veiling and the limits of religious liberty

This piece is about as challenging as one can be to what I would consider my fundamental assumptions about the role of the state in the private lives of its citizens. A snippet that gives you an idea of the whole:

It was perverse, she said to me, that she should be free to cover her head in an American university but not in a Turkish one. It seemed perverse to me as well. It would to any American; politically, we all descend from men and women persecuted for their faith. I was, I decided, on the side of these women.

But that was when I could still visit the neighborhood of Balat without being called a whore.

Read the whole thing. This is a conversation we (by which I mean the west, broadly) need to be having. And I have no idea where I am on it.


RW said...

Except for yours truly, the comments on the link I am listing here were mostly in the affirmative to the original poster, an American-born liberal Muslim woman who does not cover. It isn't ego to say I thought my conversation with her was the only part of the convo worth reading, but I think it was. Faiqa is a friend of mine.

She wrote an article called Veiled Threats.

It might be of interest.

Brian said...

Thanks...I will take a look at it. I have read Faiqa before.

As an aside, her blog was blocked on the federal network where I used to work. Interesting, no?

RW said...

Yeah. Really silly too! :-)

chris said...

You're either free or you aren't. I know it's naively libertarian of me to say so but if it ain't hurting anyone else then go ahead and knock yourself out.

Brian said...

Chris--sure, my gut tells me that telling a woman she may not be covered is no different than telling her that she must.

But I think the author is making the argument that veiling is by and large a coercive practice. I can't really say from where I'm sitting whether this is true or not, but my own libertarianism has certainly evolved to a point where the state is no longer the only agent of coercion that I worry about.

For some excellent writing on that point, I can't recommend Kerry Howley's contribution to this piece enough:


In case you can't tell, I'm more interested these days in the stuff I'm not sure about.

Gino said...

i'm with faiqa on this one, and exactly for the reasons she states so well.

but the real issue for france, from what i've read thru the years, is an incremental loss of cultural identity.
when france (or insert euro of your choice here)is no longer 50% 'french' will there be a france to speak of? it can be a legitimate fear.

their problem is one of immigration/integration. dont open the doors so wide, and you wont have these issues and fears.

but that would require the french to value themselves, and their heritage, strongly enough and make the necessary cultural and structural changes.

why allow such migration? answer that, solve it, and you end the problem.

my answer: they need the workers to keep the welfare state afloat and to combat declining breeding rates (actually, two sides of the same coin).