I was just reading this Hitchens article (about banning niqab veils in France) and I wanted to comment but why create a login when I can just write my response here. It seems Hitchens supports banning veiled burqas for a few great reasons, equality being one of them. I read the article and I found it most interesting, but there was something still irking me.
Although I agree that face-covering naqibs are ridiculous and oppressive, I don’t necessarily agree with banning them. Here’s why:
1. The argument is STILL about what women should (and, in this case, shouldn’t) wear — it’s a discussion that displaces the problem, instead of solves it.
2. Banning something doesn’t change minds, it just changes behaviours. If you want conversion (which I personally would prefer), legislation is not the answer. I believe that education and open dialogue is.
(p.s. I also think ALL religious people need to consider this in their own political activism, especially North American Christians)
3. I see an arrogance in the argument because it dismisses those women who actually choose to wear it. By saying “they’re not liberated enough to know any better” undermines a woman’s ability to self-reflect. While I am guilty of this very thought pattern, I am still critical of it. It’s an easy trap to fall into and, applied elsewhere, has significant implications.