I can’t decide where I stand on the ban of the burqa (full veil) in France. I want to be against it — on the grounds of religious and personal freedom — but I see the challenges the niqab (face veil) poses to national security. It’s one thing to cover the top of your head, but quite another to cover your entire face so your identity is completely obscured.
According to The Guardian, a wealthy French businessman, Rachid Nekkaz, has promised a fund to help Muslim women pay for any fines they receive for wearing the niqab in the street. Nekkaz, of Algerian descent, has no problem with banning the niqab in government buildings, but believes it’s unconstitutional and an infringement on personal freedoms to outlaw them completely.
The ban, which will come into full effect next spring, will keep many women tied to their homes for fear of fines if they appear in public. Some say this affront to personal and religious freedom will result in a backlash. When trying to balance security issues with religious freedom, it does seem to me that the better approach would be to limit the full veil in certain places and situations, but permit citizens to wear them on the streets as they go about their daily lives. Not everyone would be happy with this, but surely it would offer a better balance between personal freedom and state security.
What do you think?