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July 9th, 2010
12:06 PM ET

Europe's burqa wars: broad support for banning veils

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Legislation banning full veils for Muslim women is now under consideration across Western Europe.

On April 30, Belgium's lower house voted to ban Muslim women from wearing veils that cover their full faces. On June 30, a Tory MP introduced in the UK a Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill that would make it illegal for anyone to cover their face in public. And on July 6 the French parliament began debating legislation that would outlaw the wearing of burqas and niqabs in public places.

According to a Pew Global Attitudes Project survey released yesterday, support for a ban on veils that cover the whole face except the eyes is widespread across Europe, with strong majorities in Spain (59 percent), Britain (62 percent), Germany (71 percent) and France (82 percent) all supporting legislation outlawing such veils in schools, hospitals, and government offices.

Prohibiting a citizen from wearing religious garb—a yarmulke, a clerical collar, a Hare Krishna robe—would seem on the face of it to be a violation of religious freedom. And that is how Americans see it. Here only 28 percent approve of a ban on full veils, with 65 percent disapproving.

Proponents of the various burqa bans, however, cast themselves as defenders of the rights of women and even public safety. A fully veiled woman cannot be easily identified by police. Neither can a male drug dealer posing as a burqa-bound woman.

Professsor Kecia Ali, my Boston University colleague and the author of Sexual Ethics and Islam, sees this “current European fixation on Muslim women’s clothing” not as “a systematic push for gender equality” but as “a symbolic statement” that “plays into an us-versus-them mentality with brutal real-world consequences.”

The current furor, she told me in a recent e-mail, "distracts from real issues of class injustice, racial oppression, and continued discrimination and violence against women, Muslim and non-Muslim."

Anti-burqa legislation in Belgium, France, the UK and beyond raises all sorts of questions about immigration and assimilation, church and state. But lurking around each of these questions is the overarching matter of what the veil means. Is it a symbol of Islamic identity? A rejection of the hyper-sexualization of the female body? Or is it, in the words of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, "a sign of debasement"–a stiff-arm to country and community, and a symbol of sexism and misogyny?

How this question will settle out across Europe is anyone’s guess, but it is hard to deny that the burqa wars have already unsettled facile notions of Europe as a bastion of multicultural understanding. France, which has long prided itself on its cosmopolitanism, seems to be taking the rhetorical lead here. (Immigration minister Eric Besson has described the burqa as a "walking coffin.")

But what becomes of France's Holy Trinity of liberté, fraternité and equalité when bureaucrats start to dictate not only how people dress but also how they express their religion?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belgium • Britain • Culture wars • Europe • France • Islam • Polls • Religious liberty

soundoff (332 Responses)
  1. Fred

    I agree with French President Nicolas Sarkozy there is no religious need to cover the face.

    Covering the body is also an option. The Holy Qur'an says that "one must dress modestly". Various Islamic sects have interpreted this to mean total coverage. That is fine while in one's home country or in the mosque, but as a guest or even a resident in another host country one should abide by the local customs.

    I believe strongly in this because of the security issues. Male terrorists in other parts of the world dress as women in religious total covering or are women wearing explosive belts.

    Eliminating this "home" custom should reduce this threat in Western countries.

    July 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
    • Eda

      I agree with Fred. While I am in agreement of religious respect wearing a face covering such as a burka does pose security problems. Try going into any bank, post office or even store wearing a motorcycle helment. Its against the law in some countries.

      Furthermore if for example a western or eastern (doesnt matter) woman flies into Saudi Arabia she is under obligation to wear a burka according to Saudi Laws. Therefore I dont see why they cant respect another countries laws by taking off the face covering...at least...The woman can still remain modestly dressed.

      July 9, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  2. Controversial

    There are various interpertations of modesty in Islam. However the covering of the face with a burka is not required. Muslim men and women are required to be modest and decent at all times. If a woman feels that she can only be modest by wearing a burka, then that is her choice. So if we talk about women's rights and the ability to be free of oppression, could it be that this is a form of freedom? Could it be that women are using the burka within Islam to gain more freedom? The burka may give them the mobility to leave their homes, travel and be independent, rather than strictly be within the confines of their homes. Don't get me wrong, but if I had the choice of being cooped up at home all the time or given the opportunity to go out on my own with the stipulation of wearing a burka, then I would take the latter. These women are using their freedom by the use of their garments. Throughout American history, there are have been many arguments regarding the freedem of expression, whether groups that express their views, faith and politics through writing on T-Shirts or by burning flags...all controversial, but nonetheless, a form of expressing their freedom. I may not be an advocate for the wearing of the burka, but I have to understand that if women can have the right to prance around in g-string bikinis, that they can be just as free under the burka.

    July 9, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • Frogstomp

      The burqa is not a "choice" for women in most of the arab world any more than it is a "choice" for americans to walk around completely nude. You can choose to do it but it would not go over well.

      July 10, 2010 at 10:02 am |
    • Jennifer CA

      The burqa or niqab is not much of a choice for muslim women. The are being required to wear it by muslim males in their community. It is not an expression of Islam as it is not stated in the Quran that women must cover themselves from head to toe in public. It simply commands that all muslims be modestly dressed. This can be done with long sleeved desses and a hijab. If a man can be modestly dressed and show his face, why can't a woman? It is because many muslim males feel threatened by women. They are temtresses out to steer muslim men away from what they is supposed to be doing, devoting their lives to Allah. So rather than deal with their own insecurities and reign in their sexual desires, they make women feel shameful for being a woman. And to point out to the community at large that a wicked, lowly woman in in their midsts, fundamentalist muslims make them wear a burqa or niqab, lest they will be beaten for their disobedience. I am not against anyone expressing their religious choice (crosses, hijabs, kippot, etc.), but when it comes to making 50% of the population feel like second class citizens (or worse) who must hide their faces in shame as they go about their daily activities (caring for children, shopping for food, etc..), I am all for abolishing a symbol of sexism and mysogyny.

      July 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  3. Mat

    For those who say this is a political issue, it's not. It's a public security issue. Period. Nobody wants to be around people whom they can't see in the face. Try that stuff in a bank and see what happens.

    July 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  4. Adam

    All these dusty old religions are on their way out anyway. In the next 20 years there will be some remarkable advancements in technology that will make people forget about these silly religions the same way a child trades in his old wooden play toy for a new x-box. When we have strong AI, nanotechnology and medical advancements that can allow you to live forever, will these old religions even be relevant to anyone?

    July 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  5. Bill

    Where in the Koan does it say women must cover her face? Face covering is not a religious requirement of the Koran, but something that has evolved in some Islamic cultures. In many Islamic countries face covering is not commonly done. The religious aspect of this issue should be discarded as it is not a Koranic requirement, and the discussion narrowed down to the practices that we must all observe in society. With security a very important issue in today's world, the concern about covered faces is valid. Religious garb of all kinds can be worn without a problem, even the Islamic head covering which hides the hair and neck but not the face. But when the face is covered it becomes a civil issue. There should not be a complaint from Muslims over this. In some very Islamic countries, western women regardless of faith are required to wear garments and coverings that conform with the local cultural norms. It is the right of each country and its people to decide what will be the standard for them.

    July 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  6. Adam

    Let's not pretend that the buqua doesn't isn't a tool for oppressing women. Let's also not pretend that the motivation for banning the buqua is security. The facts are that we worked very hard in Western society to win equality for the rights of women. We don't want to see things sliding back to the old, oppressive ways. When immigrants come to the country and they want to be here because they don't like it in their own country, they should understand that equal rights for women is fundamental to our society and non-negotiable. We don't want to regress back to the days before women had equal rights the same way we don;t want to go back to the days when black people had to sit at the back of the bus. If I said it was my religion to be able to walk around with my wife on a leash, walking behind me on all fours, people would have every right to be offended by what this represented. I am against the Burka. Women's rights were too hard won to regress back.

    July 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • Eelco Hillenius

      exactly

      July 9, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      But would you make it illegal to have your wife on a leash? Between two consenting adults–I wouldn't.

      It makes a big difference if the burqa is chosen or imposed. The law does not allow a woman to choose it for herself. That choice matters a lot.

      If the freedom isn't hard-fought, if it is handed on a platter, I promise you that it won't have any value. We see this again and again when we try to impose our democratic ideas. By definition, if the people won't fight for it, it's not real democracy anyway.

      July 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • Artemis

      Perhaps we should define "consenting." In a legal sense, it means over age of consent, or 18 years old in the US. In the moral, or emotional, or social sense, it could mean two people with the same "ability" to consent, which would then bring in all the social, religious, and poltical inequities between men and women that many are talking about in this thread. To say a woman can consent to something when she has little or no legal clout, taught from birth to be subservient, then routinely reminded that Man is God, and she is not, well, tell me HOW she is going to make any really objective choice on anything.

      July 13, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  7. Unconscious

    Maybe people in France are just fed up with their culture slowly being eroded away? If I went to live in Muslim country I wouldn't prance around in tanktop. France is a Western country, and they want to see French people and French customs around them.

    July 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • Luke

      Unconscious – Sigh. France is a Secular Nation with religious freedom. So is the USA. We are victims of our own demise. You are going to have to start wrapping your head around the fact that if you allow religious freedom, that is; your right to practice Catholicism for example, that your neighbor is free to practice Islam. Once you step into the realm of interfering with religious practice, you tear apart the Bill of Rights and open the door to a Sh-t Storm you want no part of.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
    • Adam

      My religion stipulates that it's okay to for me to marry as many 13 year old girls as I want. I guess we all should just be tolerant since this is my religion.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • Unconscious

      Luke – BRB, marrying a 12 year old (preferably virginal) girl

      July 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      As I think we've brought up before in similar discussions–marriage is a *legal* contract in the US–not a religious one. That's precisely why you don't need a church to do it. So–go figure the government has some requirements on that.

      July 9, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
    • Frogstomp

      Luke – We should not tolerate abusive or violent customs under the mantle of religious freedom.

      July 10, 2010 at 9:54 am |
    • Luke

      Frogstomp – I agree. Just don't play the us vs them game. The American culture is composed mainly of Judao-Christians that have a very violent history and we are guilty of vast atrocities. We must accept this before condemning Islam, which I divulge is more violent, but not all that much when looked through the window of history.

      July 10, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • Frogstomp

      Luke – Isn't there a big difference between history and present day? Islam is stuck in the middle ages. Christianity is no picnic either but at least has evolved to be much less violent and divisive than Islam.

      July 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
    • Luke

      Frogstomp – Two points. First, Islam was not alwaysw like this, a very comoon misnomer in America. Iran of the 60s was shockingly liberal. Tie Dyes. Long Hair. Weed. The conservative movement wiped out that society. They have reverted drastically. Second, you need to start thinking abotu why Christianity, particularly in America, has evolved to be less violent. You seem to be making the leap from non-violence and Christianity all too easily without looking around the world presently. In Ireland, Christians of different sects do not intertwine and were killing one another not that long ago. I could go on and on, but think you get the point.

      July 12, 2010 at 9:02 am |
    • Frogstomp

      Luke – You are correct in that the nasty aspects of any religion that are out of practice can be easily remembered when some idiots need to justify their violence. Iran and Afghanistan have both regressed during the last couple decades, but what about the arab countries? I think they have just always been screwed up.

      July 13, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  8. Stewart

    Nothing more than a "unveiled" attempt to show their disdain for Islam.

    It seems so strange that every decade or two some form of religion is chosen to be "hated by the masses!!

    Fact is,one way or another, religion will get you killed.

    July 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • T1Brit

      Why must only women cover themselves ?

      Let the Muslim men wear the veil too.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Dee

      Imagine a world without religion – No jihadists, no religious extrimists!

      July 10, 2010 at 3:29 am |
  9. Cathy Kayser

    The way to demonstrate the absurdity and incivility of the burka would be for men to start wearing it also. Imagine if everyone went out like that – the police would not be able to do their job, people would all be bumpting into each other because they couldn't see property, car accidents would increase dramatically, people would stumble on stairs and street criminals would have a heyday.

    Liberals need to wake up – the Islamification of the world is nothing less than a downward backwards spiral.

    July 9, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
    • T1Brit

      Cathy you are a genius !!!!

      What a brilliant point you make – WHAT IF ISLAM SAID THAT MEN HAD TO BE COVERED TOO ?

      July 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Colin

      You don't have to worry about the burqa interfering with driving. Under Islam (extremists?), women aren't allowed to do that either.

      July 9, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Please keep in mind that some restrictions are cultural–not religious. The ones you are thinking of, like not allowing women to drive, are primarily Arab in origins (this is Saudi law). But to be Arab is not the same thing as being Muslim any more than being Irish makes you Catholic or vice versa.

      My prom date was Muslim. He's a really great guy and his Mom never had to wear anything in particular, just be discrete. They were Pakistani.

      July 9, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • DebasisG

      Do you have anything else to say other than liberal bashing? This comment is more appropriate in Faux News, not here!

      July 10, 2010 at 1:25 am |
    • Dee

      Well said, Cathy. Public safety and security, and equal rights for women are the main reasons for the ban NOT RELIGION.

      July 10, 2010 at 3:24 am |
    • Timothy C

      @Cathy– this is an absurd analogy. Consider the depths of winter. While it's true that there are more accidents because of the weather, I have yet to see a report that crime goes up merely because everyone is bundled up in formless clothing and even ski masks–male and female alike. Society doesn't grind to a halt because people cover themselves up.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  10. Colin

    The problem with these laws is that they're singling out the burqa and it's basis in religion. They need to focus on 'all' full facial coverings being banned in general public use, due to security reasons, and not religious reasons. Just as you wouldn't be allowed to enter a bank with a ski mask on, you should be allowed to enter with a burqa, etc. etc. for whatever situation you choose.

    July 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • Colin

      EDIT: shouldn't be allowed to enter with a burqa...

      July 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  11. Hakin

    The danger of liberalism stares us in the face, i would have jumped on the bandwagon and sing the "freedom to express religion" song but i know one thing, muslim countries would rather behead you than debate whether you are just expressing yourself or not,moreover im not sure any muslim is being forced to live or bring his wife into europe, iran can acoomodate a lot of muslims, so feel free to emigrate.If islam is only as tolerant as it seeks tolereance from others.

    July 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • Cathy Kayser

      Islam seeks to control, control, control, control, control..........It is the end of human rights, freedom of choice, respect for women, civil liberties.....

      July 9, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  12. lumpy

    Religion and all of its trappings is the root of all evil in this world...yet we put it on a pedestal, we think we are open and tolerant when we say 'you are free to worship as you wish'. The Catholic Church did not condemn the use of torture until 1816. Christians shoot doctors and suicidal jihadists fly planes into buildings because a belief system that in ANY other case would be a clearcut case of mental illness (the 5150 kind of illness – 'danger to self and to others'). Throw the baby out with the bathwater – we'll all be better off when we believe only in what can be proven.

    July 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  13. verify

    Ok, if your wildly ravishing face will send drooling, lascivious men into an uncontrollable frenzy, just print your name and/or identifying number across the forehead section of the face covering. You must be identifiable when in public.

    July 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  14. Thorrsman

    In America, every bank and credit union posts signs outside forbidding the wearing of sunglasses, baseball caps, and stocking caps inside, anything that can be used by criminals to hide their faces. Even on Halloween, banks, malls and stores don't want masked adults inside UNLESS they are a part of a specific function during a set time. Muslims in America–and we've a lot of them in Colorado–seem to have adapted to this well enough. While most wear their native garments, their faces remain uncovered.

    July 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
    • Luke

      Thorrsman – You confuse and bundle all Muslims into one group. Presumably, the Muslims in your area are not required by their sect to wear a full burqua. Some require a head scarf (which I find beautiful by the way), while others do not require any coverings. Others cover only the eyes, some cover the hair, some even put that viel over the eyes, which must be possibly the worst thing imaginable. Why not go over and ask what sect they are a part of? My Muslim friends from Bosnia do nto require any coverings. Very lovely girls.

      July 9, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • Frogstomp

      You should the joke of passport control in the arab states. The man of the family gives the entire family's passports to the agent and does all of the talking. the women stand several feet behind, completely covered, and don't say a word. It could be ANYONE under those burqas.

      July 10, 2010 at 5:52 am |
  15. the truth sets you free

    Remove the status of Islam as a religion and treat it like a hateful ideology like Nazism, then all the problems with Islam will be much easier to solve. Islam is more dangerous than Nazism because it hides behind a religion.

    July 9, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • Luke

      the truth sets you free – Islam has more believers than all of Christianity and its vary sects/cults. I don't defend it, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it. Additionally, violent Christians should not get a pass either. Be careful what you wish for. If it applies to Islam, it applies to Christendom. I freely admit that Islam is more violent than Christendom, but you do realize that Christendom is more violent than Judaism; and Judaism more violent than Jainism & Buddhism, right? Think of it like this; The Jews are god 1.0; the Christians are god 2.0, and Islam is god 3.0. The Buddhists are merely god 0.0. Ne free passes just because you happen to be, presumably, Christian.

      July 9, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Shahid

      @Luke ... pretty good reply dude

      July 9, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
    • Luke

      the truth sets you free – By the way; The Nazis were mostly Catholic. Not a 1 has ever been excommunicated by the Church. Not even Hitler himself, for the record.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
      • Freedom

        Nazi's were not all Catholic. Even though the Catholic fate lived with the agreement between the Vatican and the Third Reich. There were many Catholic's who fled. And Luke you do have to realize that you are calling every single person who lived under the reign of the Hitler Nazi's and Catholics. For one example His Holiness John Paul II was a Catholic but he lived during the era of WWII and his country was taken over by the Third Reich so than are you stating that Catholics = Nazi

        July 11, 2010 at 4:53 am |
    • the truth sets you free

      @ Luke

      Luke: "Islam has more believers than all of Christianity and its vary sects/cults."

      What??? What cave do you live in?

      Christianity: 2.1 to 2.3 billion Christians
      Islam: 1.1 to 1.6 billion Muslims

      There are half billion more Christians than Muslims in the world!!

      Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. will never be classified as non-religion simply because they are peaceful in their core teachings. It's true there are violent and crazy Christians, Jews or Buddhists, but they did their violence AGAINST the teachings of their religions.

      Islam, however, encourages Muslims to be violent especially against infidels. Read the stories of Muhammad, 72 virgins, and the Koran. You'd be convinced this is a religion of war, not peace.

      If you wanted to be honest, compare the teachings of Muhammad to those of Jesus. Who said love your enemy? Who said kill all the infidels? Whose God died for his people to save them? Whose God asked his people to die for him to save him?

      The truth sets you free.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
    • Luke

      the truth sets you free –

      1) I freely admit that Islam is more violent than other religions. Why are you arguing with me?
      2) Christianity is peaceful? What cave do you live in friend? The IRA? Killing abortion doctors? The inquisition? The Church's stance during the Jewish Holocaust? Allowing AIDS stricken nations in Africa to die rather than the Church providing and not denying condoms? Jehovah's witnesses don't tear families apart when one a child, for example, decides not to be a member of the cult?
      3) Speaking of caves, I seem to have made an error in looking at outdated or a poor data source. Nevertheless, the Muslim world accounts for 20% of the earth's population, and you freely dismiss it?

      July 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
    • Reality

      Luke noted above:

      the truth sets you free – By the way; The Nazis were mostly Catholic. Not a 1 has ever been excommunicated by the Church. Not even Hitler himself, for the record

      Hitler and his "Catholicism":

      According to historian Richard Steigmann-Gall, much is known about Hitler's views on religion through Hitler's book, Mein Kampf.[14] In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote neither as an atheist, an agnostic, nor as a believer in a remote, rationalist divinity. Instead he expressed his belief in one providential, active, deity:

      "What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and the reproduction of our race...so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe...Peoples that b-stardize themselves, or let themselves be b-stardized, sin against the will of eternal Providence."

      Derek Hastings sees Hitler's commitment to Christianity as more tenuous. He considers it "eminently plausible" that Hitler was a believing Catholic as late as his trial in 1924, but writes that "there is little doubt that Hitler was a staunch opponent of Christianity throughout the duration of the Third Reich

      July 9, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
    • the truth sets you free

      @ Luke

      When you said "I freely admit that Islam is more violent than other religions", you were implying that other religions were violent too, but in a lesser degree compared to Islam.

      I disagree.

      As I explained in my previous post, Christianity in its core (as taught by Jesus) is 100% peaceful. That doesn't mean its followers are. You mentioned the IRA, the killing of abortion doctors, etc. These are hateful "Christians" who did their violence AGAINST the teachings of Jesus. They are NOT Christians!! Jesus NEVER taught any violence. Forgiveness yes. Revenge no.

      Islam, however, in its core teachings as taught by Muhammad, teaches Muslims to be violent. When a Muslim commits a violent act, he does so IN ACCORDANCE to the Islamic teachings, NOT against them. He is considered a hero in Islam and is rewarded with 72 virgins in heaven. (In fact, a Muslim who helps a non-Muslim is considered a bad Muslim!!!) That is why Islam is a violent religion UNLIKE any other major religions. There's NO comparison like you tried to imply before.

      The truth sets you free.

      July 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
    • Changewecan

      Secularism and respect for other faiths is key, some religions do it better than others. Change in thoughts is a must and it has to come from within where religious bodies allow for change. Any religion that prevents modification of its ideology that may not be logical for present time will be considered more extremist because it does not align with what is acceptable in current society.

      So whoever is categorized as extremist needs to revisit why they are being categorized as such and then need to think about changing or reshaping their thinking or continue to being condemned.

      July 9, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Even Jesus lost his temper against the money-changers and merchants in the temple.

      If you screw over a particular group don't be surprised when they lash out.

      July 9, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
    • Ali

      That makes your ideology not much different from that of the fanatical Muslims who claim that ALL non-Muslims are infidels who don't have a right to live.

      July 10, 2010 at 1:31 am |
    • Ali

      you are absolutely wrong. Islam is not nazism. Islam is a religion, a true religion of the time. Islam is peace . This is the religion which had roots go back to ADAM. Jesus,Moses ,Abraham Even ADAM delivered the same message which Muhammad delivered.

      July 10, 2010 at 8:26 am |
    • Jesus vs Muhammad

      @One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Ok Jesus "lost" his temper – so what? What did he do he "lost" his temper? Whipped few animals out of the God's temple which was turned into market place gouging people of their money by greedy merchants. Is that the best example you have to show violence in Christianity? How about Muhammad beheading people with his own hands? Do you know when Islamic terrorists behead people on video they are actually copying what their prophet Muhammad did?

      July 10, 2010 at 8:34 am |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      "Is that the best example you have to show violence in Christianity?"

      No–of course not. But saying that Islam extremists are the norm is like saying the KKK or Naziism is the norm for Christianity. Islam is not inherently a violent religion any more than Christianity is. There are peaceful Muslims just as there are peaceful Christians. They just don't hit the news.

      July 10, 2010 at 8:58 am |
    • the truth sets you free

      @ One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      You said "Islam is not inherently a violent religion any more than Christianity is."

      But then, you explained it by saying "There are peaceful Muslims just as there are peaceful Christians."

      We're NOT talking about the religions' followers here. They do not always represent their religions. We already AGREE that there are violent Christians and peaceful Muslims! (WOW! Isn't that so sad that being peaceful is considered an exception in Islam??). But they do so AGAINST their religions!! Those are not real Christians or real Muslims!

      When you said "Islam is not inherently a violent religion any more than Christianity is", the term "inherently" should refer to the true teachings of the religion, NOT to what some of its crazy followers are doing (e.g. being peaceful in Islam!) that you were referring to.

      So why don't you talk about Muhammad?

      Tell us how Islam is "inherently" peaceful through the actions of Muhammad. And how do you explain the violence he committed throughout his life?

      Compare Muhammad's life to that of Jesus. Who is the man of peace and who is the man of war?

      Whose God died to save his people? Christian God or Islamic God?

      Whose God asked his people to die for him (and for 72 virgins)? Christian God or Islamic God?

      That way we would know if Islam is "inherently" peaceful or not.

      The truth sets you free.

      July 10, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • Luke

      Reality – Amazing argument you have there. Copying and pasting one man's opinion. How about I copy and paste someone else's opinion that works in my favor? How about I just say, regardless of Hitler's religion or lack of religion, the entire Nazi army was composed of Catholics and Protestants? Are you willing to accept that there is no way that the entire army, which happens to composed of humans that followed one or two religions, did not have the exact views of their leader and were indeed regular Catholics and regular Protestants that were behind the slaughter of millions of humans with differing religious views? Your lack of original thought on these boards makes me giggle.

      July 10, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • Jesus vs Muhammad

      @One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Stating that Nazis and KKK are Christians is an act of desperation. What makes you think that they are Christians let alone real practicing Christians?? Where is the proof? They never themselves claimed to be fundamental Christians – unlike numerous Muslim terrorists who claim to be Muslims and strictly practice Islam – they carry the Koran, attend the Mosque regularly, follow the 5 pillars of Islam including 5 prayers a day and live pious lives. Which aspects of Christianity did the Nazis or the KKK followed? Nazis were atheists and were against the church and KKK burned the crosses!! What are you taking about?

      Even if they were Christians (which is not true) were they following their religion correctly? Why don't you get the simple fact that violent "Christians" are violent because of they do not follow the core teachings of Jesus while violent Muslims are violent because they ARE following the core teachings of Muhammad. The existence of many peaceful Muslims is NOT a proof that Islam is peaceful. There are peaceful Muslims because of three reasons 1) They live in a Muslim majority country and the non-Muslims are subjugated to second class citizens 2) They live in Western countries where they are not in majority and where they are not free to express their hatred 3) They are secular Muslims or follow Sufism which are not strictly following Islam or their prophet Muhammad.

      Jesus taught that "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, bless those who curse you". I challenge you to provide one similar teaching from Muhammad on in the Quran. Open your eyes and turn to Jesus because he says "you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be" (John 8:24). There is no comparision between Jesus and Muhammad.

      * Jesus never killed anyone.
      * Muhammad killed an estimated 3,000 people, including beheading 700 Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina, A.D. 627

      * Jesus never owned slaves.
      * Muhammad received a fifth of the prisoners taken in battle, including women. (Sura 8:41)

      * Jesus never married.
      * Muhammad had many wives.

      Just Google "The Religion of Peace Jesus Muhammad" to find more....

      July 10, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • Reality

      More information for Luke to peruse: from another source (and can you imagine what Hitler would do with women wearing burkas)

      Hitler was never formally excommunicated, but it doesn't matter. Hitler was already excommunicated "in fact" (ipso facto) under the canon law of the Catholic Church for his numerous crimes against the Church, its people, its property, and its teachings. He could have actually returned to the Catholic faith (assuming that he might have wanted to), by having his excommunication removed by the Pope. The lifting of such excommunication is reserved to the Pope (latae sententiae). And let us not forget that the conference of German bishops excommunicated ALL Nazis who happened to be of the Catholic faith in 1930, and in the 1932 elections asked Catholics to NOT vote for any Nazi for any position. By being the leader of the Nazi party, Hitler had already put himself outside of the Church. The flaw in that logic might be that Hitler didn't become a German citizen until he ran against (and lost miserably) Hindenberg for the office of President.

      It is also true that the goal of the Nazis was to absolutely minimize the influence of ANY of the various Christian Churches without actually declaring an open war on them and without adopting a radical anti-Christian policy; "officially". (This is most certainly due to the fact that the Nazis came to power in a basically Christian country and in the middle of a Christian continent). An overt/open "war" upon Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church in specific, would have meant the total demise of the Nazis early on.

      July 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • TammyB

      Have you read the Bible? I can get it out, and post 100's of passages that are just as extreme as the Quran--passages about stoning people, killing your wife if she gets out of line, and beating the crap out of your kids if they disrespect you, and on and on. The Bible is the core of Christianity as well and it is pretty gory.

      July 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • the truth sets you free

      @ TammyB

      Have you read the New Testament?

      Here's a basic lesson on Christianity for you, taught in kindergarten: Christianity was founded by Jesus the Christ, hence the name Christ –> Christianity. Even though the Christian Bible contains the Old Testament that has some violent parts in it (which I assume you were trying to refer to), the Old Testament is NOT regarded as the foundation of Christianity. Jesus is!! It is what Jesus the Christ taught that every Christian should emulate, not what's on the Old Testament.

      If you really want to be honest in comparing Christianity vs. Islam, then compare their founders: Jesus vs. Muhammad. That way, you would compare an apple with an apple.

      I don't understand, every person defending Islam seems to avoid the discussion on Muhammad Vs. Jesus.

      Why is that???? Is Muhammad Islam's weakest point??? I think so.

      July 10, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
      • Mark from Middle River

        You Free- From what you get out of the Christianity it sounds as though you do not consider the Old testament the foundation where many if not most Christians do consider it to be the foundation. There is nothing like those within a faith blasting away at each other declaring that their vision and interpretation of the Bible is the exclusive path to understanding and communing with God.

        You keep asking why many avoid a discussion about Muhammed vs Jesus. Maybe because in the grand scheme of faith and the world it only matters to you and others like you. That there people defending Islam it lets me know that your time is beginning to come to a end. It probably will not be in my life time and I doubt it will ever fully happen but the time of folks pitting one group against another and there isn't a World Cup soccer ball between, has proven more pointless as time goes on.

        In other words folks like you are us who are Christians "weakest point". A total package of anger and distrust manifested in a bunch of sound clips. I was thinking that I would find here a discussion on Burqas and folks just wanting to say "my prophet is better than your messiah". What is the goal in that? Truthfully.

        July 11, 2010 at 3:35 am |
    • Luke

      the truth sets you free – Impossible, regarding your core Christianity nonsense. One cannot accept Christianity without accepting the Old Testiment, which is absolutely riddled with violence, genocide, slavery and ritual killings. Your arguments are null and void and nothing short of cherry picking, which happens, in my opinion, to the be new core of Christianity in today's world.

      July 12, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  16. Steffiee

    "...bureaucrats start to dictate not only how people dress but also how they express their religion?"

    ***

    Sorry, but bureaucrats already dictate certain religious expression, for example polygamy. And the recent criminal trial in the northwest U.S. that found the parents guilty in the death-by-neglect of their minor child who died due to lack of medical care (their "faith healing" didn't work) sends a message also - we CAN dictate certain expressions of religion.

    July 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • Tmgaal

      You make a good point, those are absolutely ways in which the government has put a stop to certain activities that are expressions of faith. However, I do not think that the question is really whether or not they CAN but rather whether or not they SHOULD. [On the general topic] – On the one hand, I see the point of some who say that the banning of the burqa might lead the way to more stringent measures against expressions of Islamic faith but I feel like this is an argument that could be made against the making of any law. For example, one could argue that making absinthe illegal is part of a plan that will eventually lead the country back into prohibition. That is an extreme scenario, but when you follow proposed laws down hypothetical paths any reasonable suggestion can be deemed as leading to highly unacceptable situations.

      July 10, 2010 at 1:06 am |
    • Meme

      It seems obvious to me, that we SHOULD ban fully covered faces when public security is at stake such as inside a bank, public schools, or even a place of business – if the owner so chooses. If a person in the pursuit of extreme modesty, wants to bank or shop, then it becomes their burden to find alternative ways to accomplish this such as through online banking and shopping, private schools, etc. We SHOULD NOT, however, all out ban veils, burqas, niqabs, helmets, masks, et al in all public places as this violates an individuals right to safety, privacy, and freedom of expression – religious or otherwise. When I'm at the bike park, I surely desire my right to wear a full faced helmet for protection. The street entertainer should be able to wear their costume of choice, and the religious 'pious' should be able to dress as modestly as they deem appropriate for themselves.

      Security, however, SHOULD retain the right to verify the identity of any individual via photo ID, whenever their duty to public safety requires it.

      July 10, 2010 at 5:34 am |
    • Frogstomp

      I am not going to "respect" anyone's abusive customs just because they are based on their religion. If that makes me an Islamophobe or intolerant... I don't care.

      July 10, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  17. hmm...

    I wonder how the new law deals with things like Halloween or Carnival costumes?

    July 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  18. David

    OK, Muslims, you win. We believed so strongly in our freedom of religion– it was, with us, an article of faith that, if we allowed minority religions to worship as they chose, live in peace among us, and generally live their lives without our interference, we would be rewarded– not by their adopting our beliefs, mind you, but merely by their reciprocation of our tolerance, and their participation in our society. It was an ideal to which we clung very strongly– indeed, a foundational ideal of our society. You, however, made it clear that you despised us, despised our tolerance, and were here not to be among us, but above us. You seized on our tolerance and used it as a weapon against us. Now, for better or worse, the tolerance is disappearing. Claim it as a victory, if you like.

    July 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • Dev

      David,
      I can't help but agree. It is a sad situation... but that is what is happening... and my 'liberal' friends somehow pretend not to see it, lest be be called prejudiced!

      July 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Luke

      Dev – As a liberal, I will rebut, albeit modestly. It is not about being called prejudiced. In my opinion, we just don't feel that segregating out one sect of person is the answer. Islam is indeed violent, there is no dispute there. I personally just don't think Christians get a pass simply because they are in the majority. The Judaea-Christian religions are guilty of vast atrocities historically and in the present. It is more about equality than labeling you, in particular, as a racist. Simply stated, I have read about recent protests about the building of mosques in American neighborhoods out of fear of terrorism. I wonder what sort of reaction would arise if I protest the building of a Catholic Church in my neighborhood because I feared for the safety of my kids? Again, I agree that there are major issues with the teachings of Islam, but I don't for one second think that the Christian majority is innocent. Moreover, Muslims in America are afforded the same rights as you, regardless of their religion. We cannot stomp all over the 1st amendment. In this country, we face a scary decision one day possibly. If we are so scared of Islam, it may mean the tearing down of rights of all religious people or shredding the bill of rights. I hope I am not around to witness this debate when it happens.

      July 9, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • Kuulei71

      Well said David. Could not have said it better myself.

      July 9, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • DEAN

      Luke, the first time some terriorist uses one a these to blow some Americans up,see how fast the law passes in the U.S. to ban them. Bill of rights or not.

      July 9, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
    • Liz

      Wow, that is the best way to describe the changing tide of opinion that I've seen yet. You are 100% correct.

      July 10, 2010 at 12:45 am |
    • DebasisG

      Your argument has merit. However, you have painted a picture of us vs. them which is at the root of all the conflicts. It is gotten completely wild now in society. Your argument would me more appropriate if the meaning of "we" were US citizens as opposed to US Christians. In this social conflict, nobody will ever win. It will only cause more and more bloodshed. Some day some people with power will understand that it is a losing game. It is completely ridiculous fanaticism from Muslims to force veil as a religion symbolism. It has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with a symbol of protest on how they are viewed in western society. And that extreme hatred have transformed the religious group itself that there is hardly anything left to like about Muslims. It did not have to be this way.

      July 10, 2010 at 1:19 am |
    • D39

      This is crap. If we (Americans) can't stomach being exactly what we claim to be, then we deserve all the bad things that will follow from the hypocrisy. I firmly believe no one has a right to tell me or anyone else what kind of clothing I can wear barring obvious safety restrictions for things like vision/hearing while operating vehicles and the proximity of loose fabric to moving machinery. And I really don't care if someone uses my belief to wander around in a burqa, a hoodie, a ski mask, or ninja suit doing bad things. The doing bad things part is the only part that truly matters and its not going to change my opinion about any type of clothing.

      July 10, 2010 at 6:44 am |
    • Tony

      bingo!

      July 10, 2010 at 7:10 am |
    • Tony

      I replied to Dev's post

      July 10, 2010 at 7:11 am |
    • baronsternberg

      I'd have to agree, too, David. It may be that, do what we will as a culture (that of Judaeo-Chrisianity in the West), we're on track toward a world war with Islam no matter what. I don't believe that giving in on niqabs or foot-washing basins or KFC-fare or anything like that is going to avert it. It may speed the arrival of such a conflict, in fact, and undermine the numbers of those who have the proper resolve to fight for true freedom–the kind that has sane limits.

      July 12, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  19. Its Me

    No matter how u slice the issue it comes back to the reality that people are finally gettin tired of the Islamification of so many countries. Burqas,halal only KFC'S, a complete hatred for the natives and 'allah akbar' being screamed in the streets as the Muslims protest something else that week....people are tired of it and i'll be glad when the pansy liberals here in the U.S start opening their eyes before the country looks more like Karachi ,or Dearborn Michigan, instead of the United States Of America

    July 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • Charles

      @Liz
      My Bangladeshi Muslim wife is very tolerant of the fact that I am an American atheist.
      It seems like just yesterday we were discussing her tolerance while driving by Fred Phelps Christian church after having passed an abortion clinic recently bombed by a Christian while on our way to a counter protest of Christians against gay marriage.

      July 10, 2010 at 3:11 am |
    • Alex

      This is as racist and against the rights for freedom of religion as it gets. All I hear are racists complaining about Muslim this and that. Cut me a break and realize Muslims don't have any higher % of terrorism is the Western countries than any other terrorist groups such as right wing Christian groups who blow up abortion clinics and assasinate doctors who do it, seperatists groups along with many other people who are going and going to continue going to the extreme for whatever their causes are. How can you tell a woman that she's not allowed to cover her face if she chooses? Whether or not she does it for her religion or whatever else she does it for, THATS HER GOD GIVEN RIGHT regardless of her belief. What justification does someone have to tell any person what they can and cannot wear? This is just another way for christians and atheists from the West to express their racism to a group they seem to be losing to in the religious numbers and growth part of things. And all the coments about Muslims are just people expressing their racism all over again. If we compared these same comments to the comments made about the blacks, chinese, peurto ricans, irish, they would have 0 difference. Shut up already!

      July 10, 2010 at 4:29 am |
    • peace2all

      @Alex.....Can't say I have many challenges to your posting.....

      The only one is concerning atheists......You might not want to lump atheists in with the christians, as they are very, very far apart in perspectives, rationale, values..etc....

      As a 'generality', I think that you would find liberals(politically), and atheist's to be more tolerant and bridge-buliding, rather than bigotry, racism and war-mongering like a good portion(not all of course) of the conservatives and christians.

      I empathize with your being attacked......I hope that we will one day find ways to get along peacefully and in harmony with respect...

      Peace to you....

      July 10, 2010 at 4:55 am |
    • chaba

      Hm,....could you explain your logic to the native americans on the reservations?

      July 11, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      @ Alex – Stupidity only speaks stupidity and it is time to start ignoring all these fools that bash all Muslims and true followers of Christ. I am not a Muslim, neither do I believe in allah, but I will not bash Muslims because I know that many are wonderful people at heart and are very tolerant. Don't let these ignorant fools bring you down because we have to answer to God, not them!

      Peace to you, friend! ; – )

      July 11, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  20. Reality

    A burqa is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions for the purpose of hiding a female's body when out in public. It is worn over the usual daily clothing (often a long dress or a shalwar kameez) and removed when the woman returns to the sanctuary of the household (see purdah), out of the view of men that are not their husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, sons and grandsons. Obviously, Islamic males have all kinds of se–ual issues and based on the 24/7 bombings also have suicide issues. Might it be time for Islamic males to sit down and review the basics of life??

    July 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
    • Argument

      Islamic males are just like every other male in society. There isn't a big distinction when Christian colleges request that women don't wear shorts in the middle of the summer or anything revealing. If Muslim women decide – key word is decide – that this is how they want to express their faith, so be it. The same is true when European countries include the clerical collar for the ban on religious garments. It's not a matter of individual choice; the government has decided for you that this outerwear is inappropriate. Before accusing people of certain religions of being totally against women or for a particular sect committing suicide, us, as a people must remember that no one is perfect. There are Christian sects that believe using a rosary to pray is a way to get closer to God, even through God never ordained such symbols in the Bible. However, no one would be questioned if the person desires to pray out in the open with a rosary. To me as an American, this is just a symbol of their faith, nothing more.

      July 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
      • sev

        Rosary doesn't prevent you to see the people in front of you;)

        July 10, 2010 at 3:09 am |
    • Luke

      Argument – Good point, but it is mainly a security risk. Most 1st world nations do not allow civilians to be covered in public to prevent simple things, like robbing a bank for instance.

      July 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • what2say

      Funny how so many terrorists use it to sneak out or to hide weapons. Wait until it is used to blow up a thing or two in Europe or the USA. Maybe then poeple will think twice about banning.

      July 9, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • felix sabiniano

      @argument........does praying rosary pose any security risk to you? does it stop people from recognizing you personally aside from the obvious factvthat you are catholic? this is not about religious freedom. dont be so proud of america as the bastion of religious freedom.

      July 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • MahJ

      Before leaping onto the "security risk" bandwagon and banning the veil for that alleged reason, can we please see some statistics as to HOW many banks have been robbed in X European country by someone wearing the burqa? If it actually is a growing trend, then give banks the permission to add "veil" to the inappropriate attire sign at their doors.

      I am pretty confident there is no "trend". Ignorant rascists are attempting to hide their Islamophobia behind "security concerns".

      And plus, if there was a bank-robbing trend, then shouldn't the laws have little to do with parks or other public places?

      July 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • RichP, easton, pa

      In certain areas it's a really fast way for women to die or commit suicide. Stupid on their part.

      July 9, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Reality

      Luke noted:

      the truth sets you free – By the way; The Nazis were mostly Catholic. Not a 1 has ever been excommunicated by the Church. Not even Hitler himself, for the record

      Hitler and his "Catholicism":

      According to historian Richard Steigmann-Gall, much is known about Hitler's views on religion through Hitler's book, Mein Kampf.[14] In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote neither as an atheist, an agnostic, nor as a believer in a remote, rationalist divinity. Instead he expressed his belief in one providential, active, deity:

      "What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and the reproduction of our race...so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe...Peoples that b-stardize themselves, or let themselves be b-stardized, sin against the will of eternal Providence."

      Derek Hastings sees Hitler's commitment to Christianity as more tenuous. He considers it "eminently plausible" that Hitler was a believing Catholic as late as his trial in 1924, but writes that "there is little doubt that Hitler was a staunch opponent of Christianity throughout the duration of the Third Reich.

      July 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • JJ

      i am really not sure how wering a burka is a security risk....

      I can go to my local Walmart and pick up balaclava or ski mask .....whats the difference?????

      July 9, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • Volker

      If you simply copy-and-paste entire paragraphs, you should at least acknowledge the source; otherwise you are comitting plagiarism – that's the Reality of posting opinion (innuendo intended)

      July 9, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
    • Michael

      [Quote]If it actually is a growing trend, then give banks the permission to add "veil" to the inappropriate attire sign at their doors.[/Quote]
      I presume you haven't heard a case of muslima go ballistic and sue the school in Quebec when she was refused to enter class because of this ninja mask.

      July 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • nima

      @ JJ if you walk around with a balaclava or ski mask for no reason you will arrested as a security threat not a terrorist one but still it is illegal to walk around with these things in most public places.

      July 9, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
    • zeev

      i've seen more full facial nikabs in new york city recently. mostly in deep brooklyn but a few in manhattan.
      there is a war of culture. i favor a culture of enlightenment based on principles of respect and self actualization. within islam there are large schisms regarding culture of enlightenment and culture of feudal property and social repression.

      this war will always exist. the sad thing is liberals don't have the common sense to acknowledge this and just get on board with making it illegal to cover your face (anything above your chin cheeks and nose. in public.

      of course the rational will be 'public order' and identifiying criminals. but these women are no menace and are not criminals. this is mere pretense. lets just be honest and tell them their culture will not be accepted by us because our culture is superior in our eyes and took us centuries of struggle to establish. if they want their culture of proselytizing women and restricting female behavior out of the home, they go back home to their countries of origin.

      the longer this danger is allowed to exist in our country the more people will become accostmed to it and believe that this is acceptable social behavior. it is not. ignoring it makes it stronger.

      July 9, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
      • peace2all

        @zeev.....Interesting post...and I understand and respect some of your thoughts on the matter, however, there is one thing you said that is inaccurate....

        "....the sad thing is(liberals) don't have the common sense to acknowledge this and just get on board with making it illegal to cover your face (anything above your chin, cheeks and nose in public.)"

        First, I gotta say, that it is the (conservatives) at least the majority I know...and I know a lot of them....don't even want the muslims in this country(U.S), and could care less about the different cultural and religious distinctions within the religion of Islam.

        Quite the contrary,,,,,it is absolutely much more likely and plausible, just given the values, 'in general' of the liberals, that they would be and are much, much more sensitive to the cultural differences and distinctions for muslim women, and Islam in general. Liberals tend to fight for freedoms of expression and religion, while conservatives tend to fight for issues like abortion and gay relationships....again, the typical died in the wool conservative would be pretty much happier if the mulims...all of them went back to muslim majority countries....

        Just read all of the postings here....and you will find a pretty good sampling and see that I am correct here....

        So, I for one wish any woman, which includes peaceful muslim women and peaceful christian women freedom to express their faiths, without trying to turn this country into a 1 religion country(theocracy).....

        Peace to you....

        July 10, 2010 at 4:01 am |
    • Mr. A

      This is simple.... I live in the Middle East and if those who oppose the bans of Europe and other Western countries think it's unfair. Then ask your Muslim countries to allow us to practice freely and display our Cross's in public. Allow us to build Cathedrals and Chapels in your cities (Riyad, Dubai, Tehran, Muscat and Doha). Allow us to speak to others about our faith without fear of repercussions. The way I see it, you ask of us in while our country, but do not allow us the same while we are in yours. Now that is very hypocritical.
      I see hypocracy running wild in the Middle East, the Alchohol, drugs, and prostitution. The very same the so called religious fanatics and consevatives condemm the West for on a daily bases. These thing do happen here. I was in Bahrain once, and a Saudi said to me that "Allah" can not see what he does outside his country. So what ever he does is OK. WOW.....that really threw me for a loop. Since then I tend te look out for the don't of this world and I am amazed.
      The bottom line is 'Practice what you Preach and Allow other to do as wish to do"

      July 10, 2010 at 12:24 am |
    • someotherguy

      I think banning them in public is a very good idea. A top Taliban Commander in one of the Afghan provinces dressed up in a burqa tossed a grenade at US troops, after he was shot it was discovered who he was. As far as religous stuff goes "praying to God" has been stopped for christians (not banned but rather you have no place to do it) in many public US schools so the burqa can go as well.

      July 10, 2010 at 7:00 am |
    • Reality flip side

      Religion is an extremely personal issue and any religion is, in fact, a way of life. The covering of the woman in the Muslim religion is to prevent sin coming upon the woman and upon the man if her beauty causes immoral thoughts. The degree of covering varies depending on the woman, her family and her belief.
      We cannot hope to understand the complexities of any other faith if we don't believe it ourselves, because things that mean heaven or hell to them may not make sense to people of other faiths. To them their immortal soul is on the line. We would not be able to force a practicing christian to commit adultery simply on the grounds of "we believe it's ok" and changing your religious beliefs is not the same as speaking a new language or going to a new school. "When in Rome.." doesn't cover your personal religious beliefs otherwise it would mean that anyone moving to Tibet must convert to Buddhism or in India, to Hinduism.
      The only problem here is that certain religions have an external component, but simply because this component is externally visible should not make it any different, or less important, than the internal components found in other religions.
      A persons belief in what happens in eternity and how o have a good eternity is huge to them. This is why accepting and upholding the freedom of religion is so important

      July 10, 2010 at 9:12 am |
    • chaba

      I find that covering myself modestly helps me keep conversations and looks from all people focused on the conversation at hand. I am a rural midwesterner and it appalls me that anybody should attempt to tell me how much of my body must be exposed in order to make them feel better. It's a liberty to not always be on display. I grew up "Protestant" but converted to Judaism who lived and lived an observant life that actually parallels the modesty laws of Islam and even dated a Muslim for a year. I am also a soldier (& former Army rugby player) who rides a Harley,....and still cover my head. I've NEVER felt second-rate with the Muslims in the U.S. & I'd back any Muslimah who chooses to don a Burqah.

      July 11, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • Stephen

      This so-called "Islamic Tradition" (burquas, veils, etc) is CULTURAL GENOCIDE for Europeans within a European context. This is not European.

      July 12, 2010 at 9:41 am |
    • Art

      Sorry MahJ, but you're wrong. Maybe Burqa clad people haven't robbed banks yet but they certainly have used the burqa to hide explosives when they blew themselves up and killing many others with them. One of the most wanted terrorists in the UK got out of the country by wearing a burqa. Burqas are a security risk whether you admit it or not. Other wanted terrorists have also escaped capture by wearing burqas.

      July 12, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.