a God", which differs entirely.

"I have never met an atheist who has claimed that "there is no God", just that they don't think that the arguments proving the existence of God make any sense."

So, because you haven't met any, there can't be any?

I'm thinking you would actually benefit from taking some time to read http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html. HTH :)
~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]

I say that. (none / 0) (#399)
by Ward57 on Wed Jan 07, 2004 at 05:04:28 AM EST

There is no god. I refuse to believe in anything I have not even the slightest shred of evidence for. Bigfoot, UFOs and Unicorns have more evidence.

[ Parent ]
Subjecting one's children to his beliefs is (none / 1) (#327)
by slaida1 on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 10:37:58 AM EST

aggressive. And I see scarf/cross/pentagram wearing children and teenagers as victims of their parents' brainwashing. I don't like people spamming irrational tell-tale beliefs on their family, relatives, friends and strangers like some horrific brainplague which gets anyone not strong enough to resist.

Religions are bad. Okay? They have already messed with our minds so much that we think nudity is a sin and that we should just passively listen and take for granted everything someone dressed in certain kind of tunica tells us.

It's okay to believe without evidence but it's NOT okay to spew uncontrollably that belief all over others like it's a fact or a good thing in any concievable way. If one believes in something then by all means he may discuss about it and share his opinions.

[ Parent ]

Who's beliefs should they be subject to then? (none / 0) (#349)
by datamodel on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 04:58:55 AM EST

Or is the ideal to teach them only theories that have sufficient evidence to back them up, and then that these are only theories, and could be revised at any time?



[ Parent ]

Whose, even. (none / 0) (#350)
by datamodel on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 04:59:54 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Their own, whatever they've made up (none / 0) (#351)
by slaida1 on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 06:28:28 AM EST

on their own. Those would have at least some value because they would contain something unique and be truly personal like religions ought to be. I think it's important to tell people when there are no known answers to a question and let people deal with that or develop delusions on their own. And/or tell'em about theories like you said.

It'd be really interesting to hear what kind of stuff people would come up without readymade fantasies.

[ Parent ]

The "Religion" of Atheism (none / 0) (#339)
by czolgosz on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 05:45:53 PM EST

Why is atheism a religion to some people? Intimidation from other religions?
Because many of the religious cannot conceive of a person having no religious beliefs, so they assign to such a person the "null religion" which is absurdly defined to be the religion with no attributes of a religion: atheism. They then assume that atheism has all the baggage of religion: precepts, dogma, etc. They just can't imagine that many of us manage to live our lives without reference to the tribal superstitions of Iron Age nomads.

In the same way, if heroin addiction were far more prevalent, I might be stigmatized for my non-use of smack, and there would be a widespread assumption that (1) I must still really feel the need for it; and (2) If not heroin, I must be cooking down and injecting something.

I take no position on the question of whether junk or fundamentalist religion is more pernicious. Junkies don't start holy wars, but religious nuts don't break into my apartment to steal my Tivo.


Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]
Unless (none / 0) (#357)
by intransigent on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 04:10:58 PM EST

you've got porn or anti-government propaganda on it.

Yes, but, one aspect I see among many atheists (those that claim to be anyway) is that they are disgusted with silly little things like Christmas. Many also see the practice of any sort of mysticism as the derth of mankind; that if we were to eradicate religions we would solve all world problems.

That is bullshit.

Blaming problems on societal constructs is exactly the problem I have with most of the political types. MTV made me do it, Chrisitianity/Islam made them do it, etc. Even if these religions, or sects therein, advocated violence, it is still the people that act. And it is the people who should be held responsible.

Fear and stupidity are not created by religions nor do they necessarily foment such. But extremism of any kind sure does.

(Not even sure I made a point there but it was a fun kind of rambling. And I got to use a bold "that" for the 4th day in a row.)



[ Parent ]
Responsibility (none / 0) (#378)
by czolgosz on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 04:41:58 PM EST

Blaming problems on societal constructs is exactly the problem I have with most of the political types. MTV made me do it, Chrisitianity/Islam made them do it, etc. Even if these religions, or sects therein, advocated violence, it is still the people that act. And it is the people who should be held responsible.
I also believe in accountability. Religion is often used as an excuse or rationalization for what is really just self-interest. It also often imposes its own irrational requirements (think of forcible conversion, persecution of unbelievers, precipitating the apocalypse) that can lead to needless suffering.

I regard freedom from religious compulsion as a necessary, but by no means sufficient, condition for people to behave in an accountable manner. I also choose not to follow a religion, but that's not a matter for policy. I don't discount the possibility that some religious people can do more good than harm-- but this must be balanced against the great damage that religious institutions historically have done.

And I cannot agree that an individual's virtue is entirely independent of their social context. Societies can be structured so as to enable or to discourage positive behavior. Consider those societies where a degree of criminal behavior (say, participation in the black market) is necessary in order to survive, or those chaotic situations that approximate the "war of all against all." In neither of these would it be possible to arbitrate disputes justly, or to avoid deceiving civil authority. Yes, blaming Christianity, or Islam, or rap lyrics, talk radio or video games trivializes this. But the relationship between an individual and society is a rich interface, and there's causality on both sides. Living in a society that's still relatively free of coercion, it's easy to underestimate just how much the environment can shape our behavior. One of my great concerns with the recent changes in US society has been that the degree of coercion is growing. I lived for many years in a profoundly repressive society, and I saw first-hand how it adversely influenced the character of otherwise decent people. I'd hate to see that happen here.


Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]
Um (1.50 / 6) (#8)
by Easyas123 on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 03:54:39 PM EST

Perhaps it was due to the writing style, but I didn't clearly pick up whether or not Muslims were being picked on unfairly. I do not agree with the law, but if it is applied equally, there is not much cause for a specific religous complaint.

And what aboout this:

liberating these women from oppression by their male relatives is not best achieved by denying all Muslim women permission to wear the headscarf, against their will if necessary.
I would assume that due to the law that we are speaking of, and France's secular position, that this is not an issue that they are entitled or interested in adressing. If these women are being abusedin some way, I am sure there are plent of ways for it to be adressed regardless of this law.

One last point: -1 Too Eurocentric.

***********************
As the wise men fortold.

Eurocentric? (none / 2) (#22)
by holdfast on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 08:31:45 PM EST

Not really. Rather just non US-centric.

Certainly this is as meaningful as some bunch of football players being in trouble because they prayed before a school game.


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
God grants wishes? (none / 1) (#58)
by truth versus death on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:35:27 AM EST

And He decides football games?

As I seem to recall this has been an issue when state-funded athletic coaches enforce a strict regimen of pre-game (and/or post-game) praying.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Irrelavant (none / 0) (#130)
by holdfast on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:12:49 PM EST

I don't think he gets involved much. Something about free will...

Your signature is interesting. Are you sure its safe to say things like that in a country with such endangered free speech?


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
Well, I was talking about safety (none / 0) (#215)
by truth versus death on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 12:54:01 AM EST

But being that I am anonymous in current current of speech, I am not too concerned about Bush himself doing me harm. It's his policies that create the world's terrorists (and the terroristic policies of the United States in certain 3rd world countries) that concern me.

It is certainly interesting how much the 9/11 investigation has been impeded thus far by Bush's administration.

Something about free will would seem to indicate God does not do anything on Earth. Why do people pray?

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Why? (none / 0) (#236)
by holdfast on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 09:29:28 AM EST

Because he says to. It is not compulsory for Christians. They can choose not to if they want.
You may not get what you ask for though.


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
Why would you get what you asked for... (none / 0) (#238)
by truth versus death on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 09:53:38 AM EST

If free will were in effect?

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
A trivial Example (none / 0) (#244)
by holdfast on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 11:25:42 AM EST

My son asks me for sweets. I give him them.
This does not affect his free will in any way.

I decide that he needs to spend 4 hours per day swimming practice. This might be very good for him and enable him to win competitions but it would affect his free choice on the matter.

God has free will too. Just as I might choose not to give my son the sweets because they are bad for his teeth, God may choose to not give me what I ask for.


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
Yes it does (none / 0) (#303)
by truth versus death on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 11:07:05 PM EST

He know knows to ask you for sweets when he wants sweets. He has been trained and is now predisposed to making that action as opposed to another action. You have forever altered his "free" will.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
there is no free will (none / 0) (#256)
by davros4269 on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 03:17:23 PM EST

- if you believe that God is all knowing. If he knows everything, than it follows that he also knows the future. If he knows the future, than any choice, which may seem like a choice to us mere mortals, is not really a choice.

If it were really a choice, than this implies even God doesn't know the outcome and this then implies that he isn't all knowing.

This is the most obvious of contradictions.

There is actually a Baptist that wants Christians to change their rigid view of the Bible and, in effect, lower God's power to allow for free-will - fascinating stuff!
Will you squirm when you are pecked? Quack.
[ Parent ]

Public Schools (2.64 / 17) (#10)
by Bad Harmony on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 04:24:43 PM EST

Public schools indoctrinate their students with the values of the nation. Dress and appearance are regulated as part of that process. If you don't like the values of the public schools, you can try to have them changed or you can send your children to a private school.

If secularism is considered important in France, it is reasonable for their schools to promote that value by limiting religious expression in the public schools.

I have my doubts about how much "choice" many of these girls have in the matter of wearing veils or headscarves. Many Muslim societies are very intolerant towards women who do not conform to local notions of proper dress and behavior. Most of these customs have little or nothing to do with the religion of Islam, except in the minds of the ignorant.

54º40' or Fight!

Been there, seen it (2.20 / 5) (#14)
by jup on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 06:22:42 PM EST

This just proves you've never really seen communist dictatorship before. I lived in one, I also spend some time in France, and let me assure you, it's still very far from it. And for the record, even US is very far from the quality of communist dictatorship, or at least wast last time I visited it three years ago. Things may be changing, though, that's what I heard.

And here goes my rule of not replying to trollish comments.
--
Two beers or not two beers. That's the question.
[ Parent ]

Of course the US isn't a communist dictatorship... (none / 2) (#39)
by Aemeth on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:42:56 PM EST

...(apart from the inherent contradiction), the U.S. is much closer to a fascist dictatorship, run on the power and paranoia of the wealthy. (In a communist dictatorship, the power derives directly from the paranoia ;)).

...mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.
Bertrand Russell


[ Parent ]
True (none / 1) (#100)
by jup on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:55:30 AM EST

But there's not that much deference between communist and facist dictatorship or between communist leaders and the wealthy.

One just doesn't need wealth that much, when everything is free for the leaders anyway.
--
Two beers or not two beers. That's the question.
[ Parent ]

But is that really a true choice? (none / 0) (#314)
by Chakotay on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 05:21:13 AM EST

Public schools are free, private schools cost money. There are some private Muslim schools in the larger cities of France, but they all require a contribution from the parents. Thing is, fate made it such that the Muslims in France are generally less wealthy than the Christians and Atheists for the simple reason that most Muslims are immigrants or descendents thereof. Most Muslims can therefor simply not afford to send their children to a private school, and are thus forced to send them to public schools where they are, arguably, discriminated against.

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]
Why do schools stop people wearing what they like? (none / 1) (#316)
by Russell Dovey on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 06:36:33 AM EST

To stop students from wearing whatever they like is to practice repression of creative thought.

Decorating the body and clothing in one's own way should be a freedom allowed in every civilised society. France is making a big mistake doing this, and if I was a citizen of that fine country I would protest in the most visible and memorable manner I could think of.

For those citizens of France who might want to mock those who place themselves above you in morality, I suggest these methods of protest:

  • Wear nothing. If they deny you your right to wear what clothes you like, why should you give them the satisfaction of wearing their approved apparel?
  • Wear a hijab or burqha, even if you are an atheist. This is most important for school students. If you all wear a hijab, then they are unlikely to expel you all. Stand together, and show them how silly they are!
  • Make a point of wearing a piece of religious jewelry, then turn yourself in at a police station for the crime of wearing it inside a public building (the police station). This recursive crime will, by its very nature, show how idiotic it is to persecute religion in this way.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

I'm puzzled by this (2.27 / 11) (#12)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 05:02:51 PM EST

I'm all in favour of secularism, but I guess my Anglo-Saxon conception of what it involves must be rather different to the French one, or the Turkish one for that matter. How is wearing tokens of faith in a public space - albeit a state-run public space - a violation of the state's obligation not to favour particular religions ? Or is there some interpretation of secularism that requires the state of actively suppress the displays of religiosity and promote atheism ?

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
you can see it this way: (2.87 / 8) (#27)
by martingale on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 10:16:48 PM EST

First of all, there are various kinds of religious symbols. Some people wear a cross around their neck as jewelry, but it's usually hidden beneath the clothes. That's not what I'm talking abou below.

The wearing of special religious symbols marks you out as following a particular faith. If the symbol is clearly visible or prominently displayed, its purpose is to separate you from the crowd. For example, it is perfectly obvious that the Jewish cap is designed to be seen by others. The wearer probably isn't wearing it, personally, to draw attention to himself, but that doesn't change the actual purpose of the cap, which was decided many centuries ago.

Now a secular state (as opposed to one which explicitly promotes one or more religions) cannot discriminate for or against the members of various religions. The fairest way to achieve this is to minimize the special handling required when such religions clash with real situations, and that's best achieved by minimizing the opportunities for such clashes.

In other words, it's better for people to keep their religion at home rather than to expect the state to accomodate all the special rules and regulations equally well for all.

For example, some fundamentalists believe strongly the creation account in the Bible. For such people, a different account may range from mildly annoying to unacceptable or blashpemous. Is it better for the state to actively seek out such people and allow them to skip class on those occasions, or is it better to require those people to keep their religious requirements (in this case, no exposure to evolutionary ideas) private?



[ Parent ]

I see your point but (none / 1) (#44)
by livus on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:24:01 AM EST

you are leaving out the fact that visibility is in many cases part of the requirements of the religion in the first place. I have even heard some christians exhorting each other to wear the cross as visibly as possible (they call it "to carry the cross" would you believe!) because to hide it would be like st Peter denying christ or some such thing.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
visibility (2.75 / 4) (#48)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:23:58 AM EST

The practical purpose of visibility in such cases is to put social pressure on members of the faith. It can therefore be argued that those particular requirements are designed to increase divisiveness, by labeling some people as believers and others as nonbelievers, and identify the nonbelievers for easier conversion purposes.

In other words, it's a piece of social engineering designed to increase that religion's "market share". Does an explicitly secular public institution have any business being a market for religious competitions?

[ Parent ]

That's your opinion not their stated purpose. (none / 2) (#70)
by livus on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:51:07 AM EST

Non-believers such as you and I may well have our own theories about what the "real" or secret purpose of these things is, not to mention their social function,

but that "it can therefore be argued" really doesn't cut it for me, particularly when the believers of these religions explicitly state that they do it for purposes quite other.

For example, in the case of hijab dress codes many young muslim women I have met simply see it as a benefit given to them by their god - the right to modesty - and feel sorry for those of us who do not have it. To me that is far more culturally and socially complex and if we were to ban it we may as well ban chemotherapy victims from wearing hats or the Americans from plastering their precious flag all over their property.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

there are ways to judge this (2.50 / 4) (#83)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:35:38 AM EST

Non-believers such as you and I may well have our own theories about what the "real" or secret purpose of
Yes. That is in no doubt. We can, however, observe the believers and make inferences (as can they). For example, we can observe if some believers take things to greater extremes than most others. So while we cannot comprehend the motivation, we can still discuss it.

For example, in the case of hijab dress codes many young muslim women I have met simply see it as a benefit given to them by their god - the right to modesty - and feel sorry for those of us who do not have it. To me that is far more culturally and socially complex and if we were to ban it we may as well ban chemotherapy victims from wearing hats or the Americans from plastering their precious flag all over their property.
What I like about debates is that it brings out the different sides of an issue for all to see. At least, that's the theory.

What I seem to remember about the case which sparked this is that it had a lot to do with degree. Those two girls aren't the only Muslims in the school, or the only ones wearing a scarf. They did however insist on being very strict with the rules, e.g. constantly checking that no hair can possibly peek out. I imagine this would distract from the lectures. I don't claim to know however, simply that this was the impression I got when I learnt about this a while back.

[ Parent ]

yes but ... that's still no justification. (none / 0) (#175)
by livus on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:20:53 PM EST

"Yes. That is in no doubt. We can, however, observe the believers and make inferences (as can they)."

Yes, and it's quite fun and productive to do so. My objection comes when we want to use these inferrences as justification for forcefully altering the material reality of those we observe.

It's a dangerous habit, and has led in the past to a lot of things we're horrified by today.

Hmm, if your recollection of the case is correct, it sounds to me like the response was an enormous overreaction to what is basically ignorance and cultural insensitivity on the part of the educators.

The teacher should have simply told them  to stop fiddling with the things. If a boy had been fiddling with his trousers the teacher would hardly have told him to take them off in front of the class. Goodness, why does a hint of religion make everyone so impractical all of a sudden!

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Yep (none / 1) (#161)
by bgalehouse on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 04:44:39 PM EST

Of course, a person with lots and lots of piercing has obviously done this to draw attention to himself. Certainly, it is for other people to look at, and so it must be for other people.

The resulting divisiveness explains why people with lots of metal sticking out of their body often seem to hang out in groups.

Furthermore, they serve as walking advertisements for piercing salons. But of course, incidental government support of private industry is entirely different than incidental government support of religion. But this is understandable in light of the fact the religions don't pay taxes.

[ Parent ]

There are also non-religious symbols. (2.75 / 4) (#51)
by zakalwe on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:42:19 AM EST

The wearing of special religious symbols marks you out as following a particular faith. If the symbol is clearly visible or prominently displayed, its purpose is to separate you from the crowd.
And what is wrong with that? Would you also restrict the right of people to tell people of their religion? If someone wants to seperate themselves, whether through verbal, written or symbolic expression, then I don't think we should be banning it, however unpalatable we might find their views. All aspects of your appearance can express something about you - if you ban clothings that identify you as a member of a religion, should you not also ban clothing that expresses your taste in music, or a culture you identify with?
In other words, it's better for people to keep their religion at home rather than to expect the state to accomodate all the special rules and regulations equally well for all.
There's no need for the state to accomodate the rules equally for all, but it should not impose arbitrary restrictions against things that harm no-one. There may be valid reasons to restrict some religious expression, for instance, refusing to allow a Sikh to carry a Kirpan - but the reason should be the same as for any other weapon - there should be no extra penalty or lenience just because it is considered a holy symbol. The state should be neutral with respect to religion except where it collides with laws.

Choice of clothing or carrying symbols is a means of expression, and the expression of views is not something that I think should be banned. If there is no law against expressing yourself in other ways, then why is religious expression singled out? If the school bans all personal clothing, and demands a strict uniform and absolute conformity of appearance for all pupils then it might have a point. If not, why should expressing yourself through jewelry, hair style, cosmetics or clothing be treated differently depending on whether or not a group attaches religious significance to them?

For example, some fundamentalists believe strongly the creation account in the Bible. For such people, a different account may range from mildly annoying to unacceptable or blashpemous. Is it better for the state to actively seek out such people and allow them to skip class on those occasions, or is it better to require those people to keep their religious requirements (in this case, no exposure to evolutionary ideas) private?
Neither. It is better to allow them to express their views, and still require them to take the same classes and exams as the others. There's no need to support or assist them with their belief, but why should they be prevented from speaking it?

[ Parent ]
depends (none / 1) (#52)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:12:58 AM EST

Would you also restrict the right of people to tell people of their religion?
Actually, that is the case with certain political views. It is against the law in many European countries to promote Neo-Nazi beliefs publically (nobody can check what you do in private). Freedom of speech does not function in exactly the same way in all western democracies, and while I gave a political example, religion is not exempt.

There's no need for the state to accomodate the rules equally for all, but it should not impose arbitrary restrictions against things that harm no-one.

Actually, I think the opposite. The state should accomodate all equally. That's not to say that in practice, it is achievable. But it's an important ideal.

In practice, there are lots of complications about what some consider arbitrary restrictions. Let me construct a fairly practical example:

The girls at the center of the controversy want to follow to the letter an interpretation of Islam wherein adolescent boys and men must not see their hair or other parts of their body. Now: how does the school teach them to swim?

Generally speaking, going swimming in a public pool is fraught with religious difficulties. The bus trip and other expenses typically force coed swimming lessons. The swimming coach might be a man. Full body bathing suits or wetsuits are either not easy to find or too expensive.

How would you, as the school's headmaster or just the girl's teacher, teach the girls to swim?

I refer you back to your previous comment on such matters, and would be interested in how you would solve this problem:

Neither. It is better to allow them to express their views, and still require them to take the same classes and exams as the others. There's no need to support or assist them with their belief, but why should they be prevented from speaking it?


[ Parent ]
Compelling State Interest (none / 1) (#63)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:02:41 AM EST

Some notion of "compelling State interest" is required here. I presume there is an equivalent concept in the French juridical tradition?

In the US, the State would have demonstrate a compelling interest in teaching children to swim, in order to require swimming instruction in spite of religious objections. I cannot conceive of an argument which would successfully establish swimming as so important to the interests of the State that it justified forcing someone to violate some important tenet of their faith.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
this is a copout (2.50 / 4) (#72)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 04:06:22 AM EST

Your second paragraph is a copout. Swimming isn't very important, so religious edicts trump it. If you think about it, other than reading, writing and basic counting, there's nothing much important going on in schools anyway.

The French system has special academies which decide the curriculum. There's not a lot of room for mix and match for schools to play with. One of the advantages is the uniformity of educational standards around France (which of course still leaves room for differences in school quality). Even private schools must follow the standards.

I think the "compelling state interest" is fairly clear. The French state has a compelling(?) interest in both a consistent education and a secular education. (Again, this shows the tendency to centralisation. France is not built like a federation of states or regions. Germany by contrast is strongly federal.)

[ Parent ]

It's not a cop out (none / 0) (#74)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 04:28:17 AM EST

Among competing interests, a balance must be struck. And in order to strike that balance, it is necessary to asses the relative value of each. I can't see how learning to swim is so important that it trumps an individual's religious convictions.

In contrast, there was a recent legal case in the US concerning the Islamic obligation of the veil, which arose because Florida refused to grant an Islamic women a driver's license so long as she refused to remove her veil (it completely covered her face) for the photograph. In this case the State of Florida eventually prevailed, as it judged that the State does have a compelling interest in ensuring that the identification documents it issues actually accomplish that end.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
but that's where you're butting against the system (none / 2) (#75)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 04:42:56 AM EST

Among competing interests, a balance must be struck. And in order to strike that balance, it is necessary to asses the relative value of each. I can't see how learning to swim is so important that it trumps an individual's religious convictions.
I wasn't denying the need for the balance, far from it. The point I was trying to make was that, whether you or I can't see swimming as more important than religion (well I actually think it is, but others can disagree) is neither here nor there. It's not up to us to decide this.

The academy decides the curriculum, and most importantly decides the national examinations at the end. These are people entrusted by the State to make the balancing act decision for us. So if swimming is considered important in the curriculum, or evolutionary biology, or whatever, then it is so for everyone. Schooling decisions are basically national decisions, taken by representatives of the State.

In other cases, for example, the State entrusts judges to uphold the law. I may disagree on any one judgement, but that's not relevant.

[ Parent ]

I understand the procedure (none / 0) (#76)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 04:48:55 AM EST

What I question is the criteria by which compulsory swimming lessons are judged more important than the integrity of an individual's religious beliefs. Oh well, c'est la vie. I'll just add this to the long list of reasons I'd never consider living in France ;)

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Swimming (none / 2) (#88)
by ffrinch on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:22:04 AM EST

I imagine that swimming lessons are more likely to prevent death by drowning drowning than is religious integrity.

-◊-
"I learned the hard way that rock music ... is a powerful demonic force controlled by Satan." — Jack Chick
[ Parent ]
You'll have to pardon me... (none / 0) (#176)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:21:22 PM EST

...if I don't find that to be a particularly compelling argument.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Stuff that should be taught (none / 1) (#127)
by DGolden on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 11:46:48 AM EST

If you think about it, other than reading, writing and basic counting, there's nothing much important going on in schools anyway.

But the scientific method, basic logical reasoning and debating fallacies SHOULD be taught too as part of a trivial education. They tend not to be taught very well. Of course, they also tend to be automatic vaccinations against most religious indoctrination, so no doubt lots of people wouldn't like to see such actual education in schools.

Personally, I'd say, let them wear what they like on religious grounds so long as they don't try to stop anyone else wearing what they like on religious grounds (I.e. if muslims are allowed wear veils, people who take pride in their bodies should be allowed go naked if they want to, without being told to cover up because they're offending various "devoutly religious" people with idiotic christian or muslim body-shame or "sin" teachings - though of course there are reasons to ask them to cover up, such as that they are endangering themselves in the cold, the reason should NOT be because they're offending someone else's stupid religion) .

BUT make sure they understand all the fallacies here (including the limitations of logic!) by the time they leave primary school... Then let them make up their minds about religions and gods and the silly traditions of their ancestors :-).
Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]

one way out (none / 0) (#206)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:07:32 PM EST

One way out is simply to have a national minimal standard, no variations allowed. Nobody is preventing people from adding to the standard. As a guiding principle, more education is always better than less.

[ Parent ]
dear bogus sir, (none / 0) (#370)
by Battle Troll on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 09:15:02 AM EST

[learning to think] also tend[s] to be automatic vaccinations against most religious indoctrination, so no doubt lots of people wouldn't like to see such actual education in schools.

Don't be an asshat. Unless you've got actual evidence demonstrating that religious people are more 'irrational' (which good luck defining) than secularists are, you don't have any argument except parading your prejudices.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Bah (none / 0) (#373)
by DGolden on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 01:46:59 PM EST

No, you don't be an asshat. You're committing a logical fallacy right there - you're asserting that, to establish the truth of the statement you quoted[*]. I need to demonstrate that religious people are more irrational (and that I must define irrationality, but that's a valid point - how about dictionary.com's "not consistent with or using reason", which would then lead to me having to define reason... "to deduce inferences from premises") when in fact all I would need to demonstrate is that schooling in logical thought renders a large majority proportion ("most") religious indoctrination less effective on the so schooled.

[*] (you also left out "logically" from your paraphrase of me in [learning to think [logically]]. There is ample evidence that people learn to think long before they learn to think logically. )

Plenty of themselves logical but unscrupulous people are perfectly capable of using fallacies in their propaganda material - logic might lead them to conclude that was the best way to persuade people to help them achieve their ends, for example. (note also I pointed to some warnings about the _limitations_ of logical thought in my earlier post... one such warning is that a logical argument starting from false premises can yield true or false answers - and look at the definition of "reason" I gave - hey, how about that, a person using reason can still reach false conclusions!)

Obviously, you can quibble essentially forever over the definitions of "most", "religious indoctrination", what consitutes "effectiveness" of religious indoctrination, and so on but religous people is not at all the same as religious indoctrination used by those people, so you yourself are guilty of a dishonest argument. Clearly, you deserve the name "battle troll" :-)


Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]
well, exactly (none / 0) (#374)
by Battle Troll on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 03:33:04 PM EST

when in fact all I would need to demonstrate is that schooling in logical thought renders a large majority proportion ("most") religious indoctrination less effective on the so schooled.

That's the whole point of what I was saying: you contend that 'schooling in logical thought' makes 'religious indoctrination' less effective. (As a corollary, people who accept religious doctrine are collectively less 'schooled in logical thought,' or in plain English, irrational.) I also criticize your implicit conflation of 'logical' with 'rational,' because logic cannot help us to decide whether the principles to which we apply it accurately describe the real world.

Look, I'm not interested in debating you on the degree to which a statement of yours may or may not have actually contained the corollary that you obviously intended it to imply.

Plenty of themselves logical but unscrupulous people are perfectly capable of using fallacies in their propaganda material

Once again, you use 'logical' to mean 'rational.' What is a 'logical' person, Mr Spock?

Let's go back to your original post. You were talking about how teaching people the rudiments of informal logic and debating technique can 'vaccinate' people against 'religious indoctrination.' What you need to support this claim is some kind of evidence that a) religious people are ignorant of informal logic and debating technique (otherwise, the vaccination obviously didn't work;) and b) either religion is somehow the cause of this ignorance, or education is the cause of irreligion, in similar populations. Otherwise, I repeat, you are merely asserting your prejudices rather than arguing from any evidence whatsoever.

You might want to consider that the Catholic Church was, at one time, the only environment in which Europeans could study logic, and the enemy of superstition. You might also want to consider the prevalence of secular superstitions in the last hundred years. Hmm.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

bah (none / 0) (#382)
by DGolden on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 11:19:46 PM EST

a) religious people are ignorant of informal logic and debating technique (otherwise, the vaccination obviously didn't work;)

Uh? Vaccination often has to take place before infection to be fully effective. Even introducing reasoning in primary school might be too late for some. Humans are fully capable of simultaneous belief in mutually condradictory things, and post-infection with a religious meme, reason may well be thusly demoted.

You might want to consider that the Catholic Church was, at one time, the only environment in which Europeans could study logic,

Yes, this is similar to the censor being the only guy allowed to watch the porn.

The catholic church was never the enemy of all superstitions, only ones that didn't suit its purposes [and in my home country, Ireland, the initial christian invaders just made some "saints", promoted "mary" and retrofitted the superstitions of our old pantheon and the mother goddess to them. The few practicing christian people left in Ireland, even today, often pray directly to the saints and mary (catholic scholars had to make up crap about the saints and mary "interceding in heaven for us" to allow this), and do evolutions of the symbolic offerings to the old gods as the rituals associated with the various saints. The christians used similar strategies in several other european countries to bring the power of the native druidic-or-equivalent social classes into their structure.]
Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]

I see that (none / 0) (#384)
by Battle Troll on Thu Dec 18, 2003 at 07:55:05 AM EST

You're not interested in actually addressing any of the numerous criticisms I've made of your position. Instead, you persist on telling me your interpretation of history, in which my interest is exactly 0%.

If this is your vaunted 'logical viewpoint,' I am not impressed.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

bah dull troll (none / 0) (#386)
by DGolden on Thu Dec 18, 2003 at 01:59:51 PM EST

You are right, I am uninterested in addressing most of your criticisms - but it is because most of your criticisms were invalid. You actually said yourself you weren't interested in debating certain things, so I see no reason to bother myself doing so.

But hey, at least you're trolling and not just crapflooding, eh?

You (repeatedly) misrepresented my position and also asserted I'd have to show something quite different to what I would actually have to show to support my position (in fact, my position was not even formulated as a testable hypothesis without a LOT of further quantification, but hey...)

The only criticism I would be even vaguely interested in addressing is lack of evidence. But even then, I am not likely to ever address lack of evidence for the things you yourself chose to misrepresent what I said as, only lack of evidence for what I said.

At present, I personally have only various anecdotal "evidence", though, which will not (and should not) satisfy you - apart from personal experience of religious indoctrination attempts and my easy dismissal thereof, I have encountered instances where certain religious organisations and people have warned parents not to give their children particular children's books like those written by Dan Barker - that is some circumstantial evidence that the organisations themselves are worried that early exposure to the prinicples of critical thought damages their indoctrination. Whether they are correct to be worried or not is a separate matter, of course, but it is somewhat telling...
Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]

your world must be very small (none / 0) (#387)
by Battle Troll on Thu Dec 18, 2003 at 02:38:40 PM EST

But thanks for coming out of the closet about what "religious indoctrination" means to you: the fundamentalist Christian side of the culture wars in the English-speaking world, especially the USA.

(in fact, my position was not even formulated as a testable hypothesis without a LOT of further quantification, but hey...)

That's exactly my problem with your position. You assert your opinion as the capital-T Truth, yet refuse to justify it. When I started to attack your conclusion, you accused me of committing a 'logical fallacy' by noting that the evidence has not been shown to justify your conclusion.

Let me put my cards on the table. I don't think that it's any more 'rational' to accept the prejudices of today's secular society than it was for people hundreds of years ago [or today] to accept the prejudices of their religious societies.

You argue that secular attitudes can be promoted by 'vaccinating against religious indoctrination': teaching critical thinking and elementary rhetoric to children. As it happens, I agree with this. But you obviously want to extend the argument to religious belief rather than indoctrination and to suggest that most religious belief is nothing but the consequences of indoctrination in childhood. I think that this is a shallow, stupid argument that has long been superceded by secular religious scholarship (such as the academic study of the spread of new religious movements,) to say nothing of its utter worthlessness in explaining the religious beliefs of people who convert to a religion in adulthood (such as myself, St Augustine, Gustav Mahler, or C S Lewis.) I want you to consider that parents have not only a right but a positive duty to teach their children what they believe to be true, and to admit that religious belief will not be destroyed simply by people learning to think. I contend that thoughtlessness in contemporary secular culture is even more widespread than among religious elements.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Deal with the actions, not the reasons (none / 0) (#239)
by zakalwe on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 10:03:27 AM EST

Actually, that is the case with certain political views.
I think this is a bad idea too, but even so - the conditions are completely different. These are schoolchildren, not politicians, and should a religious belief really be subjected to the same restrictions as antisemitism?
I refer you back to your previous comment on such matters, and would be interested in how you would solve this problem.
The same way. If the school really requires mandatory swimming lessons to be taken by everyone (unusual I would think - there are often other legitimate reasons people might be excused, eg medical reasons), then that may be a legitimate reason to require them to leave, just as consistant refusal to attend biology classes teaching evolution would be a sufficient reason to expel a fundamentalist who does so. The point is that you're doing so because they're not obeying rules and requirements there for a legitimate reason, rather than just because they are expressing some aspect of theire beliefs.

The reason is the important issue - so long as the rules are reasonable (ie. not specifically formed to target the religion), I have no objection to a school refusing people who won't or can't comply. I do think that where there is room for leeway, tolerance should be shown (eg. allowing the parents to pay for private swimming lessons instead), just as the same tolerance would be applied to someone with non religious reasons.

[ Parent ]

this requires personal responsibility (none / 0) (#295)
by martingale on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:51:09 PM EST

These are schoolchildren, not politicians, and should a religious belief really be subjected to the same restrictions as antisemitism?
You're assuming, in the case of children, that the religious belief is truly a meaningful belief. Does a 10 year old girl who wears a headscarf and traditional garb do so for the love of her god? What if at ten, she only wears the scarf, and there's a progression until she's twelve?

For better or for worse, the fundamental assumption of western cultures is that children below a certain age (18 for France) are not responsible for their own actions. In the case of the 10 year old, it's trivial to admit that she is convinced to do so by family pressure, not any sense of personal religious belief. For a 16 year old, it may be debatable.

So if we agree that parents, not religious belief, are pushing for the veil at 10, does your objection still hold for 10 year olds? What about 12 year olds?

Most comments on this discussion have been completely independent of age considerations. People argue (me included) as if some forty year old generic woman was being forced to remove a veil she wore for the last thirty years. But in practical cases involving schools, the actors are minors before the law and social convention, and as such aren't the ones independently deciding to wear the veil for religious reasons.

The point is that you're doing so because they're not obeying rules and requirements there for a legitimate reason, rather than just because they are expressing some aspect of theire beliefs.
We disagree on what constitutes a legitimate reason. In the case of children, who by definition aren't full persons, both the State and parents have a legitimate duty of care. From the point of view of the State, can you see that it is unacceptable to both promote specific religions on unformed minds, just as it is unacceptable to allow unchecked such promotion by external influences, through inaction? Once the children are 18 or outside of the school hours, this responsibility stops of course.

[ Parent ]
In order to protect the innocent... (none / 0) (#306)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 01:28:51 AM EST

...I hereby declare that it is incumbent upon us, the righteous and moral, to remove those innocent children from the homes of their derelict parents--socialists, atheists, and others of great moral defect--who seek to inculcate and indoctrinate the impressionable children under their care.

This line of argument you're taking is leading into some rather extreme territory. Now, I'm hardly liberalism's greatest champion, but there's definitely something to Rawls' veil of ignorance. Before you decide that it's just that the State be generally empowered to intervene in the manner in which parents enculturate their children, consider seriously the possibility that the State's value's may not always be in line with your own. The very argument you are putting forth could be used equally well by the Islamofascists in order to justify removing children from parents who don't tow the official line.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#311)
by martingale on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 03:14:44 AM EST

You're looking for the inherent dangers, but it's an old problem that has stood the test of time.

Firstly, you rightly point out the strong powers being granted to the State. However, this is inevitable, unless you can somehow interpret the following proposition in a novel way: "All citizens of school age must go to school".

There's a law (I quickly checked for the date) dating back to 1882 which makes school 1) obligatory, 2) free and 3) secular. It started out with primary school only, but was extended over time.

I claim that there really is no way to interpret this law other than the way you suggest in your comment, namely that the State doesn't trust parents to raise their children as full and complete citizens. *shrug*

Of course, most people aren't offended by this lack of trust, rather they welcome the opportunities schools offer. However, this wasn't always so.

Most people nowadays live in cities and do not need their kids' labour, but in 1882, you can imagine the difficulties this would give to families living on the land. It made no sense to the parents to lose their children's work, to teach them things like reading and writing with no practical value on a farm, because some people in government decided this. In fact, not only would their work time be lost, but in fact this time was also essential training time for a future life on the farm, and this was also lost. But of course, today's world thinks differently. To us, such old thinking would be reactionary.

The potential for abuse always exists, but it must be monitored within the context of what is being achieved.

[ Parent ]

addendum (none / 0) (#312)
by martingale on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 03:42:38 AM EST

There is an amendment to the 1882 law, dated 1959, whereby every child, whether French or not, who legally resides in France between the ages of 6 and 16 must go to school. In 1998, some further principles were voted unanimously in parliament: 1) the purpose of the right to education is to "favour the development of the child's personality" and to "develop his or her mental and physical aptitudes in all its potentialities". 2) education within a school is to be always the preferred way if possible.

Slightly off topic, I guess swimming falls in category 1).

[ Parent ]

Science is not culture (none / 1) (#54)
by tbarker on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:18:04 AM EST

Or at least science should not simply be an aspect of culture.  To demand the teaching of evolution is to ask school to educate their students.  Although we cannot know the past of billions of years ago, evolutions is the clearest idea we have to explain it.  It is only theory and facts, it has no bearing on beliefs.

Religious and cultural symbols are a way for people to express an aspect of their identity.  To forbid them does not change the way in which people think, it just makes it easier to ignore.

[ Parent ]

which is sort of the point (none / 0) (#207)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:13:49 PM EST

Religious and cultural symbols are a way for people to express an aspect of their identity. To forbid them does not change the way in which people think, it just makes it easier to ignore.
An important goal is of course to make no distinction between students. No favoritism or other prejudices based on a student's religion. While this impossible to do 100% successfully, you can have scenarios where a teacher might harp on more or less about certain historical facts, due to the composition of the class. (hypothetically say, not mention much the crusades because it would offend some students - that would be wrong).

[ Parent ]
Key point of disagreement (2.60 / 5) (#97)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:07:00 AM EST

I don't want to put words in your mouth here, but I think it would highlight some important differences if I try to summarise the main points of your argument in this and your other comments.

1. Public displays of religious faith are just customs with no particular special status.
2. The state has an obligation to treat all customs, including religious customs, equally.
3. Some requirements for public behaviour imposed by relgion would be very onerous, were the state to try to respect them.

Therefore, in your view, the state must, in order to respect all religious customs equally, refuse to allow any public display of religious faith on state property, including in schools. Do I have this right ?

If I am right, I am with on points (1) and (3), but the key point of disagreement is point (2): that the state is required to treat all religious customs equally in order to avoid preferring particular religions.

I agree that the state has an obligation not to prefer particular religions, but it does not follow that it is obliged to treat all religious customs equally. Rather, it can prevent religious displays if they would be criminal (using cannabis, human sacrifice, cruelty to animals), require state action that would be against the public interest (teaching "creation science" in schools, outlawing alcohol or divorce), or be excessively onerous for other people (aggressive proseletysing, for instance). These are precisely the same rules the state uses for deciding whether to prevent other, non-religious activities, and enforcing them does not constitute favouring particular religions. This happens in France, just as much as it does in the UK or US. Moreso, probably.

If you accept this reasoning, that enforcing the ordinary law against religious customs is perfectly OK and not discriminatory, it seems to me that it undermines your argument that it is necessary to prevent public displays of religion that are otherwise harmless. I don't see any argument that allowing girls to wear headscarves or opt out of mixed sporting activities places any onerous obligations on the state.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

well done (none / 1) (#208)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:26:06 PM EST

Your summary is quite acceptable.

If you accept this reasoning, that enforcing the ordinary law against religious customs is perfectly OK and not discriminatory, it seems to me that it undermines your argument that it is necessary to prevent public displays of religion that are otherwise harmless. I don't see any argument that allowing girls to wear headscarves or opt out of mixed sporting activities places any onerous obligations on the state.
This sounds reasonable and I'm feel like being in agreement, but it does not capture the fact that the devil is in the details. I've built up some hypotheticals in other comments precisely to inject a measure of practicality, which is missed when making general statements. I do also realize the irony in discussing generally applicable laws without reference to special cases.

There's a balance which depends on the society as a whole. France's structure, while historically ad-hoc like every other country, is built on certain foundations which must be followed by the population as ideals, (well until such time of course that the population is fed up with them and decides to change them - But that's quite a different thing).

The ideal of equal treatment doesn't leave much room for individual negotiation on the basics. It also implies the need for generally applicable laws, even if they are motivated originally by special cases. It's difficult, of course.

[ Parent ]

1) secularism is not atheism ... (none / 0) (#109)
by suquux on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:01:28 AM EST

2) in France, 90% of the population is Roman Catholic, with 62% saying so and only 2% being Protestant (is there any connotation of evangelical that I am not aware of, e.g. 'Heilslehre ?')

3) in the same poll, Muslims formed the second strongest category: 6%

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France#Religion

As far as I am aware, the incidence is (to be and I do so) perceived to be a trojan introduced by those interested to form a parallel society, legislation is about to prevent that.

CC.
All that we C or Scheme ...
[ Parent ]
Do you mean ... (none / 1) (#128)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 11:47:56 AM EST

... that girls wearing headscarves is a trojan horse for French Muslims trying to form a seperate, parallel society ? If so, I don't see how this can be, could you explain ? If anything, surely forcing religious muslims out of state schools by forcing them not to wear headscarves is more likely to create a parallel society ?

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
You can take it as ... (none / 0) (#341)
by suquux on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 07:37:11 PM EST

... if it is/was meant to create a basis for the justification of a parallel society (as I do - just another piece in a puzzle). If granted the right, it would have been taken as a starting point to gain more privileges (and other groups would have joined in).

Also IMHO - adaption to general prevailing norms is expected in France even more than it is here (Germany) and obviously the political situation called for legislative action.

As far as I am informed there is the bias (probably and simplified) that everyone who is born in France is basically a French and has to adopt accordingly which (maybe naturally) is not shared among the Muslim part of the society.

Besides, according to a study of "Elle" 47% of the Muslim population vote in favour of the law as discussed while 43% oppose it (I do not know about the quality of the research).

My personal opinion: I vote in favour as well - my justification is that this way there is at least some protection that women can be forced to generally wear veils against their will (and it is also a little step on the way to a state {as in finite state machine} when religion has lost all relevance).

On a more abstract level, I have a hard time to follow religious arguments - I am agnostic at best.

CC.

P.S.: Sorry for answering that late.
All that we C or Scheme ...
[ Parent ]
majority / minority (none / 0) (#241)
by The Shrubber on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 10:56:14 AM EST

Keeping in mind that "ostentatious" religious symbols are a form of communication (I am a believer of religion X!), allowing the use of these symbols can make life rather awkward for religious minorities.

How comfortable really would a Muslim feel walking around a school everybody has a huge cross around their neck and a What Would Jesus Do t-shirt?

I think I agree with the French on this... school is not a place to learn stuff, not to communicate your religious (or atheistic) views.  The same rules for everybody.

The author replaces the French "Liberté" in his title with "Laïcité" to communicate that secularism takes away people's liberty.  I disagree; it is more a form of ENFORCING liberty, counter-intuitive as it sounds.  

This isn't very very different from seperation of church and state, just that the French push it a good bit further.

[ Parent ]

Comfort (none / 0) (#307)
by irie bj on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 01:30:28 AM EST

Why are we worried about everybody's comfort level? Since when does everybody have to be comfortable all of the time? If you are uncomfortable with a situation, why would you put yourself in said situation? Being uncomfortable is not necessarily a bad thing. It may remind you of your place in life.

I need a witty sig.
[ Parent ]

This may be an op-ed.... (2.70 / 27) (#15)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 06:29:52 PM EST

But this: "state atheism practised as an evangelical religion" is loaded and unfair. Laicism is not atheism, to equate both is a vulgar lie that deserves to be challenged as such.

I am certainly not very well versed about the role of religion in non catholic societies, but in catholic ones the church always had the good sense to be on the side of the porwerful and influential people, specially the hierachy of course. Previous to the French Revolution the church hierarchy always aligned itself with the nobility blocking any progress by the up and comming burgeois and plain sections of society. Ditto in Mexico, where the curch hierachy was happy to excomunicate the freedom fighters, in spite that they were members of the clergy as well.

As a consequence, many republics founded in those countries, have a natural repugnance for religious manifestations in the public affairs of the nation. That was the case in France, in Spain during the 30s and in Mexico. In Mexico for example, on spite of being an eminent Catholic country, it has been unthinkable until recently to mix religion in politics an education (this has happened only with the arrival of Presidents educated in protestant countries, where these manifestations are more acceptable).

In Mexico, the mere thought that a President or a public officer would swear using a bible is abhorrent and only the most abyect religioous zealots would see this as something acceptable.

Back to France. The situation is quite similar. If the state intends to be fair an equal with everybody there are only two ways: either you allow everybody to show their religious convictions or you don't allow it at all. Knowing how divisive religion is (I think I don't need to argument about this) the only reasonable answer is that people keep their religion to where it belongs: to the sphere of private life.

I for once applaud the French for saying things as they are. If Muslims want to live in Western, liberal democracies, they will have to respect the values of these countries and get involved politically if they wish to influence change because nothing must be set on stone. I will wholehearted support any goverment that wishes to expunge religion from any state sponsored activity, because it is not up to the state to promote or discourage religion fervour given its divisive nature.

Education, when provided by the state, is one of the most important  places where this aversion manifests itself.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?

I must be stupid or something (2.37 / 8) (#16)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 07:17:18 PM EST

If the state intends to be fair an equal with everybody there are only two ways: either you allow everybody to show their religious convictions or you don't allow it at all. Knowing how divisive religion is (I think I don't need to argument about this) the only reasonable answer is that people keep their religion to where it belongs: to the sphere of private life.

So I still don't see it, and additionally I think this view (to which I am not unsympathetic, as an atheist) rather misses the point. How is it so hard to let everyone show their religious affiliation ? Christians can wear crosses, however large, Muslims their headscarves, Jews their yarmulkas, Sikhs their turbans and Hindus their cast-marks. Or not, if they choose. Is any of that so intolerable ? Is there anything there that offends a humanist outlook ? Sure, it is silly. Demeaning to the human condition, even. But it is easily ignored, and freedom of conscience is a great good, surely ? To religious persons, these things are important. To secularists they are (or should be) unimportant. So let it be.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Amen, Brother. (2.25 / 3) (#18)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 07:30:34 PM EST

(to which I am not unsympathetic, as an atheist)

Errr... Maybe I should just say "Right On!"

:-P

--
"Libertarian parenting? Hah! I've got merit badges for nagging and bossing, not to mention the much-coveted Order of the Imperious Order."[ Parent ]

you're not thinking this through (2.57 / 7) (#28)
by martingale on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 10:32:54 PM EST

Suppose you let girls wear the head scarf. Suppose a boy of the same age plays a game and steals her scarf. How should this be handled?

What is the gravity of doing this in the playground? Should the boy be reprimanded verbally, flogged or what?

I don't know what the Islamic punishment is for stealing a woman's scarf in public, but it probably isn't the same as the catholic punishment.

Now suppose the teacher decides to reprimand the boy. Did he do too much, not enough? Did the teacher display contempt for Islam by not treating the incident as a major crime? Does the teacher need to know a large number of religious rules and conventions before he is qualified to teach children?

The trouble with religious symbols is that they carry serious meaning. By contrast say, whether you wear Nike or Adidas doesn't carry such serious meaning. Because the religious meaning is serious, the state is obliged to act seriously.

I think it is much better to require people to keep their religious beliefs as private as possible. So if you want to wear a cross around your neck, say, keep it beneath your clothes. If it comes to light accidentally, there's no harm done. But don't wear it over your clothes for display in public.

[ Parent ]

no, that's not logical (none / 1) (#43)
by livus on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:21:01 AM EST

because you're assuming that to tolerate should necessarily be to subscribe.

on a secular level, you may think your mullet haircut makes you seem more prestigious than me. Just because I allow you to wear your haircut does not mean I have to treat it as you are treating it and accord you higher status. But just because I am unwilling to worship your mullet does not mean that I must therefore cut it off.

Similarly in your example I would expect the usual disciplinary behaviours for any unwanted clothing theft-game-thing would ensue. Just as for a non article related misdemeanor a secular and institutional punishment would be enforced not necessarily one belonging to the student's family or ethnic community. This is perfectly serious, yet is in keeping with the school system.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

disciplinary questions (2.50 / 4) (#46)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:10:32 AM EST

The disciplinary question is actually in some sense the cause of the debate.

The case of the school girls was (iirc) that they refused to take off the scarves in class when the teacher required it. It escalated and became a disciplinary issue eventually, where the school board convened and gave the girls the choice of either following school rules or not being allowed back in class for the duration. So actually, there's no direct issue of freedom of religion if you take the view that they were simply ignoring the teacher's authority.

So it doesn't help much in this case to treat the issue solely in terms of institutional rules. Institutionally, for example, the head scarves are a hidrance in sports lessons (which was one of the arguments). From the point of view of Islam, this isn't much of an issue, since coed sports education is not something the Koran would be directly dealing with (except to ban the coed part, I presume). From the point of view of the school, the girls cannot play basketball (say).

In fact, I've got a better example: the girls clearly cannot go swimming in a public pool, even though this may be part of the school curriculum. Here the religious requirement directly interferes with the institutional mission of educating children. It doesn't do to treat the kids according to school rules: by school rules, they must take swimming classes. If they refuse, they should be disciplined (in an appropriate way of course). But doing so in this case is directly an attack on their religion.



[ Parent ]

but that stems directly from the rules (none / 2) (#68)
by livus on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:43:06 AM EST

which are at fault.

As someone who attended a reasonably conservative, secular western school with girls who wore headscarves, among others (some were following Hijab dress codes, others were Bretheren) and no one had any problems whatsoever. If a child cannot go swimming for religious reasons that is no different to if a child cannot go swimming for health reasons. It is really no skin off anyone's nose.

Girls were disciplined using school rules not ethno-religious rules but the rules were simply more pragmatic than the ones you envisage. For example all Hijab headscarves had to be the same blue as the uniform.

A rule should be in place for a practical reason, not as a senseless excercise of petty authority.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

health reasons (none / 2) (#78)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:05:23 AM EST

Of course I'm biased, but I wouldn't compare health reasons with religious reasons. In both cases, the child is disadvantaged compared to her peers. However, the former is difficult to prevent, while the latter is imposed by the parents. I don't think that the parents should interfere with the education of their children. By all means, they can complete it through extra religious or other teachings, but not prevent the standard educational process.

A rule should be in place for a practical reason, not as a senseless excercise of petty authority.

I definitely agree. Trouble is, I see the religious authority as petty in this case ;0)

[ Parent ]

I can see where you're coming from (1.75 / 4) (#80)
by livus on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:21:16 AM EST

and to some extent I agree (for instance I'd love to see "homeschooling" completely outlawed) but in the instance where a parent who is in possession of his or her mental faculties genuinely believes that it is in the best interests of the child to wear an item of clothing then I don't think it is particularly petty.

One of the main issues of this nature that schools here have had to overcome has been the racism of the white ruling class who refused to allow indigenous people to wear an important item. I think this is about ethnic tolerance as much as it is about religion.

I think anyone over 16 who wishes to express his or her ethnic heritage, whether that involves funny beliefs about the afterlife, subscription to science journals, or afinity to bad pseudo-celtic tattoo art, etc should be free to do so because religion is just an aspect of culture. All sorts of secular dress codes reveal to me an equally absurd and misguided adherence to authority or custom, but I don't find it threatening and I don't see why it should be banned. Religious outfits are just a subsection of this, and drawing a line around some of them is absurd.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

'absurd' must be my word of the day n/t (none / 1) (#81)
by livus on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:22:12 AM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
I was going to write something similar (2.75 / 4) (#84)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:54:46 AM EST

Your last paragraph is quite to the point and I was going to say something similar. Religion is a private matter between you and your beliefs, or it should be. I have no difficulty in letting an 18 year old (or some other age of "adulthood") make his or her own decisions. If that means covering yourself from head to toe, well you can still live a normal life (but expect delays in airports ;-).

In real life, however, the parents have a head start which makes much of the difference. I was not forced to go to church, although I did go to sunday school for six months to do a "confirmation" on my grand-mother's wishes. I stopped going to church about six months after that ;-) However, just as I "benefited" from my parents' lack of interest in church, and am a product of this, others aren't so lucky (or vice versa, if you believe them). School is the only outlet which can reasonably be considered to be available to all and offer a different view of the world to children. It's too important to play politics with. If that means making some sacrifices, I say it's for a good cause.



[ Parent ]

yes, and I agree with you in general (none / 1) (#171)
by livus on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:05:07 PM EST

which is why I am happy for schools to remain as far as possible free of politics and religion (and I'm mindful that my marxist and foucauldian friends would laugh at my naivity in this).

However, the average parent is no svengali, merely someone trying to raise offspring.

I assume that if some christian wants to hang an emblem of two pieces of wood round his child's neck to ward off the divil, that's no different to how some victim of Dow advertising might want to festoon his child's cat-scratches with strips of sterile plastic - sticking plaster, to ward off bacteria. I may know "better" (i.e that neither of these measures actually work) but to try to foist my own superior knowledge on everyone else is fascist.

Furthermore, neither sticking plaster nor cross are actually affecting the ideological content of the classoom particularly, and to remove them might simply make the child feel alienated and frightened.

My parents were 2nd generation atheists, and they told me to make up my own mind in my own good time. You can't force people to believe what you believe.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

That is an authoritarian position (none / 0) (#184)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:57:08 PM EST

I don't think that the parents should interfere with the education of their children. By all means, they can complete it through extra religious or other teachings, but not prevent the standard educational process. [my emphasis-- em]
I think your wording is already slanting the issue. You are setting up a static standard of what should be the education children get in a society, and demanding that everybody who gets public schooling submit absolutely to this standard. And if "parents" try to influence this standard at all, they are "interfering". (I put "parents" in square quotes, because in practice, for the case at hand, this turns out to be "Muslim parents".)

This I find an extreme position. Not that I envision that public schooling should accept every individual requirement from everybody in a society; this would, of course, be impossible. But my point is that the content of a public eduction has to be constantly negotiated balance between the conflicting interests of many constituencies.

As far as I can see, what your position amounts to is to an absolute disenfranchisement of certain of these constituencies in the negotiation of the educational standards of their own community. It does this by an ideological essentialization of the educational standards preferred by the dominant group: "secularism". The ideology answers demands for flexibility with standards presented as static and inmutable (when in fact they are the historical result of negotiation of various interests), and thus rejects change.

--em
[ Parent ]

perhaps you're right (none / 1) (#200)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:52:21 PM EST

You are setting up a static standard of what should be the education children get in a society, and demanding that everybody who gets public schooling submit absolutely to this standard.
Well....That's the law. Can't argue with the law (well you can, but you don't often win ;)

Note that you have to be careful about the meaning of "standard". The French baccalaureate, which is the high school end examination, is standardized nationally through several academies. Every kid in France who submits to this exam is exposed to the exact same questions. There is no room for individual interpretations by various schools. The resulting scores on the tests are "standardized" - you can directly compare one kid's results with another in the country.

So "standard" doesn't mean arbitrarily chosen by the state, except in the same sense that all legislation is arbitrary.

This I find an extreme position. Not that I envision that public schooling should accept every individual requirement from everybody in a society; this would, of course, be impossible. But my point is that the content of a public eduction has to be constantly negotiated balance between the conflicting interests of many constituencies.
So long as the contents follows the national standard, there's some flexibility. If a history teacher decides, for example, to not discuss much the revolution of 1848, and if it happens to be on the baccalaureate exam for that year, well the kids are SOL. So he or she can emphasize whatever historical facts they want, but since they don't know what's going to be on the exam, they had better follow the program.

There is of course a balance with the community. Interested parents do follow what happens in schools and do complain. If there's an outcry things can escalate to the national level and laws can be contemplated, as in this case.

As far as I can see, what your position amounts to is to an absolute disenfranchisement of certain of these constituencies in the negotiation of the educational standards of their own community.
Well if you mean that I don't support the free choice of educational contents by community members, so as to decide what works best for them in their neighbourhood, then you are right. There is no room for individualized education coming from the State. Everyone is equal, whatever community elders have to say on the matter.

The ideology answers demands for flexibility with standards presented as static and inmutable (when in fact they are the historical result of negotiation of various interests), and thus rejects change.
It's not so much that they are static and immutable (they are not), it's just that once decided, they must apply to everyone. Just like we elect leaders periodically, and once elected, they rule everyone until the next elections.

[ Parent ]
On the other hand... (2.75 / 4) (#56)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:27:04 AM EST

...you seem to be over-thinking the issue and manufacturing problems that need not be there.

Your school yard scenario requires nothing more than the application usual disciplinary actions appropriate to disrespectful actions. If the boy has stolen the scarf with no more malice than would be involved in pulling her hair, then he should be punished as such. Alternately, if the boy did so with specific malice, say if his actions were accompanied by anti-Islamic taunts, then he should be punished in a more severe fashion.

This isn't a novel situation and a multi-racial society, such as France has, already has to deal with very similar issues on a regular basis. If the girl in your example were distinguished by her race rather than her religiously significant manner of dress, and the boy called her an insulting name unrelated to her race, he would presumably be punished in manner identical to that if he done the same to another student of his own race. On the other hand, were he to have made an insulting and disrespectful comment, which specifically attacked the girl for her race, the punishment would understandably be more severe.

The trouble with religious symbols is that they carry serious meaning. By contrast say, whether you wear Nike or Adidas doesn't carry such serious meaning. Because the religious meaning is serious, the state is obliged to act seriously.

So your preferred solution is to have the state assume the role of inconsiderate boy and rip the scarves (or crosses as the case may be) from the head of all the little girls? It's an odd logic which declares, "some of you might be subject to disrespect, so we'll mitigate this eventuality by equally disrespecting everyone."

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
What if... (none / 0) (#93)
by ffrinch on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:52:19 AM EST

... you had an individual whose religion taught that a photograph stole a part of their soul?

Would innocently taking a snapshot of them be grounds for punishment? There's no specific malice, nor disrespect, intended.

-◊-
"I learned the hard way that rock music ... is a powerful demonic force controlled by Satan." — Jack Chick
[ Parent ]

No malice, no problem (none / 0) (#177)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:24:33 PM EST

There is no obligation on the part of the State to insure that a person is not offended. On the other hand, a school should not be allowed to compel a student who believes such to participate in class photos.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
good point (none / 1) (#205)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:02:55 PM EST

So your preferred solution is to have the state assume the role of inconsiderate boy and rip the scarves (or crosses as the case may be) from the head of all the little girls? It's an odd logic which declares, "some of you might be subject to disrespect, so we'll mitigate this eventuality by equally disrespecting everyone."
I can see how this appears extreme. I think intransigence in both cases is too bad and divisive. I still believe that it is important in functions of the state to treat all individuals equally (more precisely, according to the exact same standards - some will always be more incovenienced than others).

As another poster stated, it should be possible to require the removal of the headscarf in some situations, such as chemistry classes. Of course, some don't wear a scarf and aren't inconvenienced the same way, but the standard is the same.

This still clashes with the concept put forward in other comments that religious rules are fundamentally unbreakable, being part of the person's essence. But that isn't something that can be practically accomodated in this case.

[ Parent ]

True... (none / 0) (#216)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 01:17:08 AM EST

This still clashes with the concept put forward in other comments that religious rules are fundamentally unbreakable, being part of the person's essence. But that isn't something that can be practically accomodated in this case.

I hope you don't think I've been arguing that religious belief must always be accomodated? The balance struck between religious freedoms and the demands of the French state is really none of my business. That's for those of you in France to work out among yourselves. I've simply been arguing that the particular balance you've been advocating is not a neutral one, but one which suppresses religious expression in favor of the State's prerogative to impose its ideology at the expense of a minority community's cultural and religious autonomy.

You can dress it up in a supposed concern for the rights and safety of the child, but what it comes down to is that France has determined it more important to impose a proper French identity on its citizenry than to respect the individuals free expression of their religious convictions.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
ahem :-) (none / 0) (#227)
by martingale on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 02:25:15 AM EST

I hope you don't think I've been arguing that religious belief must always be accomodated?
Well, it sounded a bit like that to me, I guess. It's fun to discuss though. In the end, in this case, there's a decision by Chirac due next wednesday.

I've simply been arguing that the particular balance you've been advocating is not a neutral one, but one which suppresses religious expression in favor of the State's prerogative to impose its ideology at the expense of a minority community's cultural and religious autonomy.
Well, you're entirely right about this. Although in practice, it looks like there'll be a vague kind of phrasing about visible and ostentatious symbols, which is going to leave much leeway to whoever is responsible and appease many people. You know, the usual political process.

[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#228)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 02:46:33 AM EST

It has been a fun discussion. Much more enjoyable than the usual political fare which dominates here.

I'll try to provide a clearer articulation of my position in the other thread we've got going, but it will have to wait for tomorrow. It's getting on 1 in the morning here and I'm fading fast.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Say what? (1.00 / 3) (#17)
by thelizman on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 07:20:27 PM EST

"state atheism practised as an evangelical religion" is loaded and unfair.
There is nothing "loaded" or "unfair" about that statement, unless you consider that any statement which unfavorably portrays (particularly when "unfavorable" means "neutral") a doctrine is unfair. That phrase is technically correct, and qualifies as Fair and Balanced™.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
No, it's *not* technically correct (2.50 / 8) (#20)
by Hizonner on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 08:08:54 PM EST

Evangelism means explictly trying to convert people to a new set of beliefs. If the French public schools had sessions every day in which they argued that there was no God, that would be evangelical atheism. Refusing to permit religious symbols in public schools is not evangelical atheism. In fact, I suspect they'd prohibit an atheist symbol if there were a generally recognized one. I don't even think their state is explicitly atheistic, merely secular, which is different.

By the way, that doesn't mean I think that banning headscarves or whatever is a good idea... I think it's illiberal, bullheaded, counterproductive, divisive, arrogant, and downright stupid. I think that even though I think religion is bunk. Even though it's stupid, though, it's not evangelism.

The story may be Fair And Balanced®, given who owns that trademark... but it's not fair and balanced the way normal people mean the phrase.

[ Parent ]

So banning religious practice... (none / 1) (#59)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:44:38 AM EST

...doesn't encourage disbelief? I have to say, I find that to be a somewhat dubious position.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Technically Correct Afterall (none / 1) (#61)
by thelizman on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:00:28 AM EST

Evangelism means explictly trying to convert people to a new set of beliefs. "
They are forcing them to not practice a particular aspect of your religion. You don't think that this is evangelism? You're dangerously naive. -- Lizard
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
So (none / 1) (#99)
by Betcour on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:23:32 AM EST

By this metric, every governement is doing evangelism, because every governement has rules that prevent some form religious expression or another.

[ Parent ]
lol (none / 2) (#32)
by IriseLenoir on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:15:02 PM EST

I agree, it qualifies as Fair and BalancedTM... on Fox news that is. Finally a funny troll liz!
"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]
This isn't a choice (none / 0) (#23)
by 90X Double Side on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 08:47:58 PM EST

either you allow everybody to show their religious convictions or you don't allow it at all

To imply that both of these are equally fair and moral options is ridiculous; replace religion with the three other rights protected by articles 17-20 of the UDHR and see what you get:

either you allow everybody to own property or you don't allow it at all
either you allow everybody to freely express their opinion or you don't allow it at all
either you allow everybody to peacefully assemble or you don't allow it at all

The fact is that these are not matters where it is equally fair to allow these rights to everyone or noone; you do allow everyone to own property, to freedom and practice of thought, conscience and religion, to freedom of expression, and to peacefully assemble. The fact is that if you do allow those things you are a moral society, and if you don't you are a totalitarian one. There are obviously limited exceptions in the case of minors and in public schools, but certainly not to the point of banning basic forms of religious practice that are completely passive. The key thing there is passive: you can ban people from actively expressing beliefs, religious or otherwise, in public schools where it would be disruptive, but passively expressing a belief that would otherwise be a protected form of expression with a piece of clothing, e.g. an armband, has always been seen as an absolute right even for children in public schools.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]

not true (2.50 / 4) (#57)
by fleece on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:28:48 AM EST

why can't you allow everyone to do all of those things with explicit caveats or restrictions.
It seems to be part of the American psyche to believe that all rights are absolute, and as soon as you introduce restrictions then it's the beginning of the end so that can't happen...
An example is guns..you end up with great abuses of the rights...eg, if they take away a mans M16, then next they will strip all guns off the citizens. A farmer should be allowed to own and use a .22 to shoot rabbits, therefore, all americans must be allowed to own automatic weapons or else the farmer is in danger of losing this right to shoot vermin.



I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
[ Parent ]
There can be real risk. (none / 2) (#85)
by Polverone on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:04:46 AM EST

Sometimes people hysterically shout "slippery slope!" before considering whether restrictions reasonably are the first steps down a slippery slope or not. Other times, the fear of a slippery slope is justified. There are groups in the US that work to restrict or outlaw ownership of exotic firearms as a prelude to restricting or outlawing ownership of all firearms. There are groups that work to restrict or outlaw uncommon abortion procedures as a prelude to restricting or outlawing common abortion procedures. It's not sufficient in these cases to examine a specific argument or situation in isolation from history.

Of course it's easier to take a hardline position of "no restrictions on anything, ever," even though that is unrealistic, because the balancing act between reasonable and unreasonable restrictions on various freedoms is difficult.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

religious expression? (2.63 / 11) (#21)
by Edward Carter on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 08:14:35 PM EST

The head cover is an obligation on all Muslim women according to all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence.  The Hanafi school (the most popular of the four) allows women to show their faces in public, but all four schools require women to cover their hair.  While there might be some women who are forced by husbands or family members to cover and others who are doing so merely to be aggressive in some way, there are surely others who do so of their own accord since it is a religious obligation.

Somehow, I think if France starts banning things obligatory for Muslims, it will only give more ammunition to those "exhorting viewers not to accept the values of the secular state," rather than encouraging French Muslims to accept those values.

Head Cover (3.00 / 4) (#24)
by Bad Harmony on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 10:01:30 PM EST

The head cover is an obligation on all Muslim women...

There are many Muslims who disagree. Opinion on the issue is far from unanimous.

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

indeed, so what business is it of theirs? (none / 2) (#31)
by Work on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:08:06 PM EST

if the women want to wear it - let them. For them, it is of religious significance and a requirement.

Kind of like saying I can't wear long sleeves in the summer time, even if I feel that my religion compels me.

[ Parent ]

Of course 1.3 billion people don't all agree... (none / 0) (#158)
by Edward Carter on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:03:26 PM EST

There are many Muslims who disagree. Opinion on the issue is far from unanimous.

Obviously, given any position on any issue, you can probably find someone in the world who holds that position.  Since there are quite a few Muslims in the world (approximately 1.3 billion if I recall), you can probably find at least one who would say that the headcover isn't obligatory.  But do you have a reference for any Islamic scholar considered even remotely credible saying that it is not obligatory for adult Muslim women to cover their hair when they go out in public?

[ Parent ]

Hijab (none / 0) (#167)
by Bad Harmony on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:46:03 PM EST

See http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/essay-01.html for some historical context.

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

I think the more important question... (none / 0) (#170)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:57:54 PM EST

...would be why the State needs to take sides on this explicitly religious issue.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
a reference (none / 1) (#37)
by Edward Carter on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:34:19 PM EST

From Reliance of the Traveler, a Shafi`i jurisprudence manual:

m2.3 It is unlawful for a man to look at a woman who is not his wife or one of his unmarriageable kin (def: m6.1) (O: there being no difference in this between the face and hands or some other part of a woman (N: if it is uncovered), though part excludes her voice, which is not unlawful to listen to as long as temptation is unlikely. Allah Most High says,

"Tell believers to lower their gaze" (Koran 24:30).

A majority of scholars (n: with the exception of some Hanafis, as at m2.8 below) have been recorded as holding that it is unlawful for women to leave the house with faces unveiled, whether or not there is likelihood of temptation. When there is likelihood of temptation, scholars unanimously concur that it is unlawful, temptation meaning anything that leads to sexual intercourse or its usual preliminaries. As for when there is real need (dis: m2.11), looking is not unlawful, provided temptation is unlikely).

(A: Being alone with a woman who is not one's wife or unmarriageable kin is absolutely unlawful, though if there are two women and a man, the man and the woman are no longer considered alone.)

m2.4 A man may look at his wife (N: or vice versa) including her nakedness (def: f5.3), though it is offensive for either husband or wife to look at the other's genitals.

m2.5 A man may look at his unmarriageable female relatives (def: m6.1), and a woman may look at her unmarriageable male relatives (m6.2), viewing any part of the body (N: that shows e.g. while they are working) except what is between the navel and knees.

m2.6 As for a woman looking at (O: a man) other than her husband or unmarriageable male relatives, it is unlawful, just as a man's looking at her is.

m2.7 It is unlawful for a woman to show any part of her body to an adolescent boy or a non-Muslim woman (n: unless the latter is her kinswoman (def: m6.1(1-12)), in which case it is permissible (Mughni al-muhtaj ila ma`rifa ma`ani alfaz al-Minhaj (y73), 3.132)).

m2.8 (n: The following rulings from the Hanafi school have been added here as a dispensation (dis: c6.3).)
(Ahmad Quduri:)

(1) It is not permissible for a man to look at a woman who is not his wife or unmarriageable relative except for her face and hands ((Maydani:) because of the necessity of her need to deal with men in giving and taking and the like). If a man is not safe from lust, he may not look at her face except when it is demanded by necessity.

(2) A man may look at the whole body of another man except for what is between the navel and (A: including) the knees (A: as the knees are considered nakedness by Hanafis, though not by Shafi`is).

(3) A woman may look at the parts of a man that another man is permitted to look at.

(4) A woman may look at the parts of another woman that a man is permitted to look at of another man.

(al-Lubab fi sharh al-Kitab (y88), 4.162-63)


Sorry that a lot of that isn't directly relevant to the matter at hand, but it should at least show that I'm not totally making all this stuff up.

[ Parent ]
They're completely misinterpreting it (none / 0) (#338)
by Merc on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 04:37:19 PM EST

At least, as I read it. It seems to say what someone is allowed to look at, not what they're allowed to expose. The onus seems to be on the person doing the looking. The only part that seems to deal with someone *showing* skin is: "It is unlawful for a woman to show any part of her body...".

From looking at that, the interpretation could easily be that a woman shouldn't *show off* her body, but if she simply wears comfortable clothing without trying to attract attention, that's fine.



[ Parent ]
But it's a translation... (none / 0) (#340)
by Edward Carter on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 06:37:57 PM EST

The onus seems to be on the person doing the looking.

Well, sure.  If a Muslim man sees an uncovered woman walking down the street, he is not supposed to look twice at her.  (Looking once is necessary to even know that there's something there you're not supposed to be looking at.)

From looking at that, the interpretation could easily be that a woman shouldn't show off her body, but if she simply wears comfortable clothing without trying to attract attention, that's fine.

Now, I'm no native Arabic speaker, but something tells me that if you looked at the original Arabic sources, it would be obvious that the word "show" means "expose" here, not "show off."


[ Parent ]

i don't get (2.40 / 5) (#53)
by fleece on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:16:30 AM EST

arbitrary "religious obligations" such as what's worn on the head, the shape of one's beard, etc. I can't understand why followers of major religious believe an almighty and all-powerful god would be so damn petty.
If god spake unto me and said, don't kill people, help the poor, love though neighbour, oh and yeah, don't eat crayfish, I'd be like, "God, I'm sorry, but what the fuck are you talking about?"



I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
[ Parent ]
You see only so dimly. (none / 2) (#89)
by Polverone on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:25:01 AM EST

Is it a consequence of never having any relatives or close friends who were religious? I get frustrated when people see behavior they don't understand and conclude that those doing the behaving are insane. It's like dismissing every odd physical phenomenon with the magic words "God made it happen."

Religious restrictions may not make sense to someone outside of the system. But the systems can be internally consistent. It may well be something you don't care to spend time understanding. To dismiss it as nonsense out of your ignorance is ridiculous. I think piercings and body modifications are ridiculous, but I assume there's some underlying motivations that I simply haven't discerned. I'd be deluded if every time I saw extreme piercings I thought "there's another one that would've been in the care of the state before cuts in the mental health budget."

If religion was just about a one-to-one relation between God and followers, much of religious teaching would be superfluous. But human beings spend a lot of time with other human beings, and this is reflected in "petty" codes for things like personal appearance, behavior, and diet.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

i accuse you (none / 2) (#90)
by fleece on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:33:14 AM EST

of burning a straw man at my expense.



I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
[ Parent ]
I'm blushing. (none / 0) (#164)
by Polverone on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:15:30 PM EST

You're right. Your whole post was about how you don't understand, not about how you think other people are crazy. And to think I was pontificating about seeing things in a distorted fashion! Some people behave as I said in my post, but there's no evidence that you're one of them.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]
New sig!!! (none / 0) (#319)
by Russell Dovey on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 07:13:37 AM EST


"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

an idea they ought to consider (none / 0) (#144)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:08:58 PM EST

that would make integration with society considerably less difficult and would skirt under this law (as nobody would *know*) is to do what orthodox jewish women in new york do: wear wigs.

[ Parent ]
False hair, enormities (none / 0) (#163)
by Edward Carter on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:08:06 PM EST

What follows is a list of enormities included as Book P of Reliance of the Traveler. I give only the section headings in the interest of brevity, since the section bodies merely give justifications for each act being listed as an enormity and further descriptions of them. The enormities are listed roughly in descending order of how bad they are.

p1.0 ASCRIBING ASSOCIATES TO ALLAH MOST HIGH (SHIRK)

p2.0 KILLING A HUMAN BEING

p3.0 SORCERY

p4.0 NOT PERFORMING THE PRAYER

p5.0 NOT PAYING ZAKAT

p6.0 SHOWING DISRESPECT TO ONE'S PARENTS

p7.0 ACCEPTING USURIOUS GAIN (RIBA)

p8.0 WRONGFULLY CONSUMING AN ORPHAN'S PROPERTY

p9.0 LYING ABOUT THE PROPHET (ALLAH BLESS HIM AND GIVE HIM PEACE)

p10.0 BREAKING ONE'S FAST DURING RAMADAN

p11.0 FLEEING FROM COMBAT IN JIHAD

p12.0 FORNICATION

p13.0 THE LEADER WHO MISLEADS HIS FOLLOWING, THE TYRANT AND THE OPPRESSOR

p14.0 DRINKING

p15.0 ARROGANCE, PRIDE, CONCEIT, VANITY, AND HAUGHTINESS

p16.0 BEARING FALSE WITNESS

p17.0 SODOMY AND LESBIANISM

p18.0 CHARGING A WOMAN WHO COULD BE CHASTE (def: o13.2) WITH ADULTERY

p19.0 MISAPPROPRIATING SPOILS OF WAR, MUSLIM FUNDS, OR ZAKAT

p20.0 TAKING PEOPLE'S PROPERTY THROUGH FALSEHOOD

p21.0 THEFT

p22.0 HIGHWAYMEN WHO MENACE THE ROAD

p23.0 THE ENGULFING OATH

p24.0 THE INVETERATE LIAR

p25.0 SUICIDE

p26.0 THE BAD JUDGE

p27.0 PERMITTING ONE'S WIFE TO FORNICATE

p28.0 MASCULINE WOMEN AND EFFEMINATE MEN

p29.0 MARRYING SOLELY TO RETURN TO THE PREVIOUS HUSBAND

p30.0 EATING UNSLAUGHTERED MEAT, BLOOD, OR PORK

p31.0 NOT FREEING ONESELF OF ALL TRACES OF URINE

p32.0 COLLECTING TAXES

p33.0 SHOWING OFF IN GOOD WORKS

p34.0 BREACH OF FAITH

p35.0 LEARNING SACRED KNOWLEDGE FOR THE SAKE OF THIS WORLD, OR CONCEALING IT

p36.0 REMINDING RECIPIENTS OF ONE'S CHARITY TO THEM

p37.0 DISBELIEVING IN DESTINY (QADR)

p38.0 LISTENING TO PEOPLE'S PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS

p39.0 CURSING OTHERS

p40.0 LEAVING ONE'S LEADER

p41.0 BELIEVING IN FORTUNE-TELLERS OR ASTROLOGERS

p42.0 A WIFE'S REBELLING AGAINST HER HUSBAND (def: m10.12)

p43.0 SEVERING TIES OF KINSHIP

p44.0 MAKING PICTURES

p45.0 THE TALEBEARER WHO STIRS UP ENMITY BETWEEN PEOPLE

p46.0 LOUDLY LAMENTING THE DEAD

p47.0 ATTACKING ANOTHER'S ANCESTRY

p48.0 EXCESSES AGAINST OTHERS

p49.0 ARMED INSURRECTION AND CONSIDERING MUSLIMS UNBELIEVERS

p50.0 HURTING OR REVILING MUSLIMS

p51.0 HARMING THE FRIENDS (AWLIYA') OF ALLAH MOST HIGH

p52.0 DRAGGING THE HEM OF ONE'S GARMENT OUT OF CONCEIT

p53.0 MEN WEARING SILK OR GOLD

p54.0 SLAUGHTERING IN OTHER THAN ALLAH'S NAME

p55.0 SURREPTITIOUSLY CHANGING PROPERTY-LINE MARKERS

p56.0 DISPARAGING THE PROPHETIC COMPANIONS (SAHABA)

p57.0 DISPARAGING THE MEDINAN HELPERS (ANSAR)

p58.0 HE WHO INAUGURATES A REPREHENSIBLE INNOVATION (BID`A)

p59.0 WOMEN WEARING FALSE HAIR AND THE LIKE

p60.0 POINTING A BLADE AT ONE'S BROTHER

p61.0 FALSELY CLAIMING SOMEONE IS ONE'S FATHER

p62.0 BELIEVING THAT SOMETHING PORTENDS BAD LUCK

p63.0 DRINKING FROM GOLD OR SILVER VESSELS

p64.0 ARGUING, PICKING APART ANOTHER'S WORDS, AND QUARRELING

p65.0 STINTING WHEN WEIGHING OR MEASURING OUT GOODS

p66.0 FEELING SECURE FROM ALLAH'S DEVISING

p67.0 DESPAIRING OF THE MERCY OF ALLAH AND THE LOSS OF HOPE

p68.0 INGRATITUDE TO SOMEONE WHO DOES ONE A KINDNESS

p69.0 WITHHOLDING EXCESS WATER FROM OTHERS

p70.0 BRANDING AN ANIMAL'S FACE

p71.0 GAMBLING

p72.0 VIOLATING THE MECCAN SACRED PRECINCT (HARAM)

p73.0 FORGOING THE FRIDAY PRAYER TO PRAY ALONE

p74.0 SPYING ON THE MUSLIMS AND REVEALING THEIR WEAKNESSES

p75.0 PROBABLE ENORMITIES

ENVY

NOT LOVING THE PROPHET (ALLAH BLESS HIM AND GIVE HIM PEACE) MORE THAN ALL PEOPLE

CONTENDING WITH WHAT THE PROPHET (ALLAH BLESS HIM AND GIVE HIM PEACE) HAS BROUGHT

ACQUIESCING TO DISOBEDIENCE

HELPING ANOTHER TO WRONGFULLY DISPUTE

UNDERHANDEDNESS

DISAFFECTING A PERSON'S SPOUSE OR SERVANT FROM HIM

VULGARITY

BEING LEADERLESS

BENEFITING AT A MUSLIM'S EXPENSE

SHUNNING A MUSLIM WITHOUT RIGHT

INTERCEDING FOR THE GUILTY

SAYING SOMETHING THAT ALLAH DETESTS

SAYING "MASTER" (SAYYID) TO A HYPOCRITE

BREAKING A PROMISE

NOT TRIMMING ONE'S MOUSTACHE

NOT PERFORMING THE HAJJ WHEN ABLE TO

KEEPING AN INHERITANCE FROM AN HEIR

TALKING ABOUT HOW ONE'S WIFE MAKES LOVE

SODOMIZING ONE'S WIFE

INTERCOURSE WITH ONE'S WIFE DURING MENSTRUATION

LOOKING INTO ANOTHER'S HOUSE WITHOUT LEAVE

EXCESSIVENESS IN RELIGION

NOT ACCEPTING A SWORN STATEMENT

STINGINESS

SITTING IN THE CENTER OF A CIRCLE

PASSING IN FRONT OF SOMEONE PERFORMING THE PRAYER

NOT LOVING ONE'S FELLOW MUSLIMS


The emphasis on the false hair thing is mine. One point of this is that, although this is quite a long list of enormities, women not covering their hair isn't on it. However, wearing a wig is. So your solution isn't really much of a solution. Another point is that there are lot of things on this list that people don't seem to be as worried about as they are with women covering their hair, even women they really have nothing to do with. For instance, skipping even one of the 5 daily prayers even for one day is listed as enormity #4, but somehow people find less time to whine about that then they do head covers.

Also, if you look through the list, please bear in mind that I have omitted explanations and qualifications for each item in the list. This post would have been way too long otherwise.

[ Parent ]
Please don't stone me, I mean no offense... (none / 1) (#320)
by Russell Dovey on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 07:28:18 AM EST

And these are a few of my favourite enormities:

p32.0 COLLECTING TAXES

I think that Muslims should draw more attention to this one, you'd have thousands of libertarians joining up in a flash.

p55.0 SURREPTITIOUSLY CHANGING PROPERTY-LINE MARKERS

Oh, this has to be my favourite. I love the implication that it's okay to do it out in the open.

p64.0 ARGUING, PICKING APART ANOTHER'S WORDS, AND QUARRELING

I think k5 may be doomed.

NOT TRIMMING ONE'S MOUSTACHE

I think I may be doomed.

TALKING ABOUT HOW ONE'S WIFE MAKES LOVE

And there goes the rest of the western world...

SITTING IN THE CENTER OF A CIRCLE

Okay, why? Just curious.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

a reply (none / 0) (#332)
by Edward Carter on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 11:34:43 AM EST

p32.0 COLLECTING TAXES

I think that Muslims should draw more attention to this one, you'd have thousands of libertarians joining up in a flash.


It means taxes other than zakat from Muslims and jizya from non-Muslims.

p55.0 SURREPTITIOUSLY CHANGING PROPERTY-LINE MARKERS

Oh, this has to be my favourite. I love the implication that it's okay to do it out in the open.


If it were done in the open, it would be pretty easy for people to put the markers back where they belong. Also, things not on the list aren't necessarily allowed, they're just not enormities according to this particular author.

SITTING IN THE CENTER OF A CIRCLE

Okay, why? Just curious.


In the text, this is qualified as talking about someone who sits in the middle of a circle of people thinking he's better than them.

[ Parent ]
Thanks! (none / 0) (#336)
by Russell Dovey on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 01:26:34 PM EST

SITTING IN THE CENTER OF A CIRCLE

Okay, why? Just curious.

In the text, this is qualified as talking about someone who sits in the middle of a circle of people thinking he's better than them.

Thanks, that sounds fair enough.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

We cannot accept all religious obligations (none / 1) (#394)
by regis on Sat Dec 20, 2003 at 03:32:58 PM EST

Let the head cover problem for a while.
Can we accept that swimming pools are reserved for women during certain hours every week, because they are forbidden by religion to show their skin to men ?
Can we accept that women refuse to be attended by male doctors in hospitals, for the same reason ?
We do accept all this in France at the moment. The head cover is just one part of the problem.

[ Parent ]
Those are different. (none / 0) (#397)
by Edward Carter on Mon Dec 22, 2003 at 08:02:57 AM EST

Can we accept that swimming pools are reserved for women during certain hours every week, because they are forbidden by religion to show their skin to men?

You could just tell those women not to go to public swimming pools at all.  Do you want to tell Muslim girls not to attend public schools?

Can we accept that women refuse to be attended by male doctors in hospitals, for the same reason?

Being seen by a female doctor is only obligatory when a female doctor is available, at least in the Shafi`i school.  Otherwise a male doctor is fine.

Both of these examples require someone other than the women in question to bend over backwards in some way.  The head cover isn't like that.  Why should a girl be required to show some hair before she is admitted into a public school?  Or before she can receive treatment at a hospital?  Just because a piece of cloth on her head makes you uncomfortable?

[ Parent ]

Unfair and unbalanced (2.50 / 20) (#25)
by nkyad on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 10:11:58 PM EST

I understand this is OP-Ed so you are allowed to express almost anything, but "state atheism practised as an evangelical religion" and "the rabid quest for atheism" are just "marketing" lies. Just because the French politicians do not line up to kiss the Cardinal of Paris hand anymore it does not mean the government is anywhere near embarking in a "quest for atheism".

As for your question, yes, any state is completely justified in enforcing civil standards above religious fanatics supposed rights - and the state is specially justified in stopping barbaric medieval traditions from contaminating tax-payer supported enviroments. More than one revolution, the French one foremost among them, had to be carried out to separate the Church from the State.  To forget all blood religions have already claimed in the name of their own misguided truths is criminal - tolerance and multiculturalism should not be used as a disguise to bring us back down the same bloody road again...

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


ha (none / 3) (#30)
by Work on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:06:34 PM EST

the state is specially justified in stopping barbaric medieval traditions from contaminating tax-payer supported enviroments

Only the french would consider a middle-eastern fashion such as wearing a head-scarf 'barbaric medieval tradition'.

[ Parent ]

yes, we (none / 3) (#117)
by vivelame on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:27:40 AM EST

frenchies have very high expectations in everything fashion-related.

:-)

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]

Um (2.75 / 4) (#35)
by mcc on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:25:21 PM EST

Just because the French politicians do not line up to kiss the Cardinal of Paris hand anymore it does not mean the government is anywhere near embarking in a "quest for atheism".

Correct... however, the banning of the wearing of religious symbols in state institutions such as schools does mean that the government is embarking on a "quest for atheism".

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]

not quite (2.50 / 4) (#36)
by martingale on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:31:30 PM EST

To qualify as a quest for atheism, there must be active promotion of the idea that there is no god. Merely not displaying religious signs at best implies that the state doesn't worship said god.

[ Parent ]
banning != "not displaying" n/t (none / 1) (#42)
by livus on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:11:44 AM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
correction (none / 1) (#47)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:12:25 AM EST

Banning the display of religious symbols in public institutions implies that the State doesn't worship said god.

[ Parent ]
But (2.75 / 4) (#60)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:51:57 AM EST

Banning the public display of religious symbols by individuals, not themselves acting in a capacity as representative of the State, can reasonably be taken to imply the State opposes that religion (or religion in general).

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
exactly (none / 2) (#67)
by livus on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:35:53 AM EST

If I don't eat meat, I'm probably a vegetarian. If I don't allow you to eat meat, I'm probably against meat-eating in general.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
what about (none / 0) (#69)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:43:26 AM EST

Sounds reasonable, but this can't be the whole story, can it? You might as well say that if the State does not oppose that religion, then it won't ban the public display of such symbols. But wait, some states have opposed certain religions and encouraged or even *mandated* the display of religious symbols for identification purposes.

What do you make of that? I conclude that the motive of the State is relevant as well (ie you must know what the ban is supposed to accomplish before inferring the opposition to religion).

[ Parent ]

Do you not recognize... (2.50 / 4) (#73)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 04:12:16 AM EST

...the difference between the State dressing itself in the iconography of religious belief, and tolerating the fact that some individuals do so?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
where is the intolerance? (none / 0) (#77)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 04:51:59 AM EST

The proposed legislation involves a separation between the public and private sphere, and even so only certain public subspheres.

I suppose you could argue that restricting certain behaviour to some locations is a serious constraint. But society is full of such constraints already. For example, table manners constrain us from certain behaviour. If I need to relieve myself, I don't do it in the corner next to the table, I go to a special room. It's sanitary. Doesn't it make sense to sanitize a place of learning, by restricting religion to the home or places of worship? What possible insight into an arithmetic lesson can religion offer? (I'm willing to be surprized ;-)

[ Parent ]

It's explicitly intolerant (3.00 / 5) (#79)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:06:33 AM EST

A Muslim is a just as much a Muslim when she's in class, at her job, or when shopping for groceries, as when she is in her home or at Mosque. The distinction you wish to make between public and private simply makes no sense from the perspective of the believer.

Doesn't it make sense to sanitize a place of learning, by restricting religion to the home or places of worship? What possible insight into an arithmetic lesson can religion offer? (I'm willing to be surprized ;-)

I think the implicit comparison you make between religion and urine betrays the prejudices you're bringing to this argument ;)

But, no. I don't see how a classroom needs to be sanitized in the manner you suggest. It's not that religion offers any insight into arithmetic, but that it presents no barrier to its instruction. A headscarf in the classroom is simply, or should simply, be no issue at all.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
that's what you say (none / 2) (#86)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:13:22 AM EST

A Muslim is a just as much a Muslim when she's in class, at her job, or when shopping for groceries, as when she is in her home or at Mosque.
Does that mean there is no escape? Everything this person does is coloured by her belief? Surely you don't mean that. If her job is to sell tickets at the train station, does her work have an Islamic tinge? Would a Catholic ticket seller give me different seating arrangements?

People behave in different ways according to the occasion. Being a Muslim is not a defining characteristic in all circumstances. It's a set of beliefs that help you cope with life, but it doesn't make everything you do a Islamic action. Walk down the street, it's an Islamic walk. Eat an ice cream, it's an Islamic way of taking a treat. Make an investment decision, it's following the Koran.

No, I believe religious belief to be only one aspect of a person. Like hair colour, it can be changed (ie religious conversion). There are times and places for religious ceremonies or behaviour, and there are times and places where it is out of place.

What's the alternative? Once a Muslim, always a Muslim? Does a distant ancestor who happened to be Protestant make you a Protestant? Go sit in the back of the bus with the other Protestants. I'm exaggerating, of course.

I think the implicit comparison you make between religion and urine betrays the prejudices you're bringing to this argument ;)
That's because I've already written way too much on this subject, and I'm running out of interesting things to say. I really have other things to do.

It's not that religion offers any insight into arithmetic, but that it presents no barrier to its instruction.
So you were agreeing with me all along ;-)

[ Parent ]
religion isn't a disease. (2.75 / 4) (#118)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:30:19 AM EST

no matter how much you want to believe it is.

Does that mean there is no escape? Everything this person does is coloured by her belief? Surely you don't mean that. If her job is to sell tickets at the train station, does her work have an Islamic tinge? Would a Catholic ticket seller give me different seating arrangements?

The answer is yes and no. Everything I do is colored by my personlity. But will that dictate how I give out train tickets? Unlikely.

People behave in different ways according to the occasion. Being a Muslim is not a defining characteristic in all circumstances. It's a set of beliefs that help you cope with life, but it doesn't make everything you do a Islamic action. Walk down the street, it's an Islamic walk. Eat an ice cream, it's an Islamic way of taking a treat. Make an investment decision, it's following the Koran.

Here's where your logic fails: Some people do in fact, have certain actions determined by religion. Just because you're way of doing that action doesn't have it, doesn't mean others don't.

In the applicable case here, wearing the headscarf is a part of the religion. There is little justification for banning this that doesn't smack of ignorance or bigotry.

Maybe we should take an above posters idea of tear down the churches and throw all the preachers in jail. Its at least up front about their intentions.

[ Parent ]

we lost the thread (none / 0) (#209)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:36:41 PM EST

The answer is yes and no. Everything I do is colored by my personlity. But will that dictate how I give out train tickets? Unlikely.
Here's where your logic fails: Some people do in fact, have certain actions determined by religion. Just because you're way of doing that action doesn't have it, doesn't mean others don't.
All we have to agree on is that people are able to behave according to the occasion. And we seem to agree on that. I claim that religion can be confined through (possibly newly defined) social custom into certain spheres.

There is always room for negotiation on just what spheres are appropriate. For example, my argument has been to defend the school zone as "religion free" - and only the public school zone at that.

There will always be people who claim that they cannot achieve that separation, but does that make it a bad idea overall? In government, the state and the church are clearly seen as conflicts of interest, and there is no problem in requiring those in government to be free of the conflict. Does that mean anyone in government is not allowed to step into a church on sundays? Far from it. They must simply leave their religion at the door when they enter a government building. Is it such a stretch to require the same thing in a government school?

[ Parent ]

Exactly! (none / 1) (#143)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:07:51 PM EST

Yes! Yes! Yes!

For many deply religious people, everything they do is colored by their belief. That's what makes this sort of problem so difficult.

[ Parent ]

The problem seems to be... (none / 0) (#193)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:04:22 PM EST

...that you possess a rather impoverished understanding of what it is to be religious.
Being a Muslim is not a defining characteristic in all circumstances. It's a set of beliefs that help you cope with life, but it doesn't make everything you do a Islamic action.

Religion consists of far more than just possessing certain propositional attitudes, and to be a believer is, in the case of most religions, much more than a disposition to assent to a prescribed litany of "I believe" statements. Religion is not just a matter of belief, but of concrete practice and social engagement.

You may consider the veil to be an insignificant or incidental aspect of Islamic belief, which is therefore easily tossed aside when outside the "private sphere," but, not being a believer yourself, you are entirely unqualified to make that judgement. Islam, and what it properly consists of, is defined by its believers, not by an outsider--especially not an outsider intent on rescuing them from a percieved ignorance.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
the social experiment rejects this (none / 0) (#210)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:50:19 PM EST

Religion is not just a matter of belief, but of concrete practice and social engagement.
In some ways, the French republican social experiment rejects this. It is precisely the power of the Church organization (ie a priest for every handful of villages) which was, among other things, broken.

Social engagement comes in many forms. You can feed and clothe the poor, which is admirable and has always been the mission of the Christian Church. But there is also meddling and abuse of the pulpit which is to be rejected.

As a general rule, I think the needs of French society, given its goals, always trump the needs of any local religions. That's not to say confrontation is necessary, just that of the two the society must always take precedence.

Due to historical circumstance, modern France has always been a near catholic monopoly. Of course in such an environment, once the Church was subjugated to the State, there was little source of religious disagreements. The modern population movements are bringing to the fore new questions which didn't have to be answered before.

You may consider the veil to be an insignificant or incidental aspect of Islamic belief, which is therefore easily tossed aside when outside the "private sphere," but, not being a believer yourself, you are entirely unqualified to make that judgement.
Not so. Do we accept the judgement of a judge in cases of industrial espionage? Does the judge in question know much about technology? All we can do is make sure there are safeguards and move the debate forward, but claiming that the decisions must always be taken by subject matter experts is not a practical answer.

[ Parent ]
You miss the point (none / 0) (#212)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 11:53:08 PM EST

Not so. Do we accept the judgement of a judge in cases of industrial espionage? Does the judge in question know much about technology? All we can do is make sure there are safeguards and move the debate forward, but claiming that the decisions must always be taken by subject matter experts is not a practical answer.

It's not to do with expert opinions, but the fact that a religion consists of exactly those beliefs and practices which its believers adhere. Neither you nor anyone else is in the position to narrowly circumscribe the boundaries of someone else's religious beliefs. You can refuse to respect their beliefs in all but the narrowest sense, but you cannot dictate those beliefs away.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
I don't get it. (none / 0) (#225)
by martingale on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 02:03:51 AM EST

It's not to do with expert opinions, but the fact that a religion consists of exactly those beliefs and practices which its believers adhere. Neither you nor anyone else is in the position to narrowly circumscribe the boundaries of someone else's religious beliefs.

I think, if I understand correctly, that's unusably imprecise. You're asking, at best, to define any religion as the sum total of all the beliefs and variations thereof which all believers (presumably of this one religion) adhere to.

Most religions, rather than being intensely personal, appear to be organized. People claim to believe the same basic tenets, which are sometimes codified into documents.

Be that as it may, this is extremely unbalanced in favour of the individual. Anybody can, through your definition of religion, claim to believe in anything at all, and thereby demand special treatment. If this special treatment isn't forthcoming, this person can claim martyrdom or persecution.

If nobody can verify the claim (because doing so is impossible from your definition), then this person is actually *right*, and a moral society, erring on the side of caution, is obliged to offer compensation or restitution. Of course, this isn't how it works in practice, but that's I think what your definition would lead to.

Normally, there are official religions which are registered with the State, and while I don't know exactly how they are declared, there must be some sort of legal definition.

Believe it or not, religious practices and beliefs can be catalogued and described, to at least sufficient precision that it makes sense to discuss them. Which brings me to your last point.

You can refuse to respect their beliefs in all but the narrowest sense, but you cannot dictate those beliefs away.

I don't think I'm talking about dictating them away. I've argued that: 1) the religious aspects of a person are neither all of the person, nor necessary for all the person's actions in life. 2) People can control their religious beliefs, in the sense that they can perform actions which are independent of these beliefs (ex: learn to write longhand). 3) Social conventions therefore also make sense in relation to religious behaviour. How does this dictate a person's actual beliefs? If, instead, you mean it dictates a person's behaviour, well that's true. But social interactions always dictate a person's behaviour.

[ Parent ]

Aha! (2.75 / 4) (#142)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:03:56 PM EST

Now there's the real issue. The problem is not the religious symbol.

The basic problem is that the distinction between the public and private sphere in modern western thought and in Islamic thought are different. Islam has an elaborate code of behavior for action in the public sphere which doesn't mesh with what secular western societies expect people to do in the public sphere, and that's the primary problem.

[ Parent ]

The conflict isn't necessarily between... (none / 1) (#191)
by gzt on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 07:53:17 PM EST

...Islam and the West, since such conflict is also found between Westerners. It is the people-as-property-of-the-State idea against all comers, and I blame the entire confusing mess on the Enlightenment. Of course, I might be the only confused one, since I still haven't figured out what the difference between public and private is in my everyday life.

[ Parent ]
Uhh, gee (none / 0) (#65)
by mcc on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:26:44 AM EST

So are you saying that prohibiting students from outwardly indicating they believe there is a god is not actively promoting the idea there is no god?

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]
yes (none / 0) (#281)
by jnana on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:58:12 PM EST

In the United States, display of religious symbols in courthouses has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (google Judge Roy Moore).

The Supreme Court, in denying the expression of the ten commandments monument in the Alabama courthouse, was not making a statement about the ten commandments, only that expression of such in a state courthouse violates separation of church and state.

Not allowing the expression of a belief does not imply anything except that such expression is not allowed. Expression of the opposite belief may or may not be allowed.

[ Parent ]

Regulating the behavior of the government (none / 0) (#310)
by mcc on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 03:11:32 AM EST

is completely and totally different from regulating the behavior of private citizens, and comparison between the two does not make sense in this context.

[ Parent ]
So a quest for neutrality is out of question? (none / 1) (#102)
by nkyad on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:13:39 AM EST

I see this move as a quest for a neutral ground - it puts the State and its agents completely out of the religious loop. The message, in my view, is that you can have any religous belief you want. The State, on the other hand, will have none.

It also simplify matters of fairness: the State will favour no religion. It serves as a barrier against individual action that would jeopardize education.

I am not sure you are aware of the dozens of studies about the contamination of race and class expectations in teachers performance. It has been shown that teachers will consistently (and uncounciously) favour certain students above others in the classroom daily routine. The rich white girl will receive more praise and less punishment while the poor black boy will have it on reverse. This was not done out of explicit racist fellings: it was just that the teachers expectations about the girl would be high, those about the boy would be low, and he/she would act accordingly. Banning ostensive religious symbols from classroom help minimize this effect.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
Hmmmm. (none / 1) (#157)
by mcc on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:58:11 PM EST

The message, in my view, is that you can have any religous belief you want. The State, on the other hand, will have none.

And apparently, neither will students or people who wish to recieve State services. Note that the definition of state discrimination is to do things such as deny services to people who will not be coerced into behaving in a manner the state deems acceptable.

It also simplify matters of fairness: the State will favour no religion.

Except Atheism. Since if you are a school student in France, and you are not an Atheist, there are currently limits on what you can do, for example what sort of clothes you can wear.

Religious neutrality to my mind is something all states should strive for. Making rules about, or recognizing the existence of in any way, Religion, is not religious neutrality at all.

So are you saying that if there is a problem where Teachers cannot honor and deal in an even-handed manner with diversity, the solution is to eradicate diversity?

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]

Excuse me... (none / 0) (#333)
by o reor on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 11:54:08 AM EST

Except Atheism. Since if you are a school student in France, and you are not an Atheist, there are currently limits on what you can do, for example what sort of clothes you can wear.

No, even when you are an atheist, you are not supposed to be proselytic about it. (And I have seldom seen Darwin fish symbols on this side of the Pond). Besides, I think the problem is not related to religion, but mainly to the sexual discrimination that the hidjab (scarf) implies.

You gotta know that teenage girls from the french Muslim community get harrassed by their male counterparts if they don't comply with their rules: wearing "decent" clothes (no skirts, no make-up), a scarf if possible, and so on. Otherwise they are rejected, harrassed, considered as "bitches" or "whores".

And the root of that problem lies in the failure of the educational and social system to transmit the republican values of equity, sex equality and non-discrimination. But then, how are you supposed to integrate those values when you are a second-generation immigrant and that the local mob still thinks you are a wog and discriminates against you when you're looking for a job or for accomodation ?



[ Parent ]

Two things (2.82 / 17) (#34)
by martingale on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:25:04 PM EST

There are two things that stand out in your write-up, which I'd like to clear up.

1) You're confused on the difference between the applicability and the effect of a law. The law, if it comes to that in this case, is applicable equally to all. There is nothing special about certain individuals under the law. However, its effect on people's behaviour is unequal. Some people must adjust their behaviour more than others.

Your mistake is to suggest that those people whose behaviour is not affected by a law are not subjected to it. This is wrong. For example, a catholic woman, who has never worn a head scarf for serious reasons, might decide to convert to Islam tomorrow. At that point, she is affected by such a law, while yesterday she wasn't. However, she's always been subjected to the law since it was enacted. If in a week's time she converts to the Jewish faith, she'll still be subjected to the law, but won't feel like it affects her.

The whole point of banning all displays of religious symbology indiscriminately, rather than just fixing the problem of head scarves in schools specifically, is to prevent the creation of special cases.

Now the British legal system is built on the heaping of special cases upon special cases, and for k5 readers of the UKian persuasion, it would be natural to discuss specifically only headscarves in schools and limit laws to that case.

However, the French legal system is rather different, and based on universal laws. This principle, which goes back to the first revolution, requires laws to be developed and phrased in abstract terms which can be applied to all equally. This is why the discussion isn't "why don't we ban headscarves in schools" but rather "why don't we ban religious symbols in public areas".

This is also why all are subjected equally to the law, but some are more affected by it than others.

2) Your question is

is the state justified in forcing it's own values onto people by prohibiting them from maintaining familial or cultural traditions, no matter what the justification for this action may be?

You're using "justification" twice in two different senses. First of all, the justification for the state itself is the social contract.

The justification for the French State's law enactments is the decision of the national assembly and the senate. Anything these two elected branches of government decide is, by definition, justified.

The second time you use the word justification, you are invoking it in an argumentative sense. What you mean by "justification" are the arguments being put forward to make the law out as a good idea. this is certainly worth debating, but has little to do with the actual French State.

Unfortunately, by phrasing the question the way you do, you are suggesting that no argumentative justification exists for the proposed state action. So it's a loaded question in a sense. My answer: There are good arguments for such a law, and there are bad arguments for such a law. The law should be enacted if good arguments can be agreed to by a cross section of society.

two wrongs (or infinite many) don't make a right. (none / 2) (#38)
by Work on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:41:07 PM EST

that the law says that a muslim can't wear a headscarf, and that a jew can't wear a yarmulke and that a christian can't wear a cross around their neck (I assume), doesn't make such a law right in the sense of freedom of religion and expression.

I think the question of justification is more of a moral human rights one. Does one not have the right to express their religion? The disingenous answer to this is "well what if your religion is to murder some random person", of course we're talking about things that have no physical effect, such as wearing a symbol.

[ Parent ]

that's certainly a good question (none / 2) (#41)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:01:14 AM EST

right in the sense of freedom of religion and expression.
That's certainly the interesting thing worth debating. I've argued in other comments that it's more natural to ban such expression (in public state functions), but I'm not claiming I have all the answers. Moreover, I'm an atheist, so I'm biased anyway ;-)

As a human rights issue, there's the question of when the State goes too far in meddling with people. Personally, I don't mind people expressing their religion or otherwise acting as they please so long as I am not expected to go out of my way to improve their experience for them. That makes me really grumpy. But I'm always open to cogent arguments.



[ Parent ]

in state functions, surely (none / 2) (#45)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:24:50 AM EST

where the state is representing *itself*, I agree. But what of the individuals participating in the function, but who are not representatives?

I mean, a street is a public government-owned place too. Would they ban people from wearing such symbols from there and other public places like plazas, museums, government buildings...

[ Parent ]

the street example (none / 1) (#49)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:30:20 AM EST

In some sense, the street example is a non-issue. There is no danger that a sidewalk pavement will discriminate one way or the other against practicioners of a given faith. Jews can walk the street, but Hindus somehow consistently fall flat on their face?

A public service such as a school is different. It makes sense to ask whether the teacher is promoting anti-muslim opinions, by ridiculing the scarf or the ban on certain meat products. It also makes sense to ban the teacher from doing such a thing.

But a classroom isn't the same as a television show, where some guy stands in front of the black board. The students are actors too, so some sort of regulation to ensure nondiscrimination must also apply to them.

[ Parent ]

a street is a public government-owned place (none / 0) (#104)
by wiredog on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:17:09 AM EST

Except in Salt Lake City Utah, where Main Street was sold to The Church, for a very nominal sum, in order to allow The Church to ban certain types of legal public activity.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
most but not all (none / 0) (#141)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:00:53 PM EST

As there are privately owned streets in many suburban subdivisions now. And the legality of street ownership may be different in France.

[ Parent ]
Do you see your hypocricy? (none / 0) (#87)
by ocelotbob on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:17:52 AM EST

Personally, I don't mind people expressing their religion or otherwise acting as they please so long as I am not expected to go out of my way to improve their experience for them. That makes me really grumpy.

So, instead, you want them to go out of their way to not express their religion? I personally have an aversion to organized religion, but at the same time, I appreciate, and see the power of, faith. Personally, I lump religious atheists such as yourself in the same circle as Jerry Falwell -- too closed-minded to have any semblance of a reasonable discussion of faith and spirituality.

Why... in my day, the idea wasn't to have a comfortable sub[missive]...
--soylentdas
[ Parent ]

mmmm....attacking atheists (none / 3) (#123)
by fluxrad on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:51:54 AM EST

Is it getting warm in here?

Personally, I lump religious atheists such as yourself in the same circle as Jerry Falwell -- too closed-minded to have any semblance of a reasonable discussion of faith and spirituality.

First off, it would be helpful if you would define the talking points surrounding a "reasonable discussion" regarding faith and privacy.

Moreover, if you can't see martingale's point, I would consider you the rather close minded one. In fact, you may want to re-read his post on the law as it applies to, say, jews versus muslims. As a case in point, I'm sure you've heard of the muslim woman in Florida who sued to be allowed to have her driver's license picture taken with her veil on. Do you assume the state's refusal to accomodate her wishes tyrranical?

Either way, I highly doubt this thread will evolve into a coherent discussion on the merits of the separation of church and state or the respect of faith. You've already given us a pretty good idea of your views on those who believe differently from yourself.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
In the context of american law (none / 0) (#140)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:59:54 PM EST

I think that decision was wrong; it's an unreasonable interference with her practice of her religion, and violates the 1st amendment.

I don't know French law well enough to know if a similar decision in Nantes would be OK.

[ Parent ]

I disagree (none / 1) (#153)
by fluxrad on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:27:47 PM EST

We're talking about Florida now, right?

The decision not to allow the woman to be photographed with her veil on was absolutely correct.

Consider that if she were allowed to be photographed in such a manner, there would be no way to identify her. And to issue such a license would be to say that anyone wearing a veil could probably pass with this license. The point of the picture on the license is to identify the person, a veil makes this impossible.

Of course, you bring up the first amendment argument, but in the context of driving, there's none to be had. The courts have always asserted that driving is a privelege, not a right. While a case can be made that this discriminates against muslims, the same can be made for allowing rastafarians to smoke marijuana. In both cases the state argues (and I believe rightly so) that the first amendment protections afforded these individuals are outweighed by the interests of the state.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
true. (none / 1) (#139)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:58:24 PM EST

It doesn't mean the law upholds the right of religious expression. But it does mean the law is religion-neutral - which is to say, it can't reasonably be accused of favoring one religion over another.

One of the interesting things about this debate is - well, of course this law is anti-muslim in intent; as in every major european country with muslim minorities who don't assimilate well and who (often) are resistant to the conception of modern life that is prevalant in the society, much of the public in France is terrified that their way of life is going to be destroyed. But they've found a mechanism which is technically religiously neutral to try and deal with it. Is it fair to criticize their intent if their mechanism is OK?

[ Parent ]

a matter of opinion i suppose. (none / 0) (#148)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:27:52 PM EST

I think alot of the european policies toward 'preserving cultural identity' are little more than thinly veiled racism. It's more than just creating funds for preserving historic sites and such, and into actively oppressing the culture of immigrants.

So in that they have legal means with which to enforce laws that undermine these personal freedoms of expression, does little to sway my dim opinion of it. Nationalism, culturalism, its two sides of the same coin.

I'm less concerned about the issue of whether its 'legal' or not, but whether its right from a human right standpoint.

I do find some of the comments in this story, odd. If it was the US doing this, there would be hell raised from all sides, both US and abroad. But if its france doing it people seem to be 'well religion sometimes causes bad things so its okay'.

[ Parent ]

Interesting. (none / 3) (#151)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:05:46 PM EST

You're right that there would be screaming if the US was doing this. I would be one of the screamers - and yet at the same time, while I think this is not the right solution to France's problem, and will cause more problems in the long run, i'm not screaming about it.

I can't speak for everyone, but here's the distinction in my mind.

Such a law would violate the American constitution, so that's one reason to complain. But, perhaps more importantly, it would violate our conception of what it means to be free. We are a pluralistic society and have basically always been one; a society formed by refugees from the tyrannies of Europe who fled to these shores, killed off their inhabitants, and built a new society on different rules. One of those rules has always been that people should be allowed to practice their religion as they see fit - because one of the tyrannies we fled from was state-mandated religious belief. To pass a law which denied that freedom and broke that rule would be to deny centuries of our history and to, in effect, abandon the soul of our culture.

The situation in France is different. They responded to the same tyranny by revolting against it, killing its enforcers, and enforcing secularism. This law is merely a continuation of the way they've dealt with the problem of state-enforced religion; it is not an alien concept introduced from outside which violates their way of thinking about the problem. It is as natural a reaction there as it would be an unnatural one here.

For me, as an American, to condemn it on moral grounds (as opposed to practical ones, which I am perfectly happy to do) would be to assert that our solutiun to the problem is morally superior to theirs. I don't know that I can do that; I know that I'm sufficiently influenced by our political and legal culture that I can't find an independant position from which to compare the two solutions. My understanding of eighteenth and nineteenth century politics suggests that freeing France from the tyranny of the institutional church required a devotion to secularism, and that absent the growth of a secularizing spirit, it would never have happened; our solution may simply not have been possible in their context. So how can I condemn them for not adopting it?

It's very tempting, when dealing with other cultures, to insist that our ways are better and theirs are simply wrong, and to demand that they adopt our ways. But it's usually a bad idea; ideas which are not organic developments within the culture often fail upon adoption and/or are twisted into something quite different. (See, for example, "democracy" as practiced in Japan, which bears basically zero resemblance to democracy as practiced in the United States). One can present ideas, and make suggestions, and try to slowly coax people into seeing things one's way ... but anything else is both arrogant and ineffective, a bizarrely useless combination.

It's vaguely ironic that we're having this conversation in the context of France, one of the few European countries which has completely disassociated church and state (unlike, say, England, Germany, or all of Scandinavia).

----

You're right that much of the cultural identity politics of Europe is, in fact, thinly veiled racism. But again, France is in many respects one of the least offensive in this regard. Frenchness is, like Americanness, defined around an ideology, not an ethnicity. It's very unique within Europe in that regard.

[ Parent ]

Ironically... (none / 0) (#169)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:48:57 PM EST

It's very tempting, when dealing with other cultures, to insist that our ways are better and theirs are simply wrong, and to demand that they adopt our ways. But it's usually a bad idea; ideas which are not organic developments within the culture often fail upon adoption and/or are twisted into something quite different.

It is just this temptation, cultural chauvinism, which the French have succumbed to. I'm not up in arms over this issue primarily because I don't consider it my place to get hysterically involved in the internal affairs of others countries which don't affect me--an attitude I think the French could benefit from. But you'll have to pardon a bit healthy schadenfreude on my part, as it tickles my fancy to see the French, who have recently been staking out a position on the high ground of cultural tolerance and pluralism, shown up for their hypocrisies.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Intent vs. mechanism (none / 0) (#179)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:29:33 PM EST

Is it fair to criticize their intent if their mechanism is OK?

I think that your distinction between "intent" and "mechanism", while getting at something of substance, is not as clear-cut as you make it out to be. Which category do rights fall into?

I think and interesting case in this regard is a US Supreme Court decision in favor of a Santería church, overturning ordinances against ritual animal sacrifices: CHURCH OF LUKUMI BABALU AYE v. CITY OF HIALEAH, 508 U.S. 520 (1993). I think the Court's reasoning very much takes the intent of the ordinances into account, but I'll let you decide what's the balance of intent and mechanism here.

--em
[ Parent ]

its all about intent to the USSC (none / 0) (#221)
by Work on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 01:40:13 AM EST

the court has ruled that many, many times that you can't use technical legal wording to accomplish unconstitutional side effects, if thats the chief intent. Of course, that intent needs to be shown. I believe in the case you cited there were memos and recordings that clearly showed the bias of the city council toward the church.

In france though, I have no idea how their legal system works in that regard.

[ Parent ]

Differentiate religion from expression (none / 1) (#334)
by slaida1 on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 11:59:24 AM EST

Since religion is something that has been passed from generation to generation, expressing religion is not equal to expressing oneself. When wearing religious symbols openly, one merely expresses his implanted irrational beliefes rather than his own.

I dare to say that implanted irrational beliefs are worthless or at most a tool to maintain one's connections with his family. If France can stick with its policy then I say hooray for France! It's time we get rid of religions, they have caused us nothing but trouble. Let people face the (terrible?) emptiness that life is if they aren't ready to make meaning for it by themselves.

There aren't readymade answers to the big questions and it's about time for everyone to realize that. Stop hiding behind easter bunnies and see how uncertain empty future looks like and how standing for yourself, alone, feels.

[ Parent ]

Objection (2.60 / 15) (#40)
by bolson on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:47:10 PM EST

Author seems to disdain "atheism".

I am offended.
Making Democracy Safe for the World (change the voting system)

Is it just me... (1.69 / 13) (#50)
by synik on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:32:40 AM EST

...or do people care way too much about this sort of shit?

Yes, muslim women can't walk around in head scarves in france, but under the same laws I can't walk around with a 3 foot hat saying "There is no god. Atheism - it can work for you".

Religion and religious people are a waste of air and space anyway. Seriously, anyone that kills or ridicules other people based on books written thousands of years ago is a fucking idiot.

---
The human race has suffered for centuries and is still suffering from the mental disorder known as religion, and atheism is the only physician that will be able to effect a permanent cure. -- Joseph Lewis

Note that there was an "OR" in there (none / 1) (#92)
by synik on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:51:03 AM EST

Besides, I've never heard of a group of atheists going to war to defend their disbelief. :)

---
The human race has suffered for centuries and is still suffering from the mental disorder known as religion, and atheism is the only physician that will be able to effect a permanent cure. -- Joseph Lewis
[ Parent ]
from the looks of it, and other comments... (none / 0) (#112)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:14:18 AM EST

they may well be on their way...

[ Parent ]
uh (none / 2) (#113)
by Battle Troll on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:18:14 AM EST

I've never heard of a group of atheists going to war to defend their disbelief

It was called the Soviet Union, perhaps you've heard of it?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

YHBT (none / 0) (#300)
by it certainly is on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 10:32:54 PM EST

And your Soviet argument is crap.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Huh? (none / 0) (#94)
by Edward Carter on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 07:49:21 AM EST

Yes, muslim women can't walk around in head scarves in france, but under the same laws I can't walk around with a 3 foot hat saying "There is no god. Atheism - it can work for you".

Those two things are about as comparable as Denmark and salt.

[ Parent ]

You are so smart. (none / 1) (#96)
by tkatchev on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:03:42 AM EST

I admire you for your stunning intellect, Sir.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Wow! (none / 1) (#108)
by A synx on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:01:23 AM EST

I want a 3 foot hat saying "There is no god. Atheism - it can work for you"!  8)


[ Parent ]
What's so wrong... (none / 2) (#131)
by aetheroar on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:35:14 PM EST

...about wearing a 3 foot hat with a religious message? I mean, that's why I love America - men have fought and died for our rights to wear veils, pentagrams, and big silly hats (And lots of other rights more important than the right to dress the way we want).

btw, if that hat comes with flashing lights or a catchy tune, I'll take a dozen.

[ Parent ]

3 foot religious hats (none / 0) (#182)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:50:35 PM EST

Does the pope's fall into this category? Imagine all the wonderous toys he must keep underneath!

[ Parent ]
Actual harm? (2.50 / 6) (#62)
by truth versus death on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:01:34 AM EST

Um, pot, cannabis, or marijuana (whatever you want to call it, how 'bout marihuana) is a perceived harm, if ever there was one. Historically, its being outlawed was very much instigated and resultant of a cultural expression. You haven't really studied these things, honi soit qui peu y boit, have you?

There are numerous other mistakes in your diary, but I think you have really enjoyed the fine art of trolling. For that, I applaud you.

--
* Entry from the The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Seventeenth Edition Published in 1999 (the centenary of the publication). This book is used by more medical professionals worldwide than any other general medical textbook and has been continuously published longer than any other English language general medical textbook.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
The swastika... (2.14 / 7) (#64)
by SvnLyrBrto on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:15:41 AM EST

... used to be a pagan symbol of (IIRC) fertility, before it was appropiated by the guy with the funny mustache, for his thousand-year reich.

So does a pagan or a wiccan have the right, in France, to fly a swastika over his house, parade around with the thing emblazoned on his clothes, distribute little cards to the public, with little swastikas on them... all in the name of his religion?  Somehow, I think not; given the lengths France was willing to go through to get nazi memorbellia yanked off of yahoo.com, and not just yahoo.fr.

SHOULD you have the right to parade around displaying a swastika in france?  That's a tougher question.  A lot of people seem to be viewing this through the glasses of the US constitution's first ammendment.  But France doesn't have quite the same rules regarding freedom of expression as we do in the US.  For better or for worse, the French have decided that various forms of hate speech, incitements, and open displays of the symbols of hate and oppression are a proverbial "no-no" there.  (And what was that saying... "When in Rome, do as the Romans do..."?)

And I fail to see why a symbol of misogyny should enjoy any protection, where a symbol of anti-semitism certianly does not.  Equal treatment under the law, and all that...

Moreover, France *IS*, ostensibly, a secular state; with church and state supposedly seperate.  As such, ALL religious influence (of ANY religion (islam, xtianity, wicca, et. al.)) DOES need to be expunged from ALL public institutions; exactly what this law seems written to do.  The artilce says France has been "secular" since 1905.  This new law is just coming 98 years late, that's all.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...

Err. ECHR! (none / 0) (#103)
by bigbtommy on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:13:48 AM EST

You say that people see it through "the glasses of the US constitution's first ammendment(sic)" but that's not applicable because this is France.

But you do know that France was a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (and all of it's protocols except No. 13 which deals with the abolition of the death penalty), and they have had to incorporate that in to law (ratified in 1974).

Unfortunately, I do not know whether France has incorporated an access methodology in to their law (like the UK did in 1998 with the Human Rights Act which enabled judicial oversight and a requirement that Parliament make a Human Rights Statement for each new Act it passes).

But still, the Convention articles are relevant parts of French law, and if the Government obstruct rights, they can be brought before the European Court of Human Rights (or it might be the European Court of First Instance, I'm not sure. EC law is unbelievably complicated at times!)

Article 9, section 1, of the ECHR says:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance."

Section 2 of the same article says: "Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

The next article, Article 10, states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression." Of course, there are many exceptions: "licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises" for one, and "The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary."

Allowing people to wear a headscarf is not "religious influence" any more than a Christian wearing a cross is influence. Prevention of it is possibly a contravention of Article 10, and it's almost guaranteed to be a contravention of Article 9.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]

Fine, an experiment then... (none / 1) (#129)
by SvnLyrBrto on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:01:08 PM EST

Invent some "religious" excuse to display the swastika.  I'm sure there is one already, somewhere in wicca or paganism.  Now, march around in France, Germany, or probably a number of other European countries, and see how far you get.  Feel free to print the passages of the ECHR you just cited, and show them to any cop who tries to stop you.  Report your results.

Much like I can't convert to rastafarianism, and therefore be (legally)  free to get high as a kite on ganja, in the name of my religion, here in the US; various forms of hate speech, and the symbology of opression that goes with them, are illegal in MANY places in Europe.  

And I still see no reason in the world to exempt misogyny from those laws, where anti-semitism obviously is not.  The "law of the land" is the "law of the land".  And the "law of the land" in France is secularism... seperration of church and state... which means that religion MUST be expunged from public institutions; and the "law of the land" includes protections from hate speech, and it's symbolism.

If you think that's wrong, fine.  Debate the merits of a theocratic state versus a secular one.  Debate wether suppression of hate speech, and the actions and symbols that go with it, is right, or even if it's effective, or not.  But don't cloud the issue.  You don't get to circumvent the law by making up "religious" excuses for your misbehavior.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Buddhism. (none / 0) (#146)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:15:05 PM EST

The swastika is a symbol of the 'feet of buddha'. Actually the swastika is one of the oldest religious symbols in the history of man, predating buddhism and going way back to the babylonians and possibly before.

[ Parent ]
My bad... (none / 0) (#203)
by SvnLyrBrto on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:00:49 PM EST

Looks like I got the wrong religion, and a bad case of selective memory with the symbolism. Still though, at least I got the "fertility" part right. Dammit... I could have SWORN having seen references to the thing wrt/ paganism before. Guess that's just a big fuckup on my part.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Swastikas on Japanese maps (none / 1) (#248)
by tongpoo on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 11:53:11 AM EST

Swastikas on Japanese maps are used to indicate where Buddhist temples are. Example: http://plaza8.mbn.or.jp/~michikawa/txt5/teratizu.gif

[ Parent ]
Secular != Expunged of Religion (none / 1) (#278)
by SageGaspar on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:53:40 PM EST

There seems to be a pervading thought that a secular state requires every vestige of religion to be wiped completely clean from anything the government touches. This is simply not true. A secular school could have a whole faculty of veil-wearing women and a student body littered with crosses and yamikas.

The thing that matters, in the end, is that the employees of the government - the teachers, staff, and princpal - don't use the school as a vehicle to promote their religion, nor do they teach about their religion more than relates to the context of history and global studies.

Removing a veil does not erase a person's beliefs or desire to evangelize, if they feel it necessary. It doesn't mean that a person relies any more or less on their religion for guidance, and it doesn't suddenly remove religion as a topic of discussion.

Furthemore, a secular school does not require the student body to refrain from religious practices in any way, shape or form. It means not encouraging or discouraging them from doing their thing. By forcing the removal of veils in school, France has effectively placed their policy and schools more firmly into the spiritual realm by regulating religion. Neutrality, not removal.

[ Parent ]
This bothers me (2.00 / 6) (#66)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:35:51 AM EST

It forces me to admire France.  I'm going to be up all night wrestling with this dilemia.

Thanks a lot.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

Aggression? (2.00 / 7) (#71)
by randyk on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 04:06:03 AM EST

I postulate that anyone who considers head scarf wearing a form of aggression is in dire need of directly experiencing real aggression so that they can have a more proper perspective.

It goes to show that just because Chirac stood up to Dubya doesn't mean the fucker isn't a stupid idiot. Politicians at this level are almost universally fucked in the head.



headscarfs (none / 2) (#107)
by m1fcj on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:43:02 AM EST

It is not hearscarfs. It is what it implies. A woman with a headscarf is decent, righteous. This automatically means that by wearing such a symbol, you are conforting the woman who aren't wearing one and implying that they are not decent and righteous. It is one step away from calling others "bitch".

[ Parent ]
wtf? (none / 0) (#114)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:18:51 AM EST

Thats the most ridiculous bullshit i've heard yet in here.

Like when I wear long pants in summer, it says to others, "My legs are better than yours - and no you can't see them". It is one step away from calling others "asshat".

[ Parent ]

it's badly phrased (none / 1) (#138)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:54:06 PM EST

But it's roughly accurate. Wearing a veil *implicitly* accuses those who aren't doing so of being immoral and ungodly. Of course, you can't ban that accusation (free speech), so basing the ban of the veil on that idea is somewhat troublesome.

[ Parent ]
well then (none / 0) (#145)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:10:56 PM EST

i assume wearing a cross and yarmulke says the same thing.

Funny how i've never caught on to that. Guess I should start feeling oppressed now.

[ Parent ]

maybe in the case of the yarmulke. (none / 0) (#147)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:19:23 PM EST

Not in the case of the cross; there is no rule in christianity requiring believers to wear crosses. There is, however, a rule in most varieties of islam requiring believing women to wear veils when in public.

[ Parent ]
veil / scarf (none / 0) (#149)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:29:48 PM EST

i think we should differentiate between the 'veil' and 'scarf'. The veil is the full facial covering, which is actually fairly rare except in extremely conservative societies. The scarf, which merely covers the hair and neck, is much more common.

[ Parent ]
no way (none / 1) (#185)
by mr100percent on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 07:05:35 PM EST

No No No, how did this get contorted into that kind of idea?

In the US, women who wear headscarves are stigmatized. Post-9/11, women have had them snatched off, called "terrorist", and otherwise threatened and sneered at. I can bring forward plenty of women nearby me as witnesses to this. Want to read accounts? There are plenty.

How come nobody gets this incensed when one wears a yarmukle? Or when I wear a kufi out in public? Do you somehow feel like I am insulting you if I wore a turban in front of you?


--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

Were we speaking about the US (none / 0) (#385)
by aphrael on Thu Dec 18, 2003 at 09:36:17 AM EST

or were we speaking about France? The two aren't necessarily comparable.

[ Parent ]
interesting concept (none / 0) (#192)
by MX5 on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:02:50 PM EST

so chicks can now sue people wearing veils for defamation of character.

-M

"Next week on the programme, bats. Are they really blind or are they just taking the piss?" -tfs
[ Parent ]
Contradiction ? (none / 3) (#82)
by bugmaster on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:26:30 AM EST

However, the two girls live in France, a secular country which does not tolerate any sign of religious expression in public places which might jeopardise their notion of laïcité (state atheism practised as an evangelical religion)... ...the pretext for this decision being that they are causing a disturbance by coming to school wearing veils.
Wait a minute, if atheism is practiced as an evangelical, state-enforced religion, then why does anyone need a "pretext" to ban religious symbols ? It should already be illegal under the "atheism is our state religion" law, right ?

Don't get me wrong, I don't like the French religious intolerance, but I dislike your knee-jerk reactions as well. I also might be more responsive to your article if you didn't implicitly call me "rabid". As it stands, though, I get the feeling that I'm not getting the full story here.
>|<*:=

state vs. religion (none / 0) (#106)
by m1fcj on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:40:45 AM EST

You are right. France state is not atheist. It is simply separation of state and religions. Religion should not be a politic tool. God has no place in Man's life.

[ Parent ]
Re: state vs. religion (none / 0) (#124)
by bugmaster on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 11:02:56 AM EST

While I do agree with you (except maybe for the last part), this isn't exactly what I said, so please don't say "you're right". Just thought I'd point that out.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Historically speaking (2.75 / 4) (#137)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:52:01 PM EST

The separation of church and state was a good thing; prior to that, the state would *mandate that you believe a certain thing*. Nobody's really found a good middle ground, and i'd prefer the current regime to the prior one - at leas tin part that it's more free.

Were there not a separation of church and state in France, the muslim immigrants would be forced to convert to Catholicism, as was true in the ancien regime; would that be better?

[ Parent ]

Alsace? (none / 3) (#91)
by am3nhot3p on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:33:34 AM EST

Would this law apply to the Alsace-Moselle territory, where there is no legal separation of church and state?

good question (none / 2) (#266)
by Chep on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 06:25:25 PM EST

I'm apalled each day I bring my daughter to pre-school, when I see there's a crucifix on the main wall of her class. Well not know, they re-used the nail to hang a cardboard christmas tree.

I guess I could start making an ass of myself and start demanding that they hang an orthodox cross instead, and also paint the direction to Mecca in a conspicuous place on the floor.

Actually, the University of Strasbourg (public) opened recently a department of Islamic Theology, so that wouldn't be inconsistent.

By the time she enters actual school (in 3-4 years), I hope I'll be able to move back to "inside" (west of the Vosges, 1905 law rule), at least to protect the kids from the mandatory religious education (which can optionally be replaced with "civic morality" education, performed by the priest anyway).

--

Our Constitution ... is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the greatest number.
Thucydide II, 37


[ Parent ]

Not just France (none / 3) (#95)
by Hektor on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 07:53:49 AM EST

The debate is also active in Denmark and many other european countries.

Personally I couldn't care less, wether or not people wear religious symbols, as long as they're not being forced to do so against their will.

Freedom of religion and all that.

However - if they want to ban religious symbols in public, then they have to do something rather drastic in my oppinion. Freedom FROM religion:

  1. Tear down each and every church and the like. They can clearly be seen in public, and must go.
  2. All religious hollydays must be abolished. This includes christmas, easter, pentecost etc. Not sure about new years eve.
  3. Anyone seen preaching or practicing any kind of religion in public should be thrown in jail.
I'm sure we can come up with some more ideas. I wouldn't mind if this was done. Granted, a lot of cultural treassures will be lost due to this, but that's what we have museums for anyway. At least it won't be favoring one religion over another.

sounds like Turkey (none / 2) (#189)
by mr100percent on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 07:39:36 PM EST

That sounds like Turkey. Turkey has in the last century become secular, but painfully so. It has something to do with trying to become Western, without becoming largely atheist like Europe.

The country has a Muslim majority, but the government has banned all headscarves at colleges and government institutions. Women who wear it get fined or something. Also, it's illegal to teach the Quran to children. I've heard it's illegal to pray in public, and that there have been lots of arrests.

This is a good example of how secularism can be a bad thing.

--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

That's not secularism (none / 1) (#249)
by zakalwe on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 11:54:42 AM EST

This is a good example of how secularism can be a bad thing.
This isn't secularism - secularism is the view that religion should not matter, and should not be considered when making decisions. Giving special treatment to religion, whether positive or negative isn't secularism, it's just intolerance.

[ Parent ]
So wrong (2.46 / 13) (#98)
by Betcour on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:14:43 AM EST

There are many things wrong with this article. One of the most blatant is this though :

state atheism practised as an evangelical religion

This is an unfair accusation because, under the proposed ban on all religious signs, atheist signs will be equally banned (wearing a "God doesn't exists" tshirt in a public school will just as illegal as wearing any other religious symbol)

Re: Laïcité, Egalité, Fraternité (2.93 / 15) (#101)
by fmazoit on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:01:07 AM EST

  There are many problems with this proposed law.

  For some years now, we have seen high school girl saying they did not want to take off their headscarf at school. But in sport, in chemestry or in other situation, this can be very dangerous. What is the teacher to do? Well, the girls don't attend the class. Isn't that wonderfull, girls can skip classes and nobody can say a damn thing! People have tried to talk this over. But when the parents and the girls don't want to hear a thing, the only sensible thing to do is to throw the girls out. In france children MUST go to school. Parents can choose the school but if they choose a state one, the must follow the rules.
  Another example is the problem of photo ID. The purpose of a photo ID is to be able to recognise someone on the photograph. But hey, I cannot have such a photograph for religious reasons, I must not take off my headscraf!
  There are many other example like this.

  I don't care what people wear. But some rules are necessary to help the society run.

  What I believe is that some muslim people are doing everything they can to have more influence, more power. They want there women to be under their control, they want to build a state inside the state. Since you seem to like bibliography, read [1] (in french).

  This is not acceptable for the state. Some women are under heavy pressure. This cannot be tolerated. Of course one can find women that are really doing this freely. I am sure one can find prostitute that really sell themselves because they want to. That does not mean the state must not try to help the one that are obliged to.

  On the other hand, I don't like the goverment is dealing with this correctly. I don't trust Sarkozy and Chirac. I do think they want a law against muslim people and I understand the way muslim react. But had I choose, I would prefer have a bad law that help some women to be free than nothing.

[1]http://www.liberation.fr/page.php?Article=163399&AG

article translation (3.00 / 13) (#121)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:50:10 AM EST

This is a translation of the article in Liberation. Note for rightist k5 contributors: it's a leftist newspaper. I've added a couple of parentheses () but otherwise it's fairly close. It's a bit long. Also, most Islamic city sectors are poor.

To wear it or not. They don't wear it and feel an aggression from the veils which prosper around them, sending them the image of teh bad Arab, bad Muslim, bad girl. The veil, Nadia, 22, studies plastic arts in Lille, she can't talk about it without having to swallow hard. "When I see a veiled girl of my age, it hurts me. Physically. In my street in Roubaix, before, neither the girls nor the mothers used to veil themselves. Teh women of my family fought, died to be able to choose their life, and here, it's the opposite". Louisa hates them: "They think it's glorious. Around me, it's the uninteresting girls that started it, unsuccessful at school, ugly. Me, I got 17 (out of 20) at the baccalaureate in French language, and the neighbours complain to my mother because they see me going out on saturday evenings". This student of 17 years was born and grew up in the XXe in Paris, among kids of all nationalities, free at least until the arrival of "islamist" families. "It's a war. There are no dead, but the views and remarks kill. In my street, the Kabyles who get together for coffee are considered like devils, and us, the girls, we don't dare sit together anymore. Under the pretext that I have an Arab face, they make remarks, even the young who can't read or write.

Zeliha, 28, is scared that one day she'll explode. "I get enraged, when I see them with the veil. I want to pull it off their faces". She has worn it, under the command of her father. "He forced us to wear it because of the neighbours". Of Turkish origin, the young woman has left Quimper to go work in Paris in an association to help immigrants. "My father would harrass us. You see the family such and such, their daughters wear the veil". My sister got an ulcer because she didn't want to. It's horrible the pressure when you live all together. You do a step, and your father is immediately informed about it." Of all the Turkish girls which lived around her in Quimper, she is the only one not to have married. "They all wear the veil. I know them well, it's got noting to do with religion, it's the husbands who force them". When she returns to Britanny, the "men of the community" talk to her: "what are these pants, where's your veil?" She just ignores them. That's the way the most determined cope.

Ouria, 21 "Without religion, well it's impossible to say, if you're an Arab, your'e obviously Muslim or else a monster to be destroyed". She actually became violent, with her veiled sister present, against old school comrades now members of teh Muslim Brotherhood. It's over. "I only frequent French guys, or Arab girls who date French guys". She grew up in a "French" quarter of Seine-St-Denis, her mother is "educated" and she encouraged her to go study. She fought for the right to discuss things "freely". The veil, "it's no, never, with my full hate, it's not an exit, not a free life". For her, the veiled girls "walk around with a sign pinned on them reading 'woman reserved for good Muslim men'". Ouria decided in school to become an "Arab cultured" French woman (think Arab-American).

Ramadan, this year, was an ordeal: "because of the tv, of Tariq Ramadan, "of the two French girls you could see everywhere (the expulsed Levy sisters), "the two martyrs" as Lila, a young retailer, puts it. During all this period, "I've seen guys come to me. A mediator of Transpole (some company) asked me if I was fasting. I said no, and he turned and went away disdainfully. I didn't exist anymore, for him", explains Nadia. Two men came to talk to her to say that they often saw her in bars. "Another man wanted to show me a converted French girl who wears the veil, so that I would talk with her. They are mixing themselves into my life. Sometimes, I feel like a prey: they can flirt with me!" With sooty colored skin, bib black eyes and long hair, she was born in France, daughter of harki family. She broke away from her community, left Roubaix, for Lille. In her new street, she is "catalogued" because "I live with a French guy, drink wine, eat cheese". At Carpentras, in the Vaucluse, Myriam, 16, assures us that "this year was hell". She prepares a degree in hairdressing, puts on makeup in hiding, cuts her hair in the hairdressing salon where she is learning her trade. Until now, she didn't have an opinion on the veil. Now, she chokes: "Every day, the bearded men and the bad/gang boys of the neighbourhood came to tell us about our morals. 'It's just a small piece of advice, you shouldn't put on makeup, you are being offensive to your family and your religion'. Even walking around with a discman is a sin!". Her parents don't know how to read, they were "too strict" with her elder sisters: "In our family, there were dramas, some ran away. Us, the two small ones, they respect us, but we mustn't make ourselves be talked about". When she gets her hairdressing degree, she'll go live "in a street where there are no Arabs".

At the other end of France, Mulhouse, on a day in Ramadan. Majda smokes in a street in city centre. "Some Arabs came to talk to me. I responded that if they aren't happy, they can just pack their bags and go home. They are like dogs to get the French visa, and then they criticise the way the French live. Me, I live in France, period." She wears a shape hugging pants, has an Alsacian-Maghreban accent, and is a naturalised Maroccan through a marriage with a Frenchman ("for those in the city, I'll go straight to hell for that"), and she has "arguments" every day. In the "rotten housing block" where she grew up, she's aggressive because they despise her. "I tell them: take off your veil, you're ridiculous. I know that you have your lipstick in your bag". Her dad, a factory worker, who raised them by the "belt buckle", is against the veil. She doesn't know why. Her aunts defend her when the neighbours (women) say bad things about her. "It's all to say: my girl, she's better than your niece, we've got a saint in the family". Those girls are (can't translate). They think that the veil equals 'I'm a virgin'. Yeah, right". She explains how the new wife of his father wears the veil since she's started losing her hair. "The veil, that's the start: afterwards, it's 'you go make dinner and shut up'". In teh street, some Turkish families have forbidden their girls, who are veiled, to frequent their girlfriends who don't wear the veil. Rizlaine, 25, says they are hypocrites. "We may not be veiled, but contrary to their girls, we don't smoke in cafes. Their families push them to bring the war to school. Why don't they just open Koranic schools or return to their country!" Still in Mulhouse, in a urban construction zone where "no christian goes anymore", according to Noria, 20. She feels "pity" for those who cover themselves. She wore the veil from 10 to 14 years old. "The truth is that the family expect this from you. They either do tell you nicely or threaten you. When you're small, your parents take you to the Islamic school, and after an eloquent speech in Arabic, it's impossible to resist. Then later, they wanted that I keep it on in school. It created problems, my parents wanted to be stronger than all of France. I refused to wear it in school, and afterwards I completely stopped wearing it. I disappointed them. I'm a straight shooter, ten times more than those who wear it and have the right to go out freely in the street."

Samia, in Avignon, was born in Algeria. "The girls there don't understand the French girls. 'We cry just to be able to take it off, we're forced and you you're not forced and you wear it'". For the last 3 months her street is full of audio cassettes, a French translation of the Koran. "I'm a whore for them because I wear low cut jeans. They put the audio tape into my bag. I throw it out. They listen to it really loud in their cars with the windows open so everyone can hear". Her moroccan sister in law has decided to put on the veil on her 7 year old daughter." I'm disgusted. We're already in deep shit in this street, and we're just going to dig deeper. How are you ever going to leave this part of town if you have the veil?" Nadia, the girl from Lille earlier, summarizes: "Since the Republic doesn't open its doors for us, we'll end up in the mosque".

Naza, a young librarian of Iranian descent, made the opposite journey. Monday, she went to the Iranian embassy for a visa. Wearing the veil, of course. "It wasn't a protection but a greater vulnerability. Men felt like they could talk to me like an inferior". In the streets of Paris, she surprises herself with her anger, the will to pull off the veils from their faces. The veil makes her anxious, paranoid. "I start to have Lepeniste ideas. If they really want to dress like that, why don't they just live in a country where it's the law."

[ Parent ]

Those girls are (can't translate). (none / 0) (#308)
by xutopia on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 02:22:10 AM EST

wannabee goodie two shoes

[ Parent ]
One of the dangers (2.60 / 5) (#135)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:47:18 PM EST

One of the big dangers in this law is that it will cause the girls to withdraw from school and go to private schools. If those private schools are, like many madrassas, ones which teach only the koran and islamic law, these women will be ill-served to function in French society; and the ultimate damage of the law will be greater than leaving things the way they are now.

[ Parent ]
Madrassas (none / 0) (#180)
by mr100percent on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:31:45 PM EST

You know, there are many of madrassas out there that do teach other things, like science, history, and math. It's just another parochial school. Lots of women enroll there, of their own free will, and they do learn other things inside the madrassa too.

Nobody makes a big deal about Hebrew schools or yeshivas, but when people hear madrassas, they suddenly act sorta funny. Sad, really.


--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

You can blame the Saudis for that [n/t] (none / 0) (#187)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 07:15:23 PM EST


---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
the word "madrasa" (none / 0) (#196)
by Edward Carter on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:18:02 PM EST

"Madrasa" is how the word "school" would translate into Arabic.  If you know someone from who grew up in an Arab country and they at least know how to read, chances are they went somewhere that everyone called "madrasa" at one point.

[ Parent ]
Yeah... (none / 1) (#197)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:21:40 PM EST

...but what I was getting at is the fact that it is the policies of the Saudi government which has given the word "Madrasa" negative connotations in the west.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Secular Education (none / 1) (#230)
by Bad Harmony on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 02:52:43 AM EST

Yeshivas in the United States have to meet state requirements for teaching secular subjects, just like other private schools. They can't just teach Torah and Talmud all day, ignoring everything else. It's not the common view today, but there are some people who think that secular education is a waste of time.

The problems occur when the government doesn't set and enforce standards for secular education in religious schools. That can result in some schools producing graduates that are expert in the Koran or Talmud, but ignorant of everything else.

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

private schools are state-controlled in France (none / 1) (#265)
by Chep on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 06:20:43 PM EST

You can decide to bring your children to a private school if you want in France, but:

 1. It costs money, of which most 2nd and 3rd gen-immigrants (especially immigrants from mostly muslim countries) lack

 2. private schools are "under contract" with the state anyway, which basically means that the curriculum is 90% the same as the public curriculum.

There are fundamentalist catholic or jewish private schools, and while they do have their area of nastiness, it's not much of a big deal. I wouldn't fear Muslim private schools at all -- if that means that female undereighteens outside of these schools can be left alone with whatever non-conspicuous attire they choose to don when entering public builings.

--

Our Constitution ... is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the greatest number.
Thucydide II, 37


[ Parent ]

More problems (2.83 / 6) (#162)
by illustir on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:05:29 PM EST

"The purpose of a photo ID is to be able to recognise someone on the photograph."

In the Netherlands several girls have been prohibited from finishing their schools. The reason for this being that their education was preparing them for jobs that require a representative appearance and good communication skills.
This being impossible I've seen enough occurences of fundamentally islamic women working in call-centers and such (something supposedly allowed).

You've heard the old cliche that 90% of all communication is non-verbal. That would mean that besides making women hide their physical selves it would make most any communication with them impossible.

The Dutch police asked the question how these types of clothing would affect public security. The woman -if you can even be sure it is a women underneath- could hide all kinds of weapons. Would you allow someone dressed that way to enter a bank?

[ Parent ]

Dangerous in a chemistry class? (none / 0) (#213)
by gzt on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 12:03:35 AM EST

I can't see how. The scarves and veils aren't necessarily loose. You're pushing it, man. There is not a single thing which this headware would prevent a woman from doing in school, with the possible exception of swimming, sports, etc.

[ Parent ]
Quite explicitly (none / 0) (#235)
by linca on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 09:23:50 AM EST

The hijab, i.e. "islamic dress", which is not only the veil, must also completely hide the shape of the womans body. i.e., it has to be loose.

[ Parent ]
It really depends... (none / 0) (#237)
by gzt on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 09:35:56 AM EST

...on which school of Islamic thought. Most of the ones I see around here would be able to participate in a chem lab, but for others it might vary.

[ Parent ]
Good article (2.00 / 5) (#105)
by slashcart on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:22:24 AM EST

I thought the article was excellent.

If the French want secularism to prevail, they could accomplish it by reiterating the equation: "secularism = freedom". This requires that they allow young women to wear what they want. If young women are being coerced into wearing veils (as is claimed), then those young women will grow up to be strong supporters of secularism, insofar as secular institutions were the only ones which did not oppress them.

Protection of Noses (none / 2) (#120)
by A synx on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:33:32 AM EST

I agree, there shouldn't be a ban on veils, or crosses for that matter if people want to carry 'em around.  What should be banned is forcing people to wear a veil, demanding people acknowledge your superiority over them, and generally doing anything that imposes significantly on other people.  In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, "My right to swing my fist stops at the end of your nose."

Starling
Who only objects if the scarf gets in the way of my nose and makes me sneeze.  :)

[ Parent ]

Virtue = Veil...WTF?! (none / 2) (#110)
by BioMalakas on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:07:11 AM EST

ok...how does wearing a stupid veil be equated to being virtuose? If wearing veils is all about virtue, then someone should tell them that showing off as being "in virtue", is not a virtue. Many questions come into mind that i would ask veil-wearing people... Who are you to decide what virtue is? Why do you have to remind us that we are not "in virtue"? Veils are meant to be worn as a distinctive decoration of virtue, i.e. promoting inequality on the assumption of virtued people being superior to the rest. Veils are evil and promote elitisism.
Arghh...transposons...can't get rid of them...
Why do you wear pants? nt (none / 1) (#111)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:10:40 AM EST

nt

[ Parent ]
Symbolism (none / 0) (#116)
by BioMalakas on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:26:44 AM EST

Wearing clothes is a function of protecting oneself from the elements of nature. There is no symbolism attached to wearing pants, as opposed to wearing a veil.
Arghh...transposons...can't get rid of them...
[ Parent ]
Even in the summer time? (none / 0) (#119)
by Work on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:31:43 AM EST

Long pants or long sleeves in summer. Theres little practical reason to do it, save for some specific instances, but I mean on a daily basis. Many do. Why?

Why, when getting married, do women wear fancy white dresses?

[ Parent ]

Symbolism vs Utility (none / 0) (#122)
by BioMalakas on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:50:55 AM EST

My guess is that there are many people, who are not able to comprehend the differences between the utility and symbolism of wearing clothes. Or in their pursuit of "group acceptance" (based on the assumption that "everyone feels the need to be a part of a social group"), believe that symbolism outweights utility.
Arghh...transposons...can't get rid of them...
[ Parent ]
Symbolism of not pants? (none / 0) (#159)
by Meatbomb on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 03:25:10 PM EST

Is there a symbolic component to not wearing pants? Just curious cause I am not wearing pants at the moment.

_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

[ Parent ]
pants (none / 0) (#154)
by joto on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:29:10 PM EST

There is no symbolism attached to wearing pants, as opposed to wearing a veil.

Strange that so many people from so many different cultures choose to wear pants, loincloths, or other things to cover the genitals then.

I've hardly studied the issue, but can you point me towards just one culture (apart from naturism and nudism), where adults walk around in the nude?

[ Parent ]

Pants (none / 0) (#155)
by BioMalakas on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:42:08 PM EST

Various abboriginal tribes... Honest, i`ve seen them on the TV.
Arghh...transposons...can't get rid of them...
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#195)
by joto on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:12:02 PM EST

You are not talking about those african tribes that tie up their dicks with a piece of rope, are you? Because that will still pretty much hide any boner, and thus doesn't completely qualify (at least in my book).

Anyway, you might be right, it's possible some tribes do it. It's still pretty rare, though...

[ Parent ]

because i live in a cold climate? (none / 0) (#134)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:45:09 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Morals (none / 2) (#178)
by mr100percent on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:27:40 PM EST

Wearing a veil is because it's considered righteous and according to Islamic morals. By that, I mean it's mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah, both sources of Islam. Men and women can't wear tight revealing clothes, both shouldn't dress in a way that imitates the opposite gender, etc. I don't see a lot of flashy veils, that's definitely not the point.

I don't like how other people (France in this example) is trying to define what "moral" is, and then trying to push it onto others. Why stop at forcing women to show their hair, why not mandate that everyone publicly show their navels? We could make a case that everyone should wear futuristic Dr. Evil clothing, as a sign of how "modern" our society is, but why must we drag others kicking and screaming into it? The Amish don't bother us.


--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

the amish (none / 1) (#219)
by Work on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 01:29:23 AM EST

they make great furniture too. I think you have an interesting point, if the amish lived in france, im curious as to how they'd be treated. Probably not so well.

[ Parent ]
Think of it this way... (none / 1) (#282)
by Pseudonym on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:02:31 PM EST

Not long ago, wearing a suit was equated to being professional, or at least considered a necessary prerequisite. It's still the case in many business cultures.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Don't they look kind of silly though? (none / 1) (#115)
by A synx on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:22:26 AM EST

If your personal conception of the practice of your religion involves the wearing of a certain type of clothing in your daily life, and you are no longer permitted to wear that clothing as a student, then in a very real and direct way you have been banned from fully practising your religion.

Just to play the devil's advocate, if your personal conception of the practice of your religion includes the sacrificial murder of heathen scum daily, then in a very real and direct way you have been banned from fully practicing your religion.  I have nothing against religious clothing, as silly as it is to wear desert garb in France, but obviously France thinks it a serious enough problem.

many moderate Muslim women no longer equate the veil with any kind of obligation but with an expression of virtue.

Meh, virtue is overrated.  It applies a dated and unhealthy rejection of intimate relationships, and an unjustified merit to chastity.  In this age of birth control technology, I have no additional respect for a chaste woman.  (Or man, but our dysfunctional society already agrees with that.)  I do have respect for a woman who causes 2 or less children to come into being, because they're helping stabilize and reduce the population.  Why is it that unchastity is considered a bad thing, but having lots of babies is considered a good thing?  Hard to have one without the other. ;)

So aside from making a chic fashion statment, is there any other reason to wear desert clothing in France?

Starling

No straw mans here (none / 1) (#174)
by mr100percent on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:20:13 PM EST

Don't strawman the issue here, there is NOTHING in Islam that says you have to murder nonbelievers. Murder is a huge sin, punishable by the death penalty.

Read the Constitution of Medina sometime, you'll see that non-Muslims have lots of rights, freedom of life, religion and property are examples.


--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

Dated and unhealthy? (none / 0) (#194)
by gzt on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:09:42 PM EST

I can't even begin to explain how you're wrong, though I think the trouble is that you take sex far too seriously.

Also, consider that in France and much of Europe, the birth rate is below the replacement level. Population control is not and will not be a problem in Europe any time soon, so why should you be bothered by a woman in Paris with 8 kids? For that matter, why should you be bothered if everybody had 8 kids? I don't see any virtue to a lower population or a stable population. Think scientifically, man! Use the power of Science!

[ Parent ]

the declining birth rate in europe (none / 0) (#218)
by Work on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 01:25:13 AM EST

heh, i've mentioned this before, and i think its worth mentioning again...

What oh what will they do when the majority of their native population is too old to work and they have to import hordes of those filthy immigrants and their 'barbaric' culture to support their crumbling social programs... its not too many years away.

[ Parent ]

it's called (none / 1) (#250)
by Battle Troll on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 12:19:25 PM EST

'The Roman Empire,' specifically, the Germanization thereof. So much for the vaunted French knowledge of history.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
yes and no (2.80 / 5) (#133)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:44:28 PM EST

The problem is in part that, say, if you don't want to wear a veil, and you live in a village where 80% of the people *do* want to wear a veil, it's easy for you to be pressured into doing it just so that you look like everyone else.

But I found it interesting that your article, while decrying the hostility to organized religion in french political culture, didn't discuss its origins. The French Revolution - and all nineteenth century liberalism, which drew much of its ideology from the revolution - was avowedly anti-clerical, because the clerics in the 18th century were just another form of nobility who used people's religious beliefs to keep them in line, and who used the revenues of the church to provide a sumptuous life for themselves and not to take care of their flock. Sweeping away the old religious order and replacing it with official secularism became a goal of the revolutionaries for that reason; and that goal remains enshrined in the French conception fo the just state.

A Modest(y) Proposal (2.60 / 5) (#150)
by Lode Runner on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 01:55:58 PM EST

France ought to call male Muslims on their argument that the veil serves not to subjugate womenfolk but rather serves to protect women from "unwanted male attention."

Here's the deal: if the veil acts to prevent sexual aggression, Muslim men ought to wear them too so that they aren't "noticed" by male homosexuals. If the veil's good enough for women, it's good enough for men in the same situation. France ought to say to them: if you don't like the idea of Bertrand Delanoe (Paris's openly gay mayor) checking you out, then don't stab him, just cover up.

We do (none / 1) (#173)
by mr100percent on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:17:17 PM EST

Actually, plenty of Muslim men DO keep their hair covered. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to keep his head covered, and encouraged all men to do the same. If you think about it, all the prophets, like Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them both, did the same.

While they don't all go out and wear turbans or kaffeyahs, people wear kufis, hoods, baseball caps, sometimes even dewrags (I don't know of any for that one). I personally don't like to leave without a kufi on.

The whole issue of gays is different, now that you mention it. Men aren't supposed to imitate women, in dress or appearance. Plucking your eyebrows (if you're a guy), is a no-no. That's why Muslim men like to grow beards, it shows that they are a man, and differentiates them from women. Also, all the prophets had beards too.

--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

Most gay men do not imitate women (nt) (none / 0) (#188)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 07:33:54 PM EST



Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
But the original post... (none / 1) (#190)
by Edward Carter on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 07:52:26 PM EST

...advocated men imitating women.

[ Parent ]
Muslim yarmulkes (none / 0) (#234)
by Lode Runner on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 05:39:31 AM EST

serve many purposes but protecting their wearers from sexual harassment isn't one of them.

Call me a feminist, because it seems to me that Muslim women are forced to attire themselves a whole lot more modestly than Muslim men. The stated reason for this is that women are targets of attention in a way that men aren't, but what to do in a situation where men are also the targets of the same attention?

[ Parent ]

there's equality (none / 0) (#243)
by mr100percent on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 11:13:37 AM EST

Ah, well, there's a difference of opinion on that. Muslim men and women have full spiritual equality, but both have been given different responsibilites.

Men are obligated to go to the mosque, they are required to work and provide for families. Women could work too, but it's not a religious obligation. You could say women are luckier, they can stay home all day and demand that the husband provide for her, there's nothing in the religion that prevents her from getting an upper hand like that. Women do have different responsibilities as well, they typically have the lion's share of raising the children.

Yes, Women are obligated to dress more modestly I guess. It's better than making everyone wear the same clothing (I know that's not what feminism is about). In general, men stare at women more than women stare at men. Both are commanded in the Qur'an do dress modest and "lower their gaze." Men may have it a little easier in what they can wear, but that's for practical reasons, like construction workers or laborers can go shirtless. So it's better to dress conservatively for either gender, but men aren't obligated to in the same way, it may not be practical. Each gender gets their own rights and responsibilities to balance it out and make up for anything you feel is slanted towards the other.

When men are the targets of the same attention, then they should do what women do and make it stop in some fashion. Muhammad (pbuh) was supposedly a very shy and modest man, and encouraged both sexes to do the same.

--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

Overlooking the real issue (1.14 / 14) (#152)
by sellison on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:10:00 PM EST

Radical muslims use the veil to disguise their operatives.

Increasingly these predators are using young women precisely because they can easily disguise themselves.

France and the other western states targetted by radical islam for destruction have every right forbid this religious disguise.

It just hi-lights the unsolvable problem between radical islam and Christianity, really: even conservative Christians don't demand women cover their face, though we do like to see them wear more clothes over their privates than atheist sex culture lures them to.

Christianity and democracy go well together, but radical islam and democracy just don't: you can't have members of a cult who want to force everyone else to believe as they do going around in disguise in this day and age!




"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush

"Veil" is the wrong word. (none / 1) (#156)
by Edward Carter on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 02:52:49 PM EST

Radical muslims use the veil to disguise their operatives.

That's an interesting theory, but this article is talking about the headscarf rather than the veil.  The veil covers the face while the headscarf doesn't.  The fact that the French call the headscarf a veil isn't relevant.

[ Parent ]

YHBT (none / 1) (#220)
by C Montgomery Burns on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 01:35:03 AM EST

You, sir, have been trolled.
--
ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD
Intelligent design
[ Parent ]
Beards should not be permitted either (2.71 / 7) (#160)
by Sambo on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 04:00:48 PM EST

As I understand it Muslims are not supposed to shave their beards either. Perhaps all French men must go shaven as well.

Maybe the melting pot idea will return. (none / 1) (#166)
by waxmop on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:28:39 PM EST

I saw a rerun of Saturday Night Live last week. The show originally aired right after 9/11, and Tracy Morgan did a commentary during Weekend Update and he said how he wasn't going to complain about racial profiling anymore. Anyway, it seems like at least in the US, the pendulum is swinging from multiculturalism and tolerance and towards a "love it or leave it" mentality. Maybe this is what is going on in France also.
--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar

hardly. (none / 2) (#217)
by Work on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 01:19:24 AM EST

Study your history of society during vietnam, or past wars.

The US is at present, far, far, more accepting of internal criticism than it ever has in its history.

[ Parent ]

tolerance and the melting pot (none / 2) (#229)
by emmons on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 02:46:50 AM EST

Multiculturalism as many academics today define it is unworkable. Hundreds of independent and unmixed cultures in a single country is simply unworkable, they must mix lest the country split into hundreds of seperate countries (or inevitably, warring factions). I most certainly hope that we move away from this idea of multiculturalism.

America is what it is today because we've taken the stronger aspects of many of the contributing cultures that have mixed together to form what is now our American culture. Subcultures within the US do poorly because they refuse to adopt the aspects of American culture that breed success: primarily, respect for education; an amazingly competitive spirit; eternal hope and optimism about the future; and confidence in the forward progress of science and technology. In American society, the primary thing that matters to one's success is one's attitude. Color most certainly does not.

Tolerance and the melting pot do not go together, but acceptance does. A culture must be assimilated into the American culture in order for anyone to benefit. One cannot normally expect to keep a foreign culture intact in America and do well economicly. An immigrant must adapt to the culture in some ways and if he does the country will come to recognize and adopt the strenths of his culture in return.

American culture is the most multicultural in the world, but in the sense that it contains the best parts of other cultures. This is our strength. We only gain when we take benifical parts of other cultures and make it part of our own, and others only benefit when they add the benifical parts of what we've put together to what they already have.

The "love it or leave it" mentality is also wrong. An immigrant needs to adopt parts of the culture, but one doesn't necessarily necessarily need to like or adopt everything. As with every culture, we have our grevious faults. It's too bad many are too arrogant to accept that.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

Really? (none / 0) (#260)
by JohnnyCannuk on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 05:28:11 PM EST

Hmm, we don't seem to be doing too bad in Canada...
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]
Canada (none / 0) (#304)
by emmons on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 12:43:18 AM EST

Canadian culture is largely American minus a lot of the bullshit. Your culture developed nearly the same way ours did (as a mixture of immigrants) and today is pretty much the same, thanks also to our countries having such close ties. Most of what I wrote applies to you guys also.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]
Re: Maybe the melting pot idea will return. (none / 2) (#246)
by tongpoo on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 11:35:06 AM EST

Comedians are always full of factual and logical flaws. I wouldn't take them too seriously.

[ Parent ]
Seeking Clarification (none / 1) (#168)
by virtualjay222 on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 05:48:27 PM EST

I am not particularly familiar with Islamic traditions, but is wearing a headscarf an actual religious practice, or a societal practice?

If it is the latter, why should another culture bend their own practices to accommodate these alien traditions?

If it were the former, I would have to say that the government has no right to interfere with the practice (freedom of religion, in my opinion, should be protected). However, should these women be expected to make concessions as well, such as removing their scarves during (as one person mentioned) a chemistry lab, where it is an obvious safety hazard?

If the women were to protest the latter proposal, then they are clearly looking to take advantage of their religion - surely Islam does not preach the ignorance of its followers. A middle ground must exist here somewhere.

---

I'm not in denial, I'm just selective about the reality I choose to accept.

-Calvin and Hobbes


Sure, thanks for asking (none / 2) (#172)
by mr100percent on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:10:28 PM EST

Wearing the headscarf is a religious practice. Depending on who you ask, it's a requirement in public (the orthodox view), or highly recommended (the equivalent of reform, I guess).

The whole issue smacks of people wanting to impose their own views on others. They go after Muslims, and ignore nuns, for example. (Don't forget that every painting of the Virgin Mary has her with a headscarf on). I don't see why there's such a push to legally pull scarves off women's heads. What comes next, making people have bare midriffs so they can feel even more "liberated"?

Islam is practical, I'm sure they can take the headscarves off during Chemistry, as long as they don't get put in the position where guys will stare at them or make them uncomfortable.

--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

that's an excellent comment (none / 1) (#211)
by martingale on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:57:59 PM EST

I quite agree with you on this, and I must admit it's great to bring up the question of nuns. Well done.

Remember, though, that the debate is not all encompassing. It is (should be) confined to certain public spheres. Nuns don't visit schools much, since they couldn't teach religion (although it is always possible that vacant rooms are leased after school, I suppose). On the other hand, in public hospitals things get tricky.

These discussions cannot be rushed.

[ Parent ]

Nuns in public (none / 0) (#242)
by mr100percent on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 11:01:56 AM EST

Hmm.. Nuns could take college classes or have to enter a government building at some point, both instances where the headscarf could be possibly banned by the French. That's just off the top of my head.
--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]
Re: Sure, thanks for asking (none / 0) (#326)
by fmazoit on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 09:08:48 AM EST

  I don't care what people wear. I don't want a mailwoman to wear a headscarf. Nuns do no deliver mail.

  The proposed law is to forbid religious signs for state employees and in school. It is not a law to ban religous signs everywhere.

[ Parent ]

changing your culture (none / 0) (#226)
by emmons on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 02:12:09 AM EST

why should another culture bend their own practices to accommodate these alien traditions?

Why should a culture that an immigrant moves into be forced to bend to accomodate the immigrant? If someone moves into a country, it's up to them to adopt to their new land, not the other way around. This is not unaccaptable in my view; if a person wants the benefits that come with living in a different country they should be willing to live in that society. After all, the culture of the country is what makes the country what it is and creates the benefits.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

Bah (1.25 / 8) (#181)
by trhurler on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:37:15 PM EST

Combine government run indoctrination centers(aka schools,) with typical French arrogance and stupidity, throw in a rising and occasionally violent Muslim population AND a reactionary segment of "traditional" French people, some accusations(mostly true, but perhaps less representative of France at large than implied,) of antisemitism, and out pops a stupendously sizable, steamy, sticky, stinking shit.

Big shock.

Maybe schools shouldn't be run by governments, since governments have restraints like this. Maybe religion(an anachronism if ever there was one, regardless of demographics,) SHOULD be suppressed. Or, quite likely, maybe the French are just idiots.

By the way, the original did read "liberty, equality, fraternity" did it not?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Ah (none / 2) (#199)
by marx on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:44:24 PM EST

Unfailingly, trhurler provides wisdom and insight from his elevated perspective to a thorny issue. I say we give the man an applause.

Clap clap.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#380)
by trhurler on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 06:12:54 PM EST

Maybe it is the fact that this "education" is compulsory. If you can't afford to go to a school your parents approve of, then you will be FORCED to attend one they may not like, and which may treat you in ways they regard as abusive, teach you things they may regard as wrong, and so on.

In short, "compulsory education" is an oxymoron, or perhaps a charitable description of indoctrination centers. Schools should not be run by governments, and certainly no school run by a government should be compulsory.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#390)
by trhurler on Fri Dec 19, 2003 at 08:15:57 PM EST

The US government institutes programs in public schools all the time that are against what the majority believes in. This isn't about being an intellectual minority.

Information is not indoctrination. Selective presentation of information can be, but is not necessarily. Selective presentation of information for political purposes(public schools are notorious for this,) IS indoctrination, no matter how you slice it.

I do not think that you are appropriately stating the principle of equal opportunity. It is a fact that people do not have perfectly equal access to education, no matter how much money they have. There are no dunces in our best schools, whether you like it or not, and there probably(hopefully!) never will be. Life is not fair. Equal treatment under the law is necessary; the expectation that everyone will have the same opportunities is a defiance of both human nature and the environment in which humans live(which is one of scarcity, fundamentally.) You can give everyone as much education as he will stomach, and still you will not have the equality you seem to want. In light of this fact, why should government lunacy be allowed to both monopolize schooling for the masses AND drive up the cost of education for everyone(and make no mistake, it does!)? I want to know how concern for the unfortunate legitimizes fucking over everyone else.

Finally, your notion that peoples' votes influence what schools teach is humorous, but totally unfounded. Schools teach whatever an elite and probably unelected group decides they should teach. In theory, school boards decide, and are elected, but in reality, they are mostly ignorant of the deeper issues of education, whereas educators are not, so those educators(who are overwhelmingly statist liberals of one variety or another,) in fact make the decisions, and school boards, save on a few political hotbutton issues, are basically rubberstamps.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
perhaps Allah smiles on Europe (1.83 / 6) (#183)
by davros4269 on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:51:08 PM EST

The question is: is the state justified in forcing it's own values onto people by prohibiting them from maintaining familial or cultural traditions, no matter what the justification for this action may be?

"The state"? This isn't Soviet Russia, but rather, a democracy. From what I understand about France and other liberal European countries, they enjoy their secularism and, to put it bluntly, freedom of sex.

Lets not forget that state secularism protects these religions - they must never fear what non born-again-Christian-faiths in the USA fear - that Uncle Sam will single out one type of belief and legislate accordingly.

We need more of this in the USA, IMO.

Lets not ignore trends either. Europe sucked for much of history, now, they are in a historical "golden age" (as far as I view them, anyway). They've solved many financial, social and political problems that have plagued them for ages. The Dark Ages are over. The number of Muslims moving into Europe is increasing. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.

While I personally would allow the girls to wear the headdress in school, I can certainly understand the alarm that their very society is under attack from that most evil and insidious of diseases, religion. I do not mean that last statement as a troll - do a historical search on religion and compare the death rates to other ailments.

Isn't France now in the 'age of reason', or have I mixed this up or heard wrong? Muslims: while I respect your belief in your faith, I find your faith itself ridiculous and silly at best (don't take it personally, I find most forms of supernatural belief silly). Please remember that if you move into sexually free, liberal countries than you, as the outsiders, must - change.

In exchange, you will get excellent education, health care, freedom, etc. You will gain 10 fold the number of freedoms that you perceive as loosing. Did you Muslims think there was not a price to pay? It's "better" In Europe in most ways than in most Muslim countries - perhaps Allah smiles on them.

Consider this - I'm not sure about France, but prostitution is legal in many western European countries - and rightly so, IMO. Yet, wearing a headdress is "immoral"? Explain how prostitution is immoral, let alone 'hiding' skin? Perhaps if Allah had wanted human faces hidden, he'd have given us more facial fur, like so many other animals.
Will you squirm when you are pecked? Quack.

nope (none / 2) (#186)
by mr100percent on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 07:09:31 PM EST

"...from that most evil and insidious of diseases, religion. I do not mean that last statement as a troll - do a historical search on religion and compare the death rates to other ailments."

Actually, the number one cause of death is disease. It's wiped out more people than all the wars we've ever had. Flu, plague, polio, smallpox, diarrhea, worms, etc. Nowadays, there are still people dying from bad drinking water and diarrhea, things we can prevent. Too bad we're wasting our time on things that kill less people, like terrorism, and even that's focused in the wrong areas. How come nobody cares about the terrorism raging for decades in South America?


--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

well yeah (none / 0) (#223)
by emmons on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 01:56:14 AM EST

I think he meant that as a bit of a joke. Religion tends to breed religious fanaticism. Once you're superstitious and want to please your choosen star in the sky that can't answer you back except by coincidences that you attribute it, it's easy to go overboard in its name. This tends to cause nasty things... like wars, insurrections, more wars, the occasional witch trial, wars, suppression of logical and scientific thought, yet more wars, supression of unpopular speech, a few more wars, violent supression of political competition, more and more wars, etc. You get the idea.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]
dunno (none / 0) (#240)
by mr100percent on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 10:56:01 AM EST

Eh, all those things you listed were faults of Christianity. Islam never had witchhunts, at least. Yes, there's been other conflicts, I know.

I dunno if it was a joke, the president of my college actually told the Chaplain to her face that religion was the source for all wars. Needless to say, she didn't appreciate the comment.

--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

no, I didn't mean it as a joke (none / 0) (#253)
by davros4269 on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 02:59:24 PM EST

But I should probably revise my statement to something less dramatic, such as if you lump all disease as one cause of death and religion as another, they'd both be in the top 3 - you get the idea.

' Lets say that religion might not be a gunshot wound to the head, but it's at least a cancer.

I honestly don't know if Islam had witch hunts or not, though I think today, the anti-science/falsifying science aspects of religion are the new evil. I tend to doubt very much that fundie Muslim schools are more "open" than Christians...
Will you squirm when you are pecked? Quack.
[ Parent ]

No Witch hunts? (none / 0) (#287)
by mcgrew on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:11:06 PM EST

Just last month some African Muslims were going to stone a woman to death for adultery. Now, as much as I personally abhor adultery (being a frequent victim of it), stoning someone is a bit harsh. Unless it's your spouse who's been adulterous.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

You're nuts. (none / 0) (#302)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 10:57:46 PM EST

Muslims regularly kill people, especially women, on the meerest suspicion of a crime. A man was convicted in "secular" Pakistan this week for blinding his fiance with acid.

Read the freaking news!

--
"Libertarian parenting? Hah! I've got merit badges for nagging and bossing, not to mention the much-coveted Order of the Imperious Order."[ Parent ]

Yeah, so? (none / 1) (#280)
by Pseudonym on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:54:56 PM EST

Religion tends to breed religious fanaticism.

As do operating system kernels and software licences. True, as far as I know, nobody has been killed over a software licence yet, though there has been more than one DDoS attack.

People by nature become fanatical, and the "better" the cause, the easier it is to become fanatical. Look at the "wars" on drugs and terror. They are both based on excellent motives (what's a better cause than saving human lives?), yet they have also resulted in every "nasty thing" in your list. (Go on, read it. It's all there.)


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
south america (none / 1) (#224)
by emmons on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 01:59:13 AM EST

How come nobody cares about the terrorism raging for decades in South America?

Because we don't live in South America. Those who live in South America care quite a bit about it, but they aren't a major force in world politics and economics, and the source of their terrorism isn't international anyhow, so they aren't able to make other nations care much about it.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

because we're Americans! (none / 0) (#254)
by davros4269 on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 03:05:07 PM EST

We only care if it affects us directly.

If the issue _does_ affect us directly, than:

"We must rid the world of this evil. We care about those people and their suffering!"

If not, then:

"There are so many problems in the world, we can't solve them all!"

Ever watch your co-workers at lunch, the ones that bother to read the paper? Unless there is an OJ type national story, they pretty much read the local section.
Will you squirm when you are pecked? Quack.
[ Parent ]

Local news is more relevant (none / 0) (#293)
by SageGaspar on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:28:23 PM EST

Which is only logical, really. I would argue that everywhere, across the globe, people are more interested in what is going on locally than what is happening thousands of miles away.

I haven't seen anything yet to convince me that Pierre Frenchman or Karl German has any greater knowledge of the world than our very own Joe Sixpack, despite many claims about America's lack of interest in world politics.

Furthermore, in the grand scheme of things, America is the upstart right now. The hot shit that's essentially got the money and the military to put any policy that they wish into effect. We don't pay as much attention to other countries because our opinion overrides theirs, to an extent.

In many ways, we're still working on getting our act together. One of these days, a country is going to surpass America in terms of power. When that happens, then we'll start worrying about how to suck up to the new guy on the scene and become more concerned with goings-on outside our nation.

[ Parent ]
you are correct (none / 0) (#356)
by davros4269 on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 03:19:45 PM EST

And at least, honest about it. I have issues with folks that think God blesses America and that we are GOOD or somehow, better.

Don't mistake my meaning, we are better than many, and _better_ in the sense of wealth and military, as you say.

But are we _better_? I think we can have it all - might which strikes fear into our enemys, wealth, etc.

How we choose our enemies is my grumble.

Further, I do disagree with you about the avarage Jane and Joe in other countries. First off, pre-college education, we suck. Study after study confirms that _they_ do know awhole lot more than we do. While we have 70 something percent litteracy, they have upper 80-90+ percent. They know their own history better than we know ours ( and they have much more to know), they know the world much better than we do. These are well understood facts, look it up.

Of course local news matters, but it shouldn't be a choice of one or the other.
Will you squirm when you are pecked? Quack.
[ Parent ]

Death rates (none / 1) (#277)
by Pseudonym on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:47:18 PM EST

I do not mean that last statement as a troll - do a historical search on religion and compare the death rates to other ailments.

I have. Far, far more people have died from politics than religion, though when church and state are not well-separated, it's easy for the uneducated mind to confuse the two.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
There are none so blind... (2.63 / 11) (#198)
by Zero Sum on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:43:02 PM EST

The French President Jacques Chirac recently antagonised the 5-million-or-so-strong Muslim population in France by commenting that: "Wearing a veil, whether we want it or not, is a sort of aggression that is difficult for us to accept."

No. He antagonised some of the 5 million. Those who would want all the rest to wear a veil or be seen as women of easy virtue. The "aggression" is directed not just at non-muslims but at those muslims who regard the veil as an anachronism. Banning the veil in schools protects your average Muslim from your fundamentalist Muslim. So your first point of contention is in grevious error.

If your personal conception of the practice of your religion involves the wearing of a certain type of clothing in your daily life, and you are no longer permitted to wear that clothing as a student, then in a very real and direct way you have been banned from fully practising your religion.

Which is perfectly appropriate in public. Religion is a private matter. When brought into the public it is indeed "aggression". Northern Ireland is an enough of an example to prove that. I'd have a different view of a sikh turban because Sikism is saying All your Gods are valid rather than saying I'm right, you are not, I am holy, special and you are not. The wearing of a veil, crucifix or yarmulkah is a statement to the rest of the world that "I am better than you. and is, in itself "hate speech". Exactly the same as wearing a swastika (After all what is wrong with a Finnish good luck symbol?).

There are some things you have completely overlooked.

(1) Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion - and the latter should come first (in my opinion).

(2) Religion, religious items and behaviours do not put anyone in a morally superior position and anyone who assumes such a position based on religion has devalued the humanity of everyone else in that society.

(3) A multicultural society is not one that contains a plethora of cultures. That is chaos. It is one where people share a common culture and are also permitted and encouraged to have other cultures where they do not come into conflict with the common culture. That is why the Rastas justifiiably loose out...

(4) The banning of the veil primarily protects Muslims from Muslims.

You have not looked at the subject deeply enough or from a truely multicultural perspective. EOS.
Zero Sum - Vescere bracis meis

... as those who shout loudest about blindness (none / 0) (#214)
by SageGaspar on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 12:18:12 AM EST

There's a heavily overquoted line from Voltaire that would go perfectly here. Something along the lines of "I would die to protect the right to express an opinion that I despise."

For one who bandies about the word "freedom" that often, you're willing to give up some very major ones over being offended.

The Muslim veil, at its worst, is not saying "I am right, you are wrong," or "I am better than you" any more than the latest trendy clothes or fast car are. Should we impose a dress code and car code on every activity in which the government is involved so that no one feels inferior?

You, personally, might despise veils, crucifixes and all other manner of religious apparel. If you're in charge of a business or the owner of a house, you should be able to regulate what your visitors can and cannot wear. However, a government telling schoolchildren that they cannot wear something that is integral to their core beliefs and causes no harm to anyone else is absurd and dangerous.

Yes, if a child is tossing their veil around the classroom, forming a veil gang or some other manner of absurdity, deal with them on a case by case basis. In that case, they are just using the veil as a tool to belittle others and cause disruption to others. But don't tell a whole nation of children that they cannot practice their chosen belief systems because of the chance a few rotten eggs might cause a stir.

[ Parent ]
Symbols, pressure and compulsion. (none / 1) (#233)
by Zero Sum on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 03:50:37 AM EST

The Muslim veil, at its worst, is not saying "I am right, you are wrong," or "I am better than you" any more than the latest trendy clothes or fast car are.

No, at its worst it compels Muslim women to wear the burqua (see AFGHANISTAN). You can argue in the face of facts but few will listen. At it's "less than worst" there is a compulsion to conform - or be despised by your religious community.

Should we impose a dress code and car code on every activity in which the government is involved so that no one feels inferior?

Dunno about where you are, but in this country there is a dress code for both drivers and cars. Certain things are prohibited. Platform shoes, thongs, highly reflective paint, over tinted windows. Again you are assumming that your imagination provides the truth. And that is the problem with religious points of view.

You, personally, might despise veils, crucifixes and all other manner of religious apparel.

I don't. Religious symbols are fine when NOT wearing them has NO impact. When it does they are evil, devil's symbols. Instruments of compulsion and oppression. I don't suppose you knew or recall the influence of a "party" pin in the Communist USSR. <sarcasm>I mean where is the harm in making gays wear a pink triangle?</sarcasm>

If you're in charge of a business or the owner of a house, you should be able to regulate what your visitors can and cannot wear.

Not in THIS country. Laws limit what you can or cannot refuse.

However, a government telling schoolchildren that they cannot wear something that is integral to their core beliefs and causes no harm to anyone else is absurd and dangerous.

But it does cause harm and that is my issue. If it caused no harm I would agree with you.

If I were less tolerant of the foolish religious opinions of others I would request that they PROVE any core belief before being to gain any form of social credit for it. Why should a church founded on fantasies (I'm not saying which church) be allowed tax concessions?

Oh and for wht it is worth I am a very religious person. I just don't believe in inflicting such beliefs on others. If I could prove them, that would be a different thing.

If you permit religious symbols and the promotion of religion then you should permit people being ridiculed for holding them. If the facts don't support it, don't proclaim in public that they do.


Zero Sum - Vescere bracis meis
[ Parent ]

Only Oppressive when Governmental (none / 1) (#245)
by SageGaspar on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 11:26:29 AM EST

Forgive me if I was unclear, but I'm not trying to discuss specifics here, these are fundamental liberties that any country should guarantee, regardless of previous law.

At its worst it coompels Muslim women to wear the burqua... At it's "less than worst" there is a compulsion to conform - or be despised by your religious community.

Some people use the veil as a tool of repression. Some people use it as a form of religious expression. The only way the former becomes a serious danger is when the government not only tolerates it, but endorses it. Otherwise, the veil is just like any other identifier for any other social group.

Gangs in certain areas across my country use red bandanas as an advertisement for membership. Does this mean any type of red bandana should be prohibited at every school across the country, even in areas where there is no gang violence?

Dunno about where you are, but in this country there is a dress code for both drivers and cars. Certain things are prohibited. Platform shoes, thongs, highly reflective paint, over tinted windows. Again you are assumming that your imagination provides the truth. And that is the problem with religious points of view.

These are all either safety concerns or things not related to driving cars specifically. That wasn't the point, anyway. The point was that some people use these material possessions as symbols of membership in a certain group and exclude everyone who doesn't have them. Does that mean expensive cars should not be allowed to be driven by school kids? If the car example doesn't make sense in your country, feel free to change it to wearing expensive, trendy clothes or any other status marker.

Religious symbols are fine when NOT wearing them has NO impact. When it does they are evil, devil's symbols. Instruments of compulsion and oppression. I don't suppose you knew or recall the influence of a "party" pin in the Communist USSR. <sarcasm>I mean where is the harm in making gays wear a pink triangle?</sarcasm>

You're confusing governmental actions with private actions. If I want to have a group and have all the gays in the group wear pink triangles, all the white people have trailer park lapel pins and every American wear a George W. Bush cap, I should be allowed to do that. If I start roving the town beating people that don't adhere to my group's private dress code, then we have a problem. That is when the government SHOULD intercede against our specific chapter of our specific group, which is why we even have government.

Actually, I'd say the biggest fear in this case was a trend towards homogenization with pressure to conform to a loss of individuality. Where have we seen that before?

Not in THIS country. Laws limit what you can or cannot refuse.

In this country, as well. And it's one thing I'm violently opposed to. A private organization should be able to exclude or permit whoever they want and follow whatever practices they want, as long as they're (a) legal, (b) non-violent and (c) performed voluntarily.

Oh and for what it is worth I am a very religious person. I just don't believe in inflicting such beliefs on others. If I could prove them, that would be a different thing.

We're having a strange debate, then, because I don't even have the slightest shred of religion :)

I agree with you, people should be able to be ridiculed about their religion, to the same extent they're able to be ridiculed about any other personal belief or value, which is how religion should be treated.

Schools should be able to, for instance, ban things that pose a serious threat to learning. If your religious beliefs call for walking around naked, then no, that should not be allowed, for sanitary reasons. If your beliefs call for screaming loudly at the top of every hour, then they should be disallowed at school as well. However, a veil doesn't pose any obstacle in and of itself.

[ Parent ]
Wow, Grandpa, you forget... (none / 0) (#283)
by mcgrew on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:04:24 PM EST

If your beliefs call for screaming loudly at the top of every hour

Then nobody would notice. Sheesh, I'm not young but I remember school...

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Wow, Grandpa, you forget... (none / 1) (#288)
by mcgrew on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:11:49 PM EST

If your beliefs call for screaming loudly at the top of every hour

Then nobody would notice. Sheesh, I'm not young but I remember school...

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Relativity of rights. They are not absolute. (none / 0) (#343)
by Zero Sum on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 10:43:48 PM EST

Forgive me if I was unclear, but I'm not trying to discuss specifics here, these are fundamental liberties that any country should guarantee, regardless of previous law.

I agree. What we are arguing about is what those fundamental liberties are (or should be).

If the car example doesn't make sense in your country, feel free to change it to wearing expensive, trendy clothes or any other status marker.

That doesn't wash either. Here school uniforms are compulsory, usually cheap and shitty ones just so there can be no discrimination within a school based on wealth or access to resources. This has it's flaws but school uniforms are, in practice, no bad thing.

If I start roving the town beating people that don't adhere to my group's private dress code, then we have a problem.

Well, we do have that problem here. It appears that sufficient people tink that girls not wearing a veil are available for sex that there have been a large number of rapes. Including (mostly in fact) rapes of minors. When they get convicted and sent to jail (difficult enough, most get away with it) their reaction and the reaction of their families seems to be "What is the problem, they were sluts anyway?". Check the Sydney newspapers if you do not believe this. So, I have a reason for my point of view (and two teenage daughters who do not wear the veil).

If your beliefs call for screaming loudly at the top of every hour, then they should be disallowed at school as well.

And interrupting classes because it time for prayer is not a disruption? Demanding (as religious freedom) that the call of the muzzein must be broadcast on the school tannoy isn't ridiculous?

However, a veil doesn't pose any obstacle in and of itself.

Yes, it does. It says to those who do not wear it that "you are a slut, legitimately rapable and of no consequence to society". Simply because the wearing of a veil is a claim to the opposite. Everyone needs to get it through their heads that there are no "chosen people" despite the fact that numerous groups think they are... It is simply too bloody divisive.

I do not feel that anything that makes a public statement that "I/We are better than you and yours is legitimate". It is hate speech and the ostentasious wearing of a veil is preciely that, but not just against Non-Muslims even more strongly against liberal Muslims who are the ones we should be encouraging, not the reactionary ones. There have been many muslims living in this coutry for a long time (almost as long as we have been a country) and there were never any problems and not much discrimination because all conformed to the common culture (although the poms seem totake the longest to learn). The problems only started to arise when fundamentals (I think that work more appropriate than fumdamentalist) try to claim their splinter cultures should override the common culture. From a personal point of view, I'm pissed off I have to wear a T-shirt in Yoga class but the women complain if I don't. Thay might not be the case if I looked like Arnie used to look, but they don't like to see the bare chest of a man in his fifties. I think it is bloody ridiculous and it does impinge on my freedom. However, common culture, that which holds society together MUST override or you won't have a country but a state of chaos (like Iraq and Afghanistan). So my "right to bare chest" comes second as a survival issue for all of us. Same with the veil.


Zero Sum - Vescere bracis meis
[ Parent ]

Religion is grown into them when they can't defend (none / 0) (#352)
by slaida1 on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 08:22:17 AM EST

"But don't tell a whole nation of children that they cannot practice their chosen belief systems because of the chance a few rotten eggs might cause a stir."

Children don't choose their religion, it's forced to them. Everything that their parents teach them is forced, be it tested theories of science or irrational beliefs or first-hand experiences. This whole subject seems nicely boil down to the question of Is it okay to impose untested theories to children?

I think it's not. Let them choose after they've grown up, we specifically don't want them to start smoking either because it (like religious lifestyle and customs) is very addictive when started at young age.

[ Parent ]

Religion as a pacifier (none / 0) (#366)
by SageGaspar on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 12:47:48 AM EST

To be honest with you, initially I instinctively wanted to disagree on a fundamental level. Parents have the right to teach their children what they want to teach them, the way they want to teach it to them. If parents want to teach their kids that they should hate all Koreans or something equally silly, as long as they're not advocating accosting Koreans on the street, that's regrettable, but a right that those parents have. Governments should never, ever cross the line into regulating that.

However, on the level of making personal decisions, I do think that religion should be presented in terms of options as opposed to truths. In many ways, parents are tempted to use religion to explain away and obscure difficult-to-deal-with situations in a child's life. When that child finally leaves the household and decides upon his own belief system, the loss of that utter faith in religion is a void that becomes very difficult to fill. Young adulthood should be a time for fleshing out your beliefs and cementing your ideals, not reshaping your entire world view.

[ Parent ]
Freedom of religion (none / 0) (#222)
by emmons on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 01:44:36 AM EST

Freedom of religion includes the right to not have one's own religion, it does not guarantee that one will not be exposed to the religions and religious practices of others. It means that religion cannot be forced upon you or practiced with your (public) money, but it cannot be guaranteed that you won't see others being religious. Protection from exposure to other religions (ie freedom from religion) is not part of freedom of religion, it is a seperate idea and in the presence of freedom of speech is impossible to guarantee.

A society can have freedom of religion and freedom of speech, or it can have freedom from religion. Not both.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

Freedom from religion. (none / 0) (#232)
by Zero Sum on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 03:24:20 AM EST

A society can have freedom of religion and freedom of speech, or it can have freedom from religion. Not both.

It is my belief that you are incorrect in this. Now I don't actually know where you come from, but most people here are Americans. So, please allow me to assume that you are. In which case you need to check the documents of your founding fathers. They were far more concerned with freedom from religion than freedom of religion. Freedom of religion is a consequence of feedom from religion.
Zero Sum - Vescere bracis meis
[ Parent ]

Incorrect (none / 0) (#251)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 12:47:53 PM EST

In which case you need to check the documents of your founding fathers. They were far more concerned with freedom from religion than freedom of religion.

Care to substantiate this? Hint: Jefferson is not a proxy for all of the so-called founding fathers.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Ignoramus (none / 2) (#279)
by mcgrew on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:54:38 PM EST

Odd how "conservatives" seem so ignorant of the documents they purport to want to conserve:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

In short, I have the right to pray in school, but nobody has the right to MAKE me pray in school, either. The Constitution is an excersize in libertarianism, which the authoritarians have nearly wiped out since the Civil War.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Contradiction. (none / 0) (#345)
by Zero Sum on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 11:01:11 PM EST

Freedom of religion includes the right to not have one's own religion...

You claim otherwise in your closing sentence

Look, freedom of religion (which does include freedom to not be religious) must also allow degrees of religion. When a fundamentalist says you are not a christion because you do not wear a crucifix or because you are not a Catholic (or Protestant or Mormon or Mason) they are deneying religious freedom to the person the are calling a non or bad christian. The ostentacious (which is what we are talking about) display of any religion in public does just that.

There are degrees... A billboard that advertises a revival is fine, one that clains all good people will attend is not.


Zero Sum - Vescere bracis meis
[ Parent ]

Free speech (none / 0) (#369)
by emmons on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 03:42:16 AM EST

You claim otherwise in your closing sentence

How so?

Free speech supersedes freedom of religion. A person has the right to say whatever he wants, so long as his saying it doesn't cause a public danger like yelling fire in a crowded theater. If my ability to speak about religion is diminished, I have lost the right to free speech.

Freedom of religion is the freedom to believe and practice your own religion (or lack thereof) however you see fit. It's the freedom to act as you please in regards to religion. Seeing displays of religion in public doesn't force you to believe anything. Exposure to religion is not the same as believing what you're exposed to.

If I walk down the street yelling "all ye who do not believe in the sacred right of the north star shall be damned for eternity," I have not violated anyone's rights. I have exercised my right to free speech and I'm not harming anyone. You may be annoyed by my action, but I haven't forced you to believe anything and hence haven't violated your freedom of choosing your religion. I haven't used public resources to push my belief onto anyone, just the power of my own voice which is protected by free speech.

Again, free speech supersedes freedom of religion.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

I don't see that (none / 0) (#264)
by qpt on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 06:01:04 PM EST

State-enforced freedom from witnessing religious expression is even desirable.

I suppose some people are annoyed by visible symbols of religion, but various people get annoyed about most everything.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

No dissent (none / 0) (#344)
by Zero Sum on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 10:52:06 PM EST

State-enforced freedom from witnessing religious expression is even desirable.

I agree. I don't think the Swastika should be banned. It has a long and beneficient history and one short moment of infamy. When it is worn to glorify that infamy, well, that is a seperate matter (and intent is hard to prove).

I suppose some people are annoyed by visible symbols of religion, but various people get annoyed about most everything.

I'm not against the display of religious symbols per se, I am against the abuse of that display. Chirac had a point and a good one but did not express it well - hence the controvesy.


Zero Sum - Vescere bracis meis
[ Parent ]

I had the same experience (2.89 / 28) (#202)
by evanp on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 08:59:36 PM EST

This is a funny story, because I had a similar experience when my wife and I were living in the Amazon.

Our two daughters were enrolled in the local public high school, but we were disappointed when they were sent home on their first day by the principal. He asked us to come in and talk.

"I suppose you know why your daughters were sent home?" he said, when we arrived in his office.

"No! Did they do something wrong?"

"Not exactly. It's about the way they're dressed. They're not topless, like all the other girls in class."

My wife and I were a little nonplussed. "Uh... well, in our culture, women don't go around topless, usually. It's kinda funny, but if it's OK with you, we think the girls would be more comfortable with their tops on."

"Please! Your children can't come to school wearing blouses and bras! It's disruptive in class. It's also a sign of political infiltration -- it makes the children here uncomfortable to see gringos around."

"So, are our children not welcome in school here?"

"No, of course not! We welcome children of all races, creeds, and colors. We just ask that your girls come to school with their nipples showing, like everyone else."

"Well... I don't think the girls would go for it. I don't think we'd like it that much, either."

The principal got mad. "This is nonsense!" he said, slamming his hand on the table. "These 'bras' your girls wear are a symbol of the repression your culture has wreaked on women from time immemorial. Women in your country are fighting for their rights not to wear these uncomfortable shackles! Look!"

He happened to have a whole dossier of pictures of protesting women, burning piles of bras in garbage cans. He also had some choice articles by Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug that really cut into the whole bra concept.

"So, uh, that's true, there are a lot of people in our country who are against wearing these things. And if our girls don't want to wear bras when they go to college, that's fine. If they don't want to wear shirts, too, that'll be their problem. But we'd kind of like to let the girls grow up and decide for themselves."

"You people and your rigid fundamentalism! You need to get into the modern ages and get naked!"

He sighed. "Well, it looks like there's no way to convince you people to abandon your antiquated, oppressive beliefs. But, the Amazon is a modern place, tolerant of even your kind of ridiculous superstition. So, I'm prepared to offer a compromise."

Finally! we thought. He reached into his desk and pulled out two studded black leather peekaboo bras, with holes to make the nipples stick out. "I believe this form of dress is customary in your country, correct?"

"Uh, not really..."

"Well, it's going to have to do. Your girls can wear these during most of the day, except for gym class and home room. And, of course, if any teacher asks them to take them off, or if any of the other children become upset."

I tried one last time. "Listen, I don't think this is going to work for us. We think the girls should just wear what they want to wear. Isn't that what being modern is all about?"

He threw up his hands in disgust. "Typical! We go to all this trouble to include your kind, and you give us this kind of attitude. It's always more more more. How much does our school have to compromise in telling your children what they can and cannot wear?"

fer real?! ;-P (nt) (none / 2) (#268)
by circletimessquare on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 06:58:27 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
*shrug*, when in Rome... (none / 1) (#337)
by Merc on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 04:25:42 PM EST

Somehow, I have my doubts that's a true story. I can't quite place my finger on what it is... but there's something about it.

Anyhow, if I were in a similar situation, I'd either adapt to the local culture, or go elsewhere. People in the West really are prudish about nipples. On the other hand, when I have been to very religious places, I have tried to be respectful of their beliefs and not do anything to offend them, even if I thought it was silly.



[ Parent ]
Rome made no claim to modern Western values. (none / 0) (#342)
by Edward Carter on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 08:54:03 PM EST

Ancient Rome, that is.  Which is what the saying "When in Rome..." refers to.

The point is that it is absolutely laughable for the Amazonians to claim that they are tolerant of all races, creeds, and colors in this hypothetical situation.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't France make claims along the lines of being tolerant of all races, creeds, and colors?

[ Parent ]

Touché. That's a great example (none / 0) (#353)
by slaida1 on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 08:43:22 AM EST

Really shows us with our own terms what this is about. I think few considers that angle but it's excactly the angle we're talking about scarfs and other "symbols".

Who decides what is a religious symbol and what isn't and if it's rather cultural symbol without any religious message? Should all norms about dressing and garments be banned and require unique styles everywhere? What about suits? Are they required symbols of something and as such should be banned?

Why is nudity banned in western societies anyway, isn't it purely irrational relic from the times when we were under direct influence of christian church? Should we outlaw all dresscodes altogether and make personal styles/nudity legal where it applies?

"Don't sit here without pants, wiping your butt better won't help. No pants, no sitting." Hehheh.

[ Parent ]

Correction (3.00 / 4) (#204)
by chbm on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 09:02:45 PM EST

'a secular country which does not tolerate any sign of religious expression in public places' should read 'a secular country which does not tolerate any sign of ostentious religious expression in public places' as that is the official declaration. From the general flow of the article I think you left this out on purpose not by mistake.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
First Amendment (1.75 / 4) (#231)
by anaesthetica on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 03:20:24 AM EST

It makes me kinda glad that we still have some semblance of protection against the government in the practice of our religions in the US.

—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


Re: First Amendment (none / 3) (#247)
by tongpoo on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 11:39:21 AM EST

The US Government shoves their monotheistic pledge of allegiance onto others, so religious belief isn't really protected here.

[ Parent ]
Pledge = Nihilism!!!~~!~!@ (none / 0) (#267)
by anaesthetica on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 06:39:24 PM EST

Not quite the same thing as removing a girl from school for wearing a head covering. You can't be removed from school for not saying "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance. I don't think you can be removed from school for not saying the pledge in its entirety either. And you certainly can't be censured for changing it to "Under Goddess" or "Under Gods". It is pretty totalitarian and fascist to make everyone in America march around saying the Pledge of Allegiance, reinforcing the patriarchal oppressive monotheistic religious establishment. Polytheists really can't practice their religion in this kind of atmosphere. My best friend in high school decided to give up being a wiccan and instead just adopted nihilism. DAMN YOU PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE!

—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
Ah, but... (none / 1) (#276)
by Pseudonym on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:44:58 PM EST

Suppose you were part of a religion that had strict rules against idolatory. Could you be removed from school for refusing to pledge allegiance to the flag?

I'm not a USian, so I'm curious about this. Also, as a matter of interest, what do non-US citizens do during pledge time?


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Never, ever forced (none / 1) (#284)
by SageGaspar on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:09:34 PM EST

You are absolutely never forced to say the pledge of allegiance at a public school in America. If someone tries to make you, you have an excellent case in court.

I had a number of teachers in high school that were from Canada and other regions of the world, they would always just continue on with whatever work they were doing when others did the pledge of allegiance. As a matter of fact, at least half of the students always did as well.

[ Parent ]
Thanks (none / 0) (#291)
by Pseudonym on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:25:29 PM EST

Thanks for the response. The whole pledge thing makes more sense now. Breech vs observance and all that.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Engels v. Vitale (none / 1) (#296)
by mmsmatt on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 09:16:01 PM EST

Someone correct me if I am wrong with the name there, but I know there was a case heard before the Supreme Court about Jehovah's Witnesses being forced to say the Pledge. The Court ruled in their favor: a school system cannot punish students for abstaining from the Pledge of Alleigance.

[ Parent ]
I prefer... (none / 2) (#317)
by warrax on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 06:45:02 AM EST

"Under Canada, above Mexico". (Courtesy of Mr. Robin Williams).

-- "Guns don't kill people. I kill people."
[ Parent ]
Religious Intolerance (none / 3) (#252)
by coward anonymous on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 01:35:01 PM EST

It is a problem of violating normative dress codes.

For any group of people there are established codes of conduct for interaction. They include everything from posture, body language, language, tone of voice and protocol to clothing. As such, there is a commonly accepted dress code in French schools that these Muslim girls are seeking to consipcuously disrupt. How is wearing a veil any different from other students choosing to exercise their right to nudity and coming to school in a loin cloth or in nothing at all?
The majority are used to a certain range of clothing and the veil or nudity, justly or unjustly, are not in that range. As a violation of accepted norms the majority is happy with, the veil is threatening.
Of course, in schools, as everywhere else, norms change as rebel teens constantly seek to break established norms and inadvertantly create new ones. However, these girls are different in that they excuse their disruptive behavior and seek extraordinary justification for their deeds by citing pretty religious reasons. Sadly, many people blindly believe that religion trumps all other considerations - respecting the majority's established traditions, for example.

Tolerance is not a one way street where the majority has to accept every whim of every minority. Tolerance also means the minority accepting the norms of the majority when interacting with it.

In a nutshell, when in Rome do as the Romans do.


Answered your own question (none / 0) (#274)
by Pseudonym on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:42:21 PM EST

How is wearing a veil any different from other students choosing to exercise their right to nudity and coming to school in a loin cloth or in nothing at all?

Here's where you answered the question:

Sadly, many people blindly believe that religion trumps all other considerations - respecting the majority's established traditions, for example.

Wearing a veil is part of the "majority's established traditions" in the Islamic world. Nudity is not, for any religion that I'm aware of. If it happened that there was one, and a student wanted to exercise this established tradition in a French school, we'd deal with that on a case-by-case basis.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Err, they're not *in* the Islamic world [nt] (none / 1) (#290)
by esrever on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:23:01 PM EST



Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]
True (none / 0) (#294)
by Pseudonym on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:32:59 PM EST

Like the article said, they're in a the world of state-enforced atheism. I guess this is probably therefore acceptable.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
wow (2.14 / 7) (#257)
by el_guapo on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 04:17:12 PM EST

for once the people are discriminating against religion and not the other way around!?!? i'll TAKE it! :-P /me gets ready to get modded down as a troll
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
-1 Fiction. How did this make it past editing?? (2.66 / 6) (#258)
by esrever on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 04:46:54 PM EST

"""
Women have worn veils for roughly three thousand years, with the first laws dating to the reign of the Assyrian king Phalazar (1112-1047 BC). The only women expressly excluded from this ruling were prostitutes, who could walk around without a veil. [3] The oppressive nature of this ruling is lamentable, but hidden behind it is a strong moral aspect which, to put it simply, says that virtuous Muslim women wear veils
"""

Muslim women didn't exist 3000 years ago.  Arguably what we would now call Arab women did, but that is a world of difference away.

Audit NTFS permissions on Windows

Are you a troll? (none / 1) (#259)
by Edward Carter on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 05:15:17 PM EST

Muslim women aren't the only ones who have ever covered themselves.

[ Parent ]
Are you a moron? (2.25 / 4) (#262)
by esrever on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 05:50:20 PM EST

Read more clearly this time:
The quote in question from the article is very clear.  The author is trying to draw a line to the fact that Muslim women wear veils to demonstrate their 'virtuous' -ness (ie, making veils a 'good thing').  The example he uses, however, does not support this, as the example that he uses (from 3000 years ago) was from a time when Muslim women didn't exist.  The article isn't about 'women in general', it is about two Muslim women, and the author puts forward various arguments to try and support their position.  This one I picked on is patently false.  Also known as a 'red herring'.  QED.

Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]
uhh (none / 0) (#275)
by Edward Carter on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:43:13 PM EST

The veil being used by Muslim women to demonstrate their virtue is only a side point, not central to the article.  Both that and the ancient Assyrian ruling concerning the veil are just background information.

[ Parent ]
Ahh, now I understand... (none / 1) (#285)
by esrever on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:09:54 PM EST

...You are the troll.  The comment I highlighted specifically linked the Assyrian ruling to demonstrate the veil being virtuous for Muslim women.  Regardless of whether this was 'central' to the article or not, it was intended by the author to be a supporting argument and as such needs to be able to withstand critical analysis.  It doesn't, in a fairly spectacular manner.  Hence the original post: "how did this get past editting?"

Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]
What bullshit!!! (1.60 / 5) (#261)
by Pig Hogger on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 05:30:05 PM EST

The French have been so much SCREWED by religion that they have taken steps to insure that it SHALL NEVER EVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

This is why the displaying of religious symbols within PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS is higly frowned-upon.
--

Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing it's idiot

errr, without wanting to support the article... (none / 0) (#263)
by esrever on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 05:51:57 PM EST

...in what manner exactly have they been screwed?

Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]
They have been screwed... (none / 1) (#271)
by Pig Hogger on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:21:48 PM EST

... by the scatholic priests telling them "you have to be poor. Rich people go to hell". So, no one made any move to get rich, living miserable lifes, while the rich and nobility enjoyed the absence of competition and screwed the hell out of the people.
--

Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing it's idiot
[ Parent ]

Catholic priests (none / 0) (#328)
by o reor on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 11:10:31 AM EST

also told them: "You have to accept your overlords. Revolting against your masters is a deadly sin. You have to remain ignorant. Curiosity will lead you to Hell. You have to be dirty (no kidding! A woman who bathed once a day was actually found guilty of witchcrafting on the only charge that she did wash herself too often !). You have to breed like rabbits. That makes cheap cannon fodder for our masters; besides, if you didn't bring up so many children, you might live better off and try to educate them, and we certainly don't need educated children to come up and question our intellectual superiority." And so on.

[ Parent ]
Obligatory quote for the net.oldbies (none / 1) (#273)
by Pseudonym on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:36:29 PM EST

UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT information is ENCOURAGED!


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
the veil is weird and freighted with symbolism (none / 3) (#269)
by circletimessquare on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:10:50 PM EST

anti-veil types will contend that the veil is a symbol of a woman's subservience, by anonymizing her and removing her face from society

pro-veil types will contend the veil elevates woman out of being defined in men's eyes solely on the sexual aspects of their body and face (full red lips, eyes, etc.)

weird

both camps are pointing to wearing a veil/ not wearing a veil as empowering to women

totally bizarre!?

but my contention is that the veil is completely artificial

we are as god/ allah/ darwin created us, so what's with hiding a woman? men can deal with women on an intellectual basis without being hump-happy in the head... well, most of the time anyways... it's not pornography for a woman's body to be seen as it was created, no?

we are uncomfortable with ourselves, and a veil to me is nothing more than a symbol of our own insecurity with each other. the veil to me represents a surrender to the power of sexuality, that somehow our own sexuality overpowers our sense of reason, that we need to hide a woman's face and body in order to be able to talk to her without sexual considerations overpowering the situation.

this surrender is wrong. reason always wins. off with the veil i say.

when men AND women are comfortable with women's bodies without being stupidly hump happy, then we have truly elevated ourselves into a better mode of existence. the veil should not be there, to hide the woman's body from civil public existence because it is somehow too powerful to weak men's minds? bullshit.

indeed, some men really are nothing more than hump happy morons. so if a man can't control himself around women in public, the solution is not to hide the women so he calms down, the solution is to get rid of the moron. let us do away with the morons from public life, not women's bodies from public life.

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

You're missing the point ... (none / 0) (#270)
by Alienated Buddha on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:16:57 PM EST

One should still have a choice whether to wear the veil or not. Just like a person who doesn't wear revealing clothing by choice.

[ Parent ]
i went beyond your point, i didn't miss it (none / 0) (#272)
by circletimessquare on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 07:31:40 PM EST

choice on whether or not a veil can or should be worn was not what i was addressing.

i was addressing the wisdom of wearing a veil or not.

a woman can wear a veil if she chooses, but i freely say to her that she is extenuating the subservience of her face and body to the power of moronic men (as opposed to nonmoronic men who can comfortably accept a woman's body and face in public life).

i say that she should not wear a veil because the power of moronic men should not define her life... the reverse should happen: the rights of women to be comfortable with their bodies and faces in public life should define and limit the moronic men's lives instead.

any men who can not deal with a woman's face or body in public should be punished: they have weak minds, they represent a threat to the peace. they represent a threat to us normal men who can deal wiht women comfortably.

and so to me, a woman wearing a veil represents nothing but a surrender of her right to exist as god/ allah/ darwin created her in public. this is wrong. wearing a veil is a symbol of shame, that she is ashamed of showing her body. to me a woman who wears a veil has fully internalized and accepted the concept of shame about her body. this is wrong.

a woman should be empowered about her face and body, she should be proud of it. she is as god/ allah/ darwin created her, there is nothing shameful about how she looks in the least. only moronic men whose sense of reason is overpowered by hump happiness see shame in the situation. but they are the ones who should feel shame, not the women.

by saying a woman can or should wear a veil, we are complicit in her sense of shame. we are saying to her that her body and face are so powerful that they turn normal men into idiots, so she should hide her face/ body.

nonsense.

the vast majority of men can see a woman's face/ body in public and deal with her reasonably. it is the moronic men who should be punished and hidden from public life, not the women. we benefit from female beauty by allowing it in public life. women benefit, men benefit. more beauty in public life is always a good thing. women are beautiful. for women to be comfortable to move about publicly as god/ allah/ darwin created her without fear of reprisal and shame is the goal here.

let her choose as she wants about wearing a veil, but i shall condemn her for internalizing shame placed on her by moronic men, or applaud her empowerment and self-certainty and pride in her face and body, whichever she chooses.

i like women damnit, and i and the vast majority of normal men think as me. we should fight the stupider members of our sex who threaten our women's right to feel comfortable with themselves in public.

so to hell with the fucking veil.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

In other words: (none / 1) (#286)
by mcc on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:10:22 PM EST

You ignored the point and changed the subject.

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]
no (none / 0) (#292)
by circletimessquare on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:27:32 PM EST

i addressed the subject matter

you changed the subject matter: you made me the subject matter, instead of veils

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

GIVE US A HUG!!! (none / 0) (#364)
by Goggs on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 10:36:30 PM EST

Go on! You know you want to!

-----== This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
[ Parent ]

Completely missed the point (none / 2) (#297)
by melia on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 09:27:03 PM EST

a woman can wear a veil if she chooses, but i freely say to her that she is extenuating the subservience of her face and body to the power of moronic men (as opposed to nonmoronic men who can comfortably accept a woman's body and face in public life).

Don't you see what you're doing? What you're saying is exactly the same as saying "She's wearing a short skirt, so she must be trying to please men".

Pretty sexist, I think, to say that the "meaning" of a woman's clothing is defined by men. She cannot choose to wear clothing she considers makes herself "demure" or "virtuous" without being condemned by you.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

i didn't miss anything, you're on crack (none / 1) (#301)
by circletimessquare on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 10:40:54 PM EST

you are employing some circuitous logic there friend

say everything you said about my argument is correct

so what the fuck is wearing a veil all about then in your eyes? why is it ever important to wear a veil for any woman? what are the reasons those who say you should wear a veil saying?

HELLO!? THEY ARE GUILTY OF THINKING OF WOMEN THE WAY YOU SAY I AM GUILTY OF THINKING OF THEM

how can you condemn me for my opinion and the way i justify it, when i am saying that men should aspire to appreciating women as people without succumbing to thinking about women sexually, in public civil life?

you can only condemn my pov if you live in some lalaland fantasy world where men NEVER think about women sexually

i am sexist? because i admit sexual thinking about women exists?

i am sexist? because i am appealing to men to think about women in a nonsexual manner in public life?

what the fuck are you smoking?

if a woman wears a short skirt in public, men will tend to think about her more sexually- duh! NO FUCKING SHIT

i am asking men to be polite in civic public life towards women, regardless of what she wears: simple personal accountability, no matter what a woman wears in front of you, YOU ARE STILL RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS. no matter what she wears, it does not excuse anything bad you do.

but you? you apparently are asking men to not be men

and meanwhile as you attack me, there are weak men and shameful women who are saying the solution to the problem at hand- the public display of women's bodies and faces, is to hide women's faces and bodies in public completely, to make women completely anonymous in public life

THAT is WRONG

i think they are sexist, and i think you're just an idiot, because you obviously know nothing about male thinking and sexuality

the solution is to not turn men into something men can never be, by the very definition of what a man is

look: if a woman is raped, and the rapist is put on trial, there are men and women on the jury who will forgive the rapist because "look what she was wearing, that short skirt"

i am the fucking dingbat who is saying "no, he raped her, the rapist is to blame, even if she was nude and bent over in front of his face: personal accountability, of course he is a man, he has sexual thoughts, but if he acts on his thoughts, it is his responsiblity to make sure that she is receptive to him"

that is completely in line with everything i have said so far

but you?

you apparently are saying that "he raped her, he is guilty, because he thinks of women in a sexual manner"

hello, cluebat: MEN THINK OF WOMEN IN A SEXUAL MANNER

A LOT

has the thought perhaps dawned on you before?! LOL

i am asking men to be responsible

you are asking men to be eunuchs

you are a moron, you do not advance the discussion in the least, except to reveal that perhaps you are not very aware of how human sexuality works

you=clueless


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Freeing women from freedom of choice? (none / 0) (#305)
by SageGaspar on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 01:22:11 AM EST

There's also a small matter of millennia of tradition. No one should have the right to force someone to wear a veil, but if they want to of their own volition, then no one should have the right to tell them not to (barring some exceptional circumstances, which do not include being in a classroom).

By making decisions for people (i.e., Muslim women or women in general) that they would not choose for themselves, you're not empowering them, but taking away one of their freedoms.

[ Parent ]
missing reality (none / 0) (#330)
by circletimessquare on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 11:19:10 AM EST

the reality is that there are parts of the world where women don't have a choice, they have to wear the veil, whether by law or exteme social compulsion supported by roaming bigots bent on violence who think they are supporting god's will

so take your words and criticize those areas, not me, those areas of the world represent more threat to your pov than i do


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I don't know, eh. (none / 0) (#324)
by melia on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 08:33:47 AM EST

Oh dear. You're a bit angry, defensive maybe.

so what the fuck is wearing a veil all about then in your eyes? why is it ever important to wear a veil for any woman? what are the reasons those who say you should wear a veil saying?

Well there you go you see, this is why I say you've missed the point. Because it shouldn't matter what you or I think. Don't you get it? It's completely her choice, what the hell has it got to do with what I say the reason is?

Remember that you're saying that a woman should dress not just with reference to your opinion, but to the opinion of men as a whole and that's why you're being sexist rather than just... prejudiced.

how can you condemn me for my opinion and the way i justify it, when i am saying that men should aspire to appreciating women as people without succumbing to thinking about women sexually, in public civil life?

Because the whole message of your post is that you condemn women who wear veils because obviously, if a muslim is wearing a veil she's being subservient to men. Well, what's it got to do with you? It's her choice.

i am the fucking dingbat who is saying "no, he raped her, the rapist is to blame, even if she was nude and bent over in front of his face: personal accountability, of course he is a man, he has sexual thoughts, but if he acts on his thoughts, it is his responsiblity to make sure that she is receptive to him"

Analogous to what you've said previously, you will say all this but then add that you also condemn her for wearing a short skirt because it makes her look like a slut. Just as you will condemn a muslim woman for wearing a veil, because you think everything women do must have some sort of connection to the theories, opinions and thoughts of you, and men.

i am asking men to be responsible you are asking men to be eunuchs

Now I have no idea where this has come from. I'm not asking men to be anything.

What i'm actually asking is why does a woman's choice of clothing have anything to do with men? What is the consequence of keeping a woman behind a veil? It is to force her to consider what "men/society will think" when she goes out of the house. You seek to do exactly the same. When I go out of the house, I shouldn't have to worry about condemnation from those for or against the veil.

you are a moron, you do not advance the discussion in the least, except to reveal that perhaps you are not very aware of how human sexuality works

Cheers for advancing the discussion there. Well done. A+ for you.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

blah blah blah (none / 0) (#331)
by circletimessquare on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 11:22:57 AM EST

if you are hellbent on arguing, you win

if you read my fucking words you see i am quite progressive and liberal in my opinons

you seem hellbent on skewering me because i take male opion into account in women's dress

hey genius: men's opions in how women dress matter a teensy weensy bit in reality, just maybe

that is why we are fukcing talking about the veil here at all: what do you think the source of the fucking veil is?

so go ahead and skewer me all you want, i'm in reality, and you condemn me for reasons i am more progressive on than those who i am really arguing against: those who condone or promote the veil

i am arguing with them, i am done arguing with the likes of you, since you have your head firmly planted in the ass of unreality: your pov doesn't matter, except as a launching point for banging your head against my pov, which if you simply thought for a millisecond and blinked, you would see that those who promote the veil are more an enemy of your pov than i ever am

fucking genius you are

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Okey-dokey. (none / 0) (#354)
by melia on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 12:30:13 PM EST

so go ahead and skewer me all you want, i'm in reality, and you condemn me for reasons i am more progressive on than those who i am really arguing against: those who condone or promote the veil

You still don't see how condemning the veil is equally as bad as condoning it? Well fine, I will stop "banging my head" against your pov since you are obviously incapable of changing it.

if you read my fucking words you see i am quite progressive and liberal in my opinons

Well that's why you get on my tits, because I really don't think you're "progressive" or "liberal", just a quite pretentious fellow who makes facile comments without thinking them through.

Of course, the line breaks consistently annoy me too. Oh, so do the insults, obscenities and condescending attitude. (the last of which I hope I have managed to match)
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

i am pretentious and i do make facile comments (none / 0) (#360)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 09:07:42 PM EST

and apparently, to you, loudmouthed pretentious me bothers you more than the straight up sexists and bigots who want to wrap you up and keep you hidden and anonymous in the world

you

are

a

moron

enough formatting errors and insults for you there?

stupid moron


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I cannot resist (none / 0) (#361)
by melia on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 09:58:25 PM EST

I will point out, once again, that you are sexist, you're just in denial, because you believe you are not "straight up" sexist. They're condeming women for not wearing a veil, you're condemning women for wearing one. Who're more sexist? Neither one, you're both as equally bad. Just because they're in greater number in another part of the globe does not make them any more (or less) sexist. You should stop trying to tell women what to do.

Nice to see you've kept your dignity. I like to see your insults, it lets me know you know i'm right.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

insults mean your right? (none / 0) (#362)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 10:27:30 PM EST

why am i arguing you with logic like that?

please parse this amazing logical conundrum for me, oh great wise one, for i am humble before thy great logic:

man who wishes woman to be in veil is a...

man who wishes woman to be as she was created is a...

i am not talking naked, i am talking about everyday basic garb necessary for the temperature at hand, i have been pretty clear on that point in all my posts

the veil is explicitly meant to make woman anonymous in society

do you deny this definition of what the veil is for? do you have any idea what the relgious symbolism and meaning and context of veil wearing is?

it is meant to hide woman's sexual identity, to deny them their sexual life

why are you arguing me with me on that point? what do you hope to gain? why are you arguing with me when there are men out there who wish you to shut up and disappear?

i am arguing with you because i consider you my equal

there are men out there who just want you to shut up disappear and mind your place, they would not argue with you, they would smile at you and ignore you, because you were being "uppity" or out of your place

so i say it again: you are a moron!

moron moron moron

if i say it 3x more does that make you 3x more right?

LOL

i am not sexist

you are stupid and have no idea of what kind of evil men are out there and what they think of you and what your place should be

so go ahead and shit all over me

i'm on your side, you don't even know it

you cannot remove the sexual context of a woman's clothing in public

what part of punish the moronic men in society, as opposed to the women, did you miss above?

and i am sexist? PLEASE

do you like to argue? because that is all i am getting from your pov


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

simple simple (none / 0) (#371)
by melia on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 10:00:33 AM EST

man who wishes woman to be in veil is a... man who wishes to impose his will upon a woman.

man who wishes woman to be as she was created is a... man who wishes to impose his will upon a woman.

Still don't get it? What exactly is it about that don't understand? I may be a moron but you are twice as dense. After God knows how many posts, you still fail to see a very simple point. It cannot be put more plainly, I give up.

Incidentally, insults mean I am right because if I were wrong you would be able to sensibly argue, instead you have nothing left but "moron". Nice argument, you should be like, a scientist or something.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

hey moron moron moron moron (none / 1) (#375)
by circletimessquare on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 03:43:17 PM EST

ask a woman who wears a veil why she is wearing a veil

see if her answers are independent of the impression she makes on the men she meets, if the reasons have nothing to do with religious edicts on modesty, chastity, sexual control

ask a woman who wears anything in public- shorts, jeans, a skirt, whatever, her reasons for her clothing choice that day... go ahead, ask them

see how many of their reasons are made irrespective of the men they might meet in public

you seem to live in some weird alternate fantasy universe where men don't think about women's bodies, and women don't take men's attitudes into account when they dress

me=realist

you=idealist

all of my discussions happen in the real world

your opinion is formed in an alternate reality where sex does not happen, where women are not interested in sex, where men are not interested in sex, where the dance of courtship between the sexes does not occur

sex happens, sex is good. sex is important. my opinion takes female and male sexuality into account. yours does not. yours is infatile. see how far you get with the value of your idealism versus my realism.

the veil is meant to stifle this dance of courtship, this basic dance that has gone on between man and woman since time immortal, since before we were even human beings

you would like to think the veil means something different

it doesn't

it is meant to control women's sexuality, to remove the decision making process from them, to remove the rights of women to attract and repulse men as they see fit, to become cattle, to become property, to remove from women the ability to use the shape of their body and face to make her own decisions about the men she wants and the men she doesn't

i am fighting the veil because of what the veil is: anti-women

and i am sexist?

what the fuck planet do you live on? WHAT THE FUCK DOES THE VEIL MEAN TO YOU? because whatever you think of the veil, it is not the reality of what the veil really means in this world

you don't get that

and you chastise me for pointing that out, for fighting that, for saying women should dress NOT IN A VEIL BECAUSE A VEIL IS A SYMBOL OF CONTROL OVER WOMEN

i am anti-veil, and in that, you see sexism

wtf?????

when my argument is really based on the rights of women to be as they are, as god/ allah/ darwin created them, the right of a woman to be free from religious dominance, from male dominance, to control their own sexuality

you are MORON MORON
MORON
MORON
MORON
MORON

and you chastise me? why? because i am taking the reality of men's impressions of women into account in how they dress JUST AS WOMEN DO EVERY DAY OF THEIR LIVES

don't you?

you=moronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronm oronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronm oronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoronmoron

go ahead call me a sexist LOL

;-)

oh, and btw, france made the right decision:

http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/12/17/france.headscarves/index.html

i applaud france for seeing what the veil is: a symbol of dominance and control over women's lives

you can't see that

and you chastise me

absolutely dumbfoundingly amazing moron you are


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

ugg (none / 0) (#363)
by Goggs on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 10:34:28 PM EST

I don't mean interrupt your "conversation", but double-spaces are unneccesary and make it just that little bit more difficult to read. Thanks :)

btw:
"and apparently, to you, loudmouthed pretentious me bothers you more than the straight up sexists and bigots who want to wrap you up and keep you hidden and anonymous in the world"
What makes you think 'straight up sexists and bigots' are the only ones who 'want to wrap you up and keep you hidden and anonymous in the world'? In many ways, 'wrapping up' is just as 'attention-seeking' as not wearing anything (think; Richard Simmons :) ).

Anyway, this thread is getting abusive, and noone likes a flamethrower.

-----== This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
[ Parent ]

on formatting and attention-seeking (none / 0) (#365)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 10:39:31 PM EST

formatting:

welcome to the internet
it changes language
it's just being informal d00d
language changes, my fshnizzle... you dig?
you will not control how language is used, language will grow and change and you will adopt
stop trying to control what you cannot

attention-seeking:

we're talking about the veil

specifically, the veil as used in it's religious context: which is 99.999% of what we are talking about here... michael jackson notwithstanding

in that context: reality, my argument has weight, your points have none

your argument has

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Agreed; legislate compulsory nudity! [nt] (none / 1) (#289)
by esrever on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:13:36 PM EST



Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]
Disagreed; I don't want to see you naked! [nt] (none / 0) (#347)
by Pseudonym on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 12:33:55 AM EST


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
pornography (none / 2) (#298)
by Edward Carter on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 09:29:01 PM EST

it's not pornography for a woman's body to be seen as it was created, no?

Actually, that is what people usually call pornography.

[ Parent ]

qualifying my comments (none / 0) (#299)
by circletimessquare on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 09:54:44 PM EST

a literal reading of my words means you are correct, i seem to be talking about pornography

however, a woman in shorts and a tank top is not pornography, and if you adjust my poorly chosen words to read like that, then all of my points fall into line without the observation you make shooting them down


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

So... (none / 0) (#325)
by melia on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 08:49:23 AM EST

Allah created woman wearing shorts and a tank top?

Why is it that women's dress of your culture is acceptable and morally right, while the women's dress of another isn't?

You can handle a woman in shorts and a tank top but not naked? What are you trying to say? Is it even any of your business what a woman wants to wear?

God, you don't even seem to understand that what "pornography" is, is defined by society. You're so wierd. You know, in the Amazon, women actually walk around topless. Imagine. Hey it sounds liberating, let's condemn women for not getting their baps out, because by hiding their breasts they're showing how ashamed they are of their bodies, right?
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

cultural absolutism vs. cultural relativism (none / 2) (#329)
by circletimessquare on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 11:17:00 AM EST

you are skewering me on my choice of clothing/ wording

jesus christ, whatever, i hate nonimaginative motherfuckers who get lost in details without seeing the larger theme of what is being said

ok einstein, wherever i say this or that or the other thing that sticks on your closed minded craw, read this: less clothes versus more clothes

nudity= pornography

enough said


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Help me with something (none / 2) (#309)
by intransigent on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 02:50:47 AM EST

It seems to me that the French and German people, or perhaps just the elite that run those countries, are hell-bent on deciding what is best for everyone, or at least their people. And that reminds me distinctly of a certain rhinestone cowboy who claims to be from Texas and his zealot pals.

Then they have the nerve to call each other left and right? Fanaticism in any direction or the other is bad for everyone. Can you people leave these women alone? Have you ever thought that perhaps they like being subservient conformists sort of like you people are to your socialist ideals? And on the other side, we'll probably be having prayer back in the public schools again. How much longer will we need to endure this crap?

I just can't comprehend why anyone would feel it is ever acceptable to be told how to live by a friggin' government. Let the churches do that shit so the rest of us can live in peace. That is separation of state from religion.



you say (none / 3) (#318)
by fleece on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 06:57:20 AM EST

It seems to me that the French and German people, or perhaps just the elite that run those countries, are hell-bent on deciding what is best for everyone

But as a thought experiment, imagine a country where the government are hell bent on letting the individual decide what is best for him or herself.
Left unchecked, how bad could it get? Could millionaires walk past penniless beggars freezing in the the streets without a second glance?
Would people distrust their neighbours enough to carry guns everywhere, and shoot each other with them in unprecedented numbers?
Would people send each other bankrupt in the courts in a mad scramble to amass the most wealth at the expense of others.
Would people refuse to fund an equitable public health system that they don't intend to get poor enough to have to use?
What if a generous rope in regard to exercising individual freedom means that the freedoms exercised erode the quality of life for many people?
Can and should a government play a role in deciding what is best for the majority, at the expense of limiting personal freedoms, where it can be proven that if you leave people to decide what is best for themselves, they will fuck each other over with gay abandon?




I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
[ Parent ]
Just shows how weird this whole thing is... (2.83 / 6) (#313)
by l0ki on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 03:44:52 AM EST

I totally agree with the fact that something has to be done, but I'm not quite sure that making a law against it is the right way to do it. Future shall tell.

But those girls who are wearing the veil are using it for propaganda: isn't it weird that some of them (definately not all of them, and certainly not even most of them) are "fighting" for their right to wear it and on the other side, women in islamic countries are fighting (for real) against them being forced to wear it ?
I'm sure liberated women in Iran (and some other islamic countries) must be shaking their heads hearing that (the fact that they want to wear the veil, not the law) - if they actually can hear about that at all.

The point is that living in a laïc society doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want - you also have some constraints to keep that laïcity alive, so that you can still pursue your religious or non-religious life.

Also keep in mind that this law is a reaction to a problem that has been rising and rising in the past months (not only in France btw). Islamic extremists are trying to get more and more people on their side, and it has to be banned, just as fashism (or racism in general) has to be banned.

The veil isn't even coming from the islamic laws, it has been enforced by men to treat women as slaves. They're conditioned.
Those girls who "fight" to wear the veil don't even know what they are doing. Their family is making pressure on them to do so.
And also, at that age, you always fight for or against something, what ever it is.
It's just as stupid as seeing Palestinians hold banners of Saddam Hussein, whereas 99% of Irakis want to see him burn in hell.
It was a small minority doing that, and it's also a small minority that is fighting to have the right to wear the veil.
Unfortunately, it's the kind of minority that makes a lot of noise and you don't see the moderated, educated and understanding majority of people, you only see the shouting 5%.
Just as it is with so many things.

This is just so silly, but then again... what else could you expect when the topic is religion ?
The next step in mankind's evolution is to get rid of religions (and it's a good step).

Religions have brought much more war, blood, deaths, poverty, exclusion, threat, miseducation (or rather no education at all) and issues than they have brought peace, tolerance and a way to live together. The less religion, the more peace.


Not so weird (none / 1) (#346)
by Pseudonym on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 12:32:41 AM EST

isn't it weird that some of them (definately not all of them, and certainly not even most of them) are "fighting" for their right to wear it and on the other side, women in islamic countries are fighting (for real) against them being forced to wear it ?

The same feminists who argue for legal abortion in the US are the same people who argue against forced abortion in China. I don't find this weird, and whatever your position is on abortion, nor should you.

The less religion, the more peace.

Forget religion. The fewer humans, the more peace.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
well, yeah (none / 0) (#348)
by l0ki on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 02:56:00 AM EST

Legal abortion and forced abortion really aren't quite the same thing, are they ?


[ Parent ]
Absolutely (none / 0) (#383)
by Pseudonym on Thu Dec 18, 2003 at 01:16:17 AM EST

Similarly, legal wearing of scarves and forced wearing of scarves are not the same thing.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Uninformed generalizations (none / 1) (#368)
by cinyc on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 03:07:41 AM EST

You make a great deal of mostly-uninformed generalizations.  I'm going to take on the more obvious ones here.

1. "But those girls who are wearing the veil are using it for propaganda"

Unless you've examined each case on an individual basis, you can't say that their reason is 'propaganda'.  It's an assumption you're making, and a dangerous one; it is more than likely that, given the girls' upbringing, they see it as a sign of modesty and virtue.

2. "women in islamic countries are fighting (for real) against them being forced to wear it"

Nobody should be forced to wear a headscarf, but that's not what the issue is here.  The issue is banning people from voluntarily wearing one.  One side is fighting for the right to voluntarily wear it, the other side is fighting for the right to not be forced to wear it -- I see no contradiction here whatsoever.

3. "The point is that living in a laïc society doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want - you also have some constraints to keep that laïcity alive, so that you can still pursue your religious or non-religious life."

I think the article covers this very well.  There's a line between suppression of religion, and having a laïc society... this law might be used for the former, rather than the latter, and that should be a major concern.

4. "Islamic extremists are trying to get more and more people on their side, and it has to be banned, just as fashism (or racism in general) has to be banned."

Do you actually have any evidence for this kind of sweeping generalization?  Or any reason, other than "it sounds good", to equate people wearing headscarves with extremists?

5. "The veil [...] has been enforced by men to treat women as slaves"

This is simply absurd.  I happen to live in South Africa, which is very Westernised, and I've seen people wearing veils and scarves completely voluntarily.  It's not a symbol of oppression, or slavery, or any such nonsense -- you've no justification at all for your absurd generalization.  And then you launch off for the rest of the paragraph about how girls are victims, pressured by family, brainwashed, ... you don't have any actual evidence of this happening in the majority of cases, do you?  If you do, let's see you bring it out!

6. "Religions have brought much more war, blood, deaths, poverty, exclusion, threat, miseducation (or rather no education at all) and issues than they have brought peace, tolerance and a way to live together"

Perhaps you should look at history a bit more closely.  You'll very soon realize that just about anything can be used as the motivation for atrocities, and that religion can as easily be used as a force for great good.  Demonizing it because it's fashionable to do so -- as you've done in your post -- only makes you look uneducated.

[ Parent ]

And laïcity is NOT tolerance (none / 1) (#393)
by regis on Sat Dec 20, 2003 at 03:00:22 PM EST

The point is that living in a laïc society doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want.
I think people are making a big confusion. Laïcité originates from the French Revolution, and more precisely in 1905 when the Catholic Church goods were confiscated by the State. At this time, churches and abbayes have been destroyed, monks killed and so on.
Despite the "freedom to believe in any religion", this freedom is not allowed in the public place in the French Republic. Laïctité has nothing to do with tolerance.

[ Parent ]
Poll suggestion: How fucked is this? (none / 2) (#315)
by Russell Dovey on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 05:47:06 AM EST

Vote in the poll here.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

The Imam Phalazar? (none / 3) (#321)
by scorchio on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 07:53:28 AM EST

Women have worn veils for roughly three thousand years, with the first laws dating to the reign of the Assyrian king Phalazar (1112-1047 BC). The only women expressly excluded from this ruling were prostitutes, who could walk around without a veil. [3] The oppressive nature of this ruling is lamentable, but hidden behind it is a strong moral aspect which, to put it simply, says that virtuous Muslim women wear veils.

Considering that Islam has been around for less than 1500 years, it says nothing of the sort. Indeed, the chador, burqas and veils we associate so strongly with Islam are in fact artefacts of the cultures that became Islamic, not of the religion itself, which argues for equality between men and women.

How easy is it... (none / 0) (#358)
by nsk on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 05:05:57 PM EST

...to differentiate between 'culture' and 'religion' when both have demonstrably intermingled over the past 1500 (odd) years?

I agree with your point completely, but I would like to comment that cultural dogmas that have been inculcated into the practices/rituals/beliefs of a religion often become as central to the coherency of the institution as tenets of its purported faith.

So while you are correct to point a small flaw in the article's reasoning, the wider question remains. How can the French government expect to promulgate equality between men and women within a certain demongraphic by:
1) disenfranchising members of this group from the rest of the country by (arguably) interfering with their religious freedoms, &
2) attempting to enforce a Eurocentric ideal on a completely different culture?

I don't think that we should argue whether equality between men and women is a good thing or not, but we have to consider whether such cultural and ideological bigotry will have a positive effect on the perceived status quo of women in Islam.
--- Of course, I'm generalising.
[ Parent ]

fek em! (1.16 / 6) (#322)
by dimaq on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 08:05:33 AM EST

IMHO european muslim girls are much cuter when you can see their faces.

Majority rules (none / 1) (#355)
by sctrl on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 01:51:25 PM EST

In the democratic society the majority rules. That means French government (elected by the majority) can say whatever they want to say and while you can criticize, remember, it represents the majority. The government (ideally) does not impose "state" values; it imposes values of people who elected it.
If people like to wear veils, head scarves, swastikas or whatever else, they are free to move to a region where the majority of population wears those things. Same goes for practicing religions. As much as I want to live in the society without any religions - it is impossible where I live. So I must compromise or be an outcast. It is all right to be an outcast but with that the person must accept some limitations that are not imposed on the rest of the populations.
We cannot please everyone, so we try to please the majority. Deal with it or move out.

Sergey
In the democratic society the majority rules (none / 0) (#359)
by the on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 06:08:02 PM EST

Interesting point of view. But that's not normally how it works. For example the US has a constitution that explicitly disallows many potential laws because it is recognised that they would be bad, even if voted in by a majority. This kind of feature is common in many nations and in fact is one of the reasons constitutions exist in the first place.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
Part of that problem (none / 0) (#372)
by o reor on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 01:01:15 PM EST

is that many of the members of the Muslim community in France are not french citizens. Therefore they don't vote, and probably do not feel that they are represented by the elected majority. And I think this is part of the problem too : if they felt better integrated as french citizens with rights and duties, they would probably be more willing to accept a compromise.

In the last few years however, there has been a policy of denying the french citizenship (as much as possible) to people who have only been in France for a few years. And this perpetual feeling, when you're an immigrant in France, of being stalked and harrassed all the time by rude policemen asking for your papers -- this certainly does not help.

[ Parent ]

Will be an issue (none / 0) (#396)
by mr100percent on Mon Dec 22, 2003 at 02:15:21 AM EST

However, there are enough French Muslim citizens to make this an issue. I believe it's in the Millions, this could be a hot topic at the upcoming March elections.

It's estimated that France has five million Muslims, roughly 8 percent of the population. Most are either immigrants or their offspring.
--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

A line in the sand (none / 2) (#367)
by hugues on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 02:19:36 AM EST

OK, this sounds from the article as if the French government is impinging on personal liberties such as the freedom of religion.

Maybe it is, but you have to hear the other side of the argument, which the article does not do a good job of presenting.

Laicity in French public schools (there are of course all maners of Islamic, Jewish and Christian schools in France where the situation is different) has been a long-held principle. The idea is that people from many different religions attend public schools and the only way to make people sit together quietly in class without having pupils fight over which God or Goddess is the right one is to suppress any and all outwards signs of religion.

While the wearing of some small crosses, stars of David or cresents has been tolerated of late, this is a recent phenomenon. As recently as 20 years ago you couldn't even wear a small cross and that principle was strictly enforced by teachers.

It could be argued that the headscarf is quite an obvious religious sign and should be banned on the grounds cited above, as would be any other large and obvious outward sign of any religion, and it has been, for quite some time, by the teachers and principals. What the article doesn't say is that thousands of young women of islamic background have come to class wearing headscarfs and in most cases have been persuaded not to wear them within the school simply through dialog between parents, pupils and teachers. Only in a very few cases did this principle result in pupils being excluded from schools.

One can of course argue that the principle is bad, but at least it should have nothing to do with Islam in particular. The principle is to treat all religions and all people equally and fairly. Normally there would be no need for a new law.

So essentially a line in the sand has to be drawn. What is the best way to treat all religions equally? The principle of `no show' in France is rooted in the memory of the 16th century Protestant Reform and Catholic counter-reform, which were extremely divisive and deadly, and somewhat more recently on the memory of famous cause célèbres such as the Dreyfus Affair.

Based on this history, the French republican principle of `no show' actually makes a lot of sense. Religion can be taught and discussed at school (it is part of the official curriculum, and all major religions are studied), but schools must not promote any religion (or the absense of religion) in any way, shape or form.

I would like to point out that many people see the headscarf as the thin end of the wedge. They are afraid of parents forbidding their children to participate in some activities (such as sports), from parents refusing to talk to teachers of the opposite sex, on religious grounds, which has indeed happened in practice and is much much less acceptable than the scarf by itself.

Finally there are religious schools in France. They can have a different code of conduct and teach extra stuff, but must teach the same basic curriculum as the government schools. All religious schools are private and most charge fees, but at the same time receive some financial support from government.

As long as the principles are clear, simple and well explained as well as their rationale, there ought to be very little problem.

The governement is not pushing these laws (none / 1) (#392)
by regis on Sat Dec 20, 2003 at 02:52:44 PM EST

this sounds from the article as if the French government is impinging on personal liberties such as the freedom of religion. Actually, the French governement hasn't officially said anything.
At the moment, this "law" is only a suggestion made by the "Stasi commission". And this commission is stupid enough to say that, on behalf of laïcité, two new bank holidays should be instored for the Muslims and Jewes respectively.

[ Parent ]
Define lacite first (none / 0) (#395)
by mr100percent on Mon Dec 22, 2003 at 02:09:10 AM EST

"Laïcité" is difficult to translate. It differs from the American secularist tradition in that it seeks less to neutralize public authorities in matters of religion than to neutralize religions in matters of public life. A paradox results: Since the Iraq war, much of the world views France as the symbol of Western reluctance to provoke a civilizational clash with Islam. The United States has been assailed for willingness to run that risk. Yet France aims to curtail the religious expression of its Muslims in ways no prominent American has ever suggested.

The social scientist Farhad Khosrokhavar wrote in November: "It is common knowledge that what is aimed at is Islam, especially the headscarf. The rest is trivia." The sociologist Jean Bauberot, a French Stasi commission member, wrote that "'large crosses,' let's face it, have nothing to do with this kind of report."

Muslim women feel as if wearing the headscarf is a religious obligation, no less important than going to the mosque on fridays. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once said "Modesty is a part of faith" (Sahih Bukhari). If a person wants to wear a headscarf, or a kufi, or a yarmukle or a skullcap or a nun's headwear, then the government shouldn't prevent that exercise. Yes, it makes people uncomfortable, but if nobody mentions it, will the problem go away?

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy opposes the ban on headscarves, reasoning that schools that allow nose-piercing are in no position to set dress codes.
--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

France? (none / 2) (#388)
by /dev/trash on Thu Dec 18, 2003 at 04:23:43 PM EST

And people said living in the US was like living in a dictatorship.

---
Updated NEW 10/15/2003!!
New Site, More Parks
France isn't the only country with this problem (none / 1) (#389)
by regexp on Fri Dec 19, 2003 at 08:44:34 AM EST

Google : Tudung School Singapore But I believe Sikh boys are allowed to wear Turbans.

Anti-Semitism in Europe (none / 1) (#391)
by JayGarner on Fri Dec 19, 2003 at 08:50:30 PM EST

Well, they're on pins and needles over there lately, what with the somewhat controversial recent report that anti-semitic attacks have been increasing and, guess what, largely people of the Islamic faith are responsible.

It's great to play the all inclusive la-la-la I love everyone game, but ultimately people who hate your guts and want you to die come to the game; then what do you do?

Misleading title. (none / 0) (#398)
by jupiter8 on Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 01:26:08 PM EST

The title is slightly misleading as France's credo actually reads: "liberté, égalité, fraternité", and was born out of the revolution. State secularism is a relatively new concept, and was only achieved in 1905.

As for the legislation, I'm not personally comfortable with it, and would much prefer that everyone be allowed to peacefullly display overt signs of their religious beliefs, no matter what the place. France's history, however, is fraught with very good reasons to separate church and state (persecution of the huguenots, the jansénistes, the jésuite bankrupcies, the extra financial burden imposed by various orders on the population by 'divine right', etc...). They're just taking the concept a bit too far in this case.

Laïcité, Egalité, Fraternité - (Secularism, Equality, Fraternity) | 398 comments (387 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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