With a rather insane majority vote of 246:1, France’s Senate has approved a bill banning the wearing of the Islamic full veil in public. (About 2,000 Islamic women currently wear the full veil in France.) If not overturned by judges, the law would go into effect six months from now, with 150 euro fines for women who wear it and 30,000 euro fines, plus one-year jail terms, for men who force their wives to wear it.
Next, the bill has to go through France’s Constitutional Council watchdog, with another possible challenge from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Controversy, of course, is guaranteed to continue, not least because no one likes to be told what to — or not to — wear. And then you throw in, you know, “personal religious beliefs” and stuff:
Muslims believe the latest legislation is one more blow to France’s second religion, and risks raising the level of Islamophobia in a country where mosques, like synagogues, are sporadic targets of hate. Some women have vowed to wear a full-face veil despite the law.
Meanwhile, the women in Spain and Belgium are considering doing the same.
But, seriously, if we’re going to talk clothing bans, we’ve got a long list of offenders over here, and none of them are related to Islam. What about berets? Those things are god-awful, and look good on practically no one. And, at the very least, certain people who will remain nameless should be fined for unsafe use of spandex.
Or we could all just go naked.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 14, 2010