Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Dutch have reached a new level of authoritarianism

Across Europe, the campaign against the veil now has an established pattern; and it has nothing to do with integration

Naima Bouteldja
Tuesday November 21, 2006
The Guardian

The political hubbub that greeted Jack Straw's comments on the veil seems to have inspired a new continental fashion. Latest to join the fray is the Dutch government, which in the run-up to tomorrow's general election announced plans to ban the wearing of the burka and face veil in public. By doing so, it has raised what is becoming a Europe-wide campaign to a new level of authoritarianism. Naima Azough, a Dutch Green MP, points out that the ban would apply to fewer than 100 women. "This didn't come from public pressure," she says, "but was initiated by the immigration minister, Rita Verdonk, whose Liberal-Conservative party is scrambling for far-right votes." The result will simply reinforce the perception of Muslims that they will never be accepted in Dutch society.

In Italy, the debate has been raging since the prime minister, Romano Prodi, was asked to comment on Straw's views. That followed a farcical TV show in which a rightwing MP, Daniela Santanchè, clashed with the imam of a Milan mosque on the subject. Santanchè has since been under police protection, convinced that the imam's statement that she didn't have the knowledge to comment on Islam amounted to a fatwa against her. "The veil is at best worn by 50 women in the whole country," says Hamza Ricardo Piccardo, spokesperson of the Italian Muslim Council, "and people in the street just don't care."

Of course, the dress code of Muslim women was making headlines across Europe long before Straw weighed in. The wearing of the headscarf by teachers is already forbidden in schools in several German states. In Belgium, the minister-president of the Walloon-Brussels region last year authorised state schools to ban the headscarf. The result has been the creation of ghettoised schools.
Full article here


At 11:31 AM, Blogger markfromireland said...


Who writes on my blog and as an Iraqi living in Iraq knows a thing or two on an empirical level both about authoritarianism and the results of western Islamophobia has photographic proof! that Elvis wanted to be a hot Islamic chick. These days he'd probably be stoned on the prinsengaacht and I use the word "stoned" in its biblical meaning.

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Good pic!


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