Should the Burqa be banned in Western countries?

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Volf:

Gethsemani:
snip

If you had bothered to look, each instance of violence that the site has recorded, has a source.

Here are the acts of violence against homosexuals that the site featured(you'll notice that there are various/different sources of these events)....

The first source is, I re-iterate, Bruce Bawer, a famous agitator against islam and proponent of the Eurabia theory. A few other sources are blogs (hardly reliable sources). NIS News is a decent source. However, the site itself is a collection of anecdotes and as such is unreliable at best and outright false at worst. A good source would, for example, compare the number of islamist attacks against GLBT people with the number of non-islamist attacks against GLBT people and then account for population etc. to derive an estimated number of attacks per capita for the groups it was studying. Because if the number of islamist attacks is equal or lower per capita then non-islamist, then we might even suspect that islam might not be a major factor in homophobic violence.

Hence, I'll say it again and in a very abbreviated way:
A dubious source should always be ignored, even if it supports your position. This is basic scientific method for the "soft" sciences.

Dryk:

Cowpoo:
"If you wish to speak with anyone in this society, you are to show your face".

That you're saying that you have trouble recognising the faceless as humans explains a lot about how you're treating the faceless on this forum.

I'm more or less arguing the same position as Cowpoo here (although not in exactly the same way). I'm not approaching this from an anti-theist angle (for once, some may say), or a cultural superiority angle, or a racist angle or a sexist angle or a pro-feminist angle.

When I talk to somebody, I like to be able to see their face. Please could people just take this statement at face value (ho ho) without projecting onto it all manner of personal inadequacies or cultural phobias or, most patronisingly of all, "a fear of people who don't look like you do".

If I was having a conversation with somebody in real life, I wouldn't expect them to talk with their back turned to me. Nor would I feel comfortable if they pointedly avoided eye-contact, or spoke with their hand over their mouth, because all of the above is body language associated with shyness, dishonesty or disrespect. In face-to-face speech, it's been reckoned that anywhere up to 90% of the communication is non-verbal: it also comes from intonation, delivery, hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions. If you're putting up a barrier that blocks out one or more of those fairly crucial elements, then you're undermining the ability to communicate effectively.

Bringing up the counter-point of communicating by email or right here on the Escapist is a red herring because of course we don't type in the same way that we speak. Textual communication isn't real-time so we have the luxury of drafting and editing our posts, introducing and developing our ideas through fully-formed clauses, and so on. Nobody in real life speaks in full sentences unless they're delivering a speech or are a phenomenal bore who's talking over everybody - a hallmark of conversation is that we tend to speak in truncated semi-sentences, finish each other's sentences, interject mid-sentence, and respond through non-verbal utterances and noises ("uh huh", "hmm?", "haha", and so on). Even then textual communication isn't perfect, which is exactly why emoticons and smileys evolved to allow people to add more context-specific content to short posts, in a way which is directly analogous to looking at a person's facial expressions while you're talking to them.

...

No, none of this lends any absolute and concrete support to either side of the burqa debate, but it'd be nice to discuss this on a level slightly higher than "Hurr durr, why U hate muslims, guess we'd better ban all clothes then huh?"

Gethsemani:

Volf:

Gethsemani:
snip

If you had bothered to look, each instance of violence that the site has recorded, has a source.

Here are the acts of violence against homosexuals that the site featured(you'll notice that there are various/different sources of these events)....

The first source is, I re-iterate, Bruce Bawer, a famous agitator against islam and proponent of the Eurabia theory. A few other sources are blogs (hardly reliable sources). NIS News is a decent source. However, the site itself is a collection of anecdotes and as such is unreliable at best and outright false at worst. A good source would, for example, compare the number of islamist attacks against GLBT people with the number of non-islamist attacks against GLBT people and then account for population etc. to derive an estimated number of attacks per capita for the groups it was studying. Because if the number of islamist attacks is equal or lower per capita then non-islamist, then we might even suspect that islam might not be a major factor in homophobic violence.

Hence, I'll say it again and in a very abbreviated way:
A dubious source should always be ignored, even if it supports your position. This is basic scientific method for the "soft" sciences.

and another source is a gay news site.

My point was and has been that these articles are not just from the site that you don't like, but that they all have sources.

But this has been derailed enough, my original point was to show that homosexuals do face violence from the Muslim community as Blah pointed out.

Batou667:

Dryk:

Cowpoo:
"If you wish to speak with anyone in this society, you are to show your face".

That you're saying that you have trouble recognising the faceless as humans explains a lot about how you're treating the faceless on this forum.

I'm more or less arguing the same position as Cowpoo here (although not in exactly the same way). I'm not approaching this from an anti-theist angle (for once, some may say), or a cultural superiority angle, or a racist angle or a sexist angle or a pro-feminist angle.

When I talk to somebody, I like to be able to see their face. Please could people just take this statement at face value (ho ho) without projecting onto it all manner of personal inadequacies or cultural phobias or, most patronisingly of all, "a fear of people who don't look like you do".

If I was having a conversation with somebody in real life, I wouldn't expect them to talk with their back turned to me. Nor would I feel comfortable if they pointedly avoided eye-contact, or spoke with their hand over their mouth, because all of the above is body language associated with shyness, dishonesty or disrespect. In face-to-face speech, it's been reckoned that anywhere up to 90% of the communication is non-verbal: it also comes from intonation, delivery, hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions. If you're putting up a barrier that blocks out one or more of those fairly crucial elements, then you're undermining the ability to communicate effectively.

Bringing up the counter-point of communicating by email or right here on the Escapist is a red herring because of course we don't type in the same way that we speak. Textual communication isn't real-time so we have the luxury of drafting and editing our posts, introducing and developing our ideas through fully-formed clauses, and so on. Nobody in real life speaks in full sentences unless they're delivering a speech or are a phenomenal bore who's talking over everybody - a hallmark of conversation is that we tend to speak in truncated semi-sentences, finish each other's sentences, interject mid-sentence, and respond through non-verbal utterances and noises ("uh huh", "hmm?", "haha", and so on). Even then textual communication isn't perfect, which is exactly why emoticons and smileys evolved to allow people to add more context-specific content to short posts, in a way which is directly analogous to looking at a person's facial expressions while you're talking to them.

...

No, none of this lends any absolute and concrete support to either side of the burqa debate, but it'd be nice to discuss this on a level slightly higher than "Hurr durr, why U hate muslims, guess we'd better ban all clothes then huh?"

wow...just wow. Very well said.

It's a tricky stance. There is a lot of misogyny in the high religious authority of Islam (Of course the same holds true of Christianity) and while i am opposed to forcing women to wear them, i'm opposed to a complete ban. I think it should be an educated choice, not a "You have to/you can't" ruling. I'm not exactly holding my breath for any real progress to be made until conditions improve in the Middle-East.

Which is to say, things will improve when pigs fly out of my ass.

My opinion?

No it shouldn't be outright banned, but for identification purposes it should be removed and the police should have the right to ask someone to remove their Burqa.

Warning: Vitriol.

It's a piece of clothing, for fuck's sake. Yes, it does have some religious connotations, but that does make for a good parallel here: would you also prohibit someone from wearing a cross? If the answer is "yes," then good for you! You're for equality, but you're taking this a bit far. If the answer is "no," then you're making this decision based upon nothing more than fear. Congrats.

Asking someone to show their face for identification is reasonable. Saying that you can't wear one ever is unreasonable.

Naheal:
Warning: Vitriol.

It's a piece of clothing, for fuck's sake. Yes, it does have some religious connotations, but that does make for a good parallel here: would you also prohibit someone from wearing a cross? If the answer is "yes," then good for you! You're for equality, but you're taking this a bit far. If the answer is "no," then you're making this decision based upon nothing more than fear. Congrats.

Asking someone to show their face for identification is reasonable. Saying that you can't wear one ever is unreasonable.

A cross doesn't conceal your face.

Volf:

Naheal:
Warning: Vitriol.

It's a piece of clothing, for fuck's sake. Yes, it does have some religious connotations, but that does make for a good parallel here: would you also prohibit someone from wearing a cross? If the answer is "yes," then good for you! You're for equality, but you're taking this a bit far. If the answer is "no," then you're making this decision based upon nothing more than fear. Congrats.

Asking someone to show their face for identification is reasonable. Saying that you can't wear one ever is unreasonable.

A cross doesn't conceal your face.

And Jews were persecuted for covering their heads indoors.

The fact that they covered their face doesn't change the fact its just a fashion choice.

Kendarik:

Volf:

Naheal:
Warning: Vitriol.

It's a piece of clothing, for fuck's sake. Yes, it does have some religious connotations, but that does make for a good parallel here: would you also prohibit someone from wearing a cross? If the answer is "yes," then good for you! You're for equality, but you're taking this a bit far. If the answer is "no," then you're making this decision based upon nothing more than fear. Congrats.

Asking someone to show their face for identification is reasonable. Saying that you can't wear one ever is unreasonable.

A cross doesn't conceal your face.

And Jews were persecuted for covering their heads indoors.

The fact that they covered their face doesn't change the fact its just a fashion choice.

The problem that I have heard people voice is that you can't see the persons face, so it makes it hard to communicate. People are not saying that a hijab should be banned, just a burqa.

Volf:

Kendarik:

Volf:
A cross doesn't conceal your face.

And Jews were persecuted for covering their heads indoors.

The fact that they covered their face doesn't change the fact its just a fashion choice.

The problem that I have heard people voice is that you can't see the persons face, so it makes it hard to communicate. People are not saying that a hijab should be banned, just a burqa.

You are right, we should immediately ban the phone and the internet! After all, there is no way to communicate without seeing my face!

While it is true that without the face you miss out on some body language, covering your body also limits the body language. In some cultures (parts of Asia for example) you don't necessarily make eye/face contact anyway throughout a conversation. Humans work that stuff out.

Keep the Burqa legal, just make it so that, for things like Photo I.D.'s, Trials, and work that has a Dress Code, you can't wear a Burqa. That makes sense!

Volf:

Naheal:
Warning: Vitriol.

It's a piece of clothing, for fuck's sake. Yes, it does have some religious connotations, but that does make for a good parallel here: would you also prohibit someone from wearing a cross? If the answer is "yes," then good for you! You're for equality, but you're taking this a bit far. If the answer is "no," then you're making this decision based upon nothing more than fear. Congrats.

Asking someone to show their face for identification is reasonable. Saying that you can't wear one ever is unreasonable.

A cross doesn't conceal your face.

the cross i wear very much covers my face. http://www.bikershop.co/neoprene-iron-cross-face-mask/

Volf:

Kendarik:

Volf:
A cross doesn't conceal your face.

And Jews were persecuted for covering their heads indoors.

The fact that they covered their face doesn't change the fact its just a fashion choice.

The problem that I have heard people voice is that you can't see the persons face, so it makes it hard to communicate. People are not saying that a hijab should be banned, just a burqa.

Well gee, I guess looking away from people while talking to them must be banned. As must Halloween. As must Catholic confessionals. If I dare to speak to someone from another room the police should get involved.

In the US it's a definitive no on Constitutional grounds. If I lived in a country where this was possible I'd probably vote yes, more because it seems like a check to put on radical beliefs than because of the burqa itself.

Pumpkin_Eater:
In the US it's a definitive no on Constitutional grounds. If I lived in a country where this was possible I'd probably vote yes, more because it seems like a check to put on radical beliefs than because of the burqa itself.

We should ban radical beliefs? For example, everyone in the Occupy movement should be jailed? The communist party and the libertarian party should be banned?

Ban violence, not thinking you disagree with.

i cant see any problem with wearing what ever you want. as long as you abide by the laws.

like not covering your face/idenity when entering banks or being pulled over by the police.

if average joe blogs cant do it while wearing a mask or balaclva then i dont think religious tolerance should mean a burqa should be allowed.

from the burqa = slavery/oppression point of view i think these women are big girls now and can choose what they want. especially in western countries. they can either choose to wear traditional clothing or not. either way has consequences. they are free to choose.

Craorach:
Of course it shouldn't be banned. It's clothing.

Should they be required to show their face in the same places everyone else is? Of course. ID, Banks, Servos, etc.

Nikolaz72:
Im 'for' banning the Burqa. But not for the same reason of most Christians in the country. . .

What reasons?

Primarily, I object to any individual claiming that religious tenets require them to behave in a manner that could present an honest, identifiable* risk to the public. Secondarily, I object to many individuals claiming their 'religious prerogatives' preempt many of my rights, and not receiving the same courtesy in their land of origin.

All in all, I'm not really concerned that some individuals want to retain items that pertain to their culture, religion or ethnicity, provided that those items do not cause an undue risk of accident or an opportunity to readily defy laws by means of rendering themselves unidentifiable.

I am just going to interlace my coments into the post, mine will be**

Aerodyamic:

Craorach:
Of course it shouldn't be banned. It's clothing.

Should they be required to show their face in the same places everyone else is? Of course. ID, Banks, Servos, etc.

Nikolaz72:
Im 'for' banning the Burqa. But not for the same reason of most Christians in the country. . .

What reasons?

Primarily, I object to any individual claiming that religious tenets require them to behave in a manner that could present an honest, identifiable* risk to the public. Secondarily, I object to many individuals claiming their 'religious prerogatives' preempt many of my rights, and not receiving the same courtesy in their land of origin.

*I can agree with this part at least*

*What the hell does this have to do with a woman choosing to wear a Burqa in your country. There is so much wrong with this I am not sure where to start. Its like saying that in england because they do not alow the carry of firearms if i visited there, if an english person were to immigrate to the US they can not drive a car. those two things are completly un related. Even if they were related someone's freedoms are not based on what thier country of origin does or does not alow. Than on top of all that Islam is a religion not a country. Any one any where in the world can decide that tomorrow they will convert to Islam and become a muslim. You can be muslim even if you pure jappanese. In the 50's and 60's in the US there was a number of african americans that converted to Islam, which means their country of orign gives you the same rights as they them selves get.*


*As for the first part, and that is any different from a criminal who wore a ski mask during a crime how?*

*For the second part, I agree*

*Third part, that is soley the fault of your goverment, Even if the person lied to get it(in which case they should be punished) it is still your goverments responsibility to ensure they are capable of driving. If I immigrated to your country and said I can fly 747's I would hope your goverment would not just hand me a pilots licence. If they did and a company hired me to fly 747's it would still be your goverments fault.*

*For the most part I agree*

All in all, I'm not really concerned that some individuals want to retain items that pertain to their culture, religion or ethnicity, provided that those items do not cause an undue risk of accident or an opportunity to readily defy laws by means of rendering themselves unidentifiable.

If it's an actual saftey risk than sure they should not be wearing the Burqa. On the other hand just because some one has the ability to readily defy laws ny wearing a burqu is not a good reason to ban them. Durring cold winters people wear ski masks, which gives them the same opportunities to defy the laws

Aerodyamic:

All in all, I'm not really concerned that some individuals want to retain items that pertain to their culture, religion or ethnicity, provided that those items do not cause an undue risk of accident or an opportunity to readily defy laws by means of rendering themselves unidentifiable.

So you plan to ban all face coverings? Surgical masks? Ski masks? Wooly scarves? Motorcycle helmet face shields? Probably sunglasses too? While we're at it, excessive makeup, hair dye, wigs, theatrical makeup, prostetic facial devices, etc. LOTS of things make you hard to recognize visually.

I don't like them. Its like a mask, and is visually unpleasing to me. This is not to say that I could justify them being banned altogether, simply that if it were to happen I wouldn't be sad about it.

Luna:
I don't like them. Its like a mask, and is visually unpleasing to me. This is not to say that I could justify them being banned altogether, simply that if it were to happen I wouldn't be sad about it.

I despise people with this line of thought. In my opinion this is worst than people that want to ban them out of racism. You basicly just said "I have no problem with infringing on the rights of others for no reason other than to suit myself." At least with wanting infinging on someones's rights because of racism that usually means there is other reasoning behind it (ie. they're all terrorists, they're too dumb to vote, ect...) Sure the reasoning is based on extreamly flawed ideas, but its still better than "because I do not like it"

Nikolaz72:

Craorach:
Of course it shouldn't be banned. It's clothing.

Should they be required to show their face in the same places everyone else is? Of course. ID, Banks, Servos, etc.

Nikolaz72:
Im 'for' banning the Burqa. But not for the same reason of most Christians in the country. . .

What reasons?

Well. Because while we may see it as a piece of clothing, and they might use it as a defense. Truly, its a religious symbol. And they see it that way. And not a religious symbol like one that is about faith in your deity, but more a religious symbol like a chain. And from a purely ideological point of view, im against that.

Its in the Khoran, its openly admitted in Saudi-Arabia. And its a piece of culture that doesnt belong in a modernized soceity. Slavery, whatever name it carries. Is illegal in our country, and if Dothraki refugees came to us, I would also be against them trying to get at 'least' one kill before the ending of a wedding. Because murder is also illegal.

It seems more from the few quotes from the Qu'ran that it's just about keeping lustful thoughts out of the minds of men. It's not common throughout the Arab states anyway to be mandatory, hell in Syria it's even banned in schools. I don't see anything wrong with it anyway aside from the health consequences.

JSF01:

Luna:
I don't like them. Its like a mask, and is visually unpleasing to me. This is not to say that I could justify them being banned altogether, simply that if it were to happen I wouldn't be sad about it.

I despise people with this line of thought. In my opinion this is worst than people that want to ban them out of racism. You basicly just said "I have no problem with infringing on the rights of others for no reason other than to suit myself." At least with wanting infinging on someones's rights because of racism that usually means there is other reasoning behind it (ie. they're all terrorists, they're too dumb to vote, ect...) Sure the reasoning is based on extreamly flawed ideas, but its still better than "because I do not like it"

If there was a public vote to ban such headwear, I would not vote against it, (I would not vote to ban it). Simply put, if it happened and it were banned I would not be very sad about it.

Please learn to read posts properly before responding.

Kendarik:

We should ban radical beliefs? For example, everyone in the Occupy movement should be jailed? The communist party and the libertarian party should be banned?

Ban violence, not thinking you disagree with.

None of those groups use violence to achieve their ends, so I wouldn't classify them as radical.

No, just no. That would be like banning clean-shaven men in Amish societies.

We've come a long way to stop/prevent/halt religious abuse through the ages and if we start again now we're just un-doing all the good that we've done.

It's a woman's choice to wear the Burkha, and if she wants to wear it then let her. It's in the view of Islam as a religion to wear the Burkha for women and as I said before it's also her choice.

You wouldn't ban a christian woman for wearing her wedding ring, or a cross around her neck would you?

Australia may be a predominantly christian country, but people the world needs to realise that there are many people, who have many different beliefs and practices who are naturally going to mingle on this increasingly crowded planet.

Banning anything to do with people's beliefs will just lead to more bigotry and hate, riots and second-class citizenry

Luna:

If there was a public vote to ban such headwear, I would not vote against it, (I would not vote to ban it). Simply put, if it happened and it were banned I would not be very sad about it.

Do you mean that you wouldn't vote at all, or that you would vote against the ban?

If you wouldn't vote at all, then I think JSF01's point is still somewhat valid, because you're allowing other people's rights to be taken away due to apathy.

JSF01:
I am just going to interlace my coments into the post, mine will be**

I felt my response was too mashed up to try to interweave it, so I'll just bang if off.

To the other people that responded to me, I started responding to this post, and was interrupted during the process, so I apologize if I haven't responded to any other comments made, concerning my previous post.

Captcha: Walk free.

If they want to wear it, they have to right to wear it. We don't have the right to take away anyone's freedoms.

Wolverine18:

Aerodyamic:

All in all, I'm not really concerned that some individuals want to retain items that pertain to their culture, religion or ethnicity, provided that those items do not cause an undue risk of accident or an opportunity to readily defy laws by means of rendering themselves unidentifiable.

So you plan to ban all face coverings? Surgical masks? Ski masks? Wooly scarves? Motorcycle helmet face shields? Probably sunglasses too? While we're at it, excessive makeup, hair dye, wigs, theatrical makeup, prostetic facial devices, etc. LOTS of things make you hard to recognize visually.

If those things are used to prevent identification of a person committing a crime, then most countries have laws concerning those actions, and prosecute accordingly. Maybe you should read my post above with the spoilers, and especially read the bit about the fitness centre my girlfriend goes to, and in particular, examine the bit where I describe how the female muslim patrons gain access to the facility.

If you're hoping to find something to be offended about, just keep looking hard enough, and you'll always find something.

As a note:

Most of the things you've described can actually be items which make identification easier; what's the one thing that almost everyone born in the western world in the last 60 years remembers the most about Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford?

Pumpkin_Eater:

Kendarik:

We should ban radical beliefs? For example, everyone in the Occupy movement should be jailed? The communist party and the libertarian party should be banned?

Ban violence, not thinking you disagree with.

None of those groups use violence to achieve their ends, so I wouldn't classify them as radical.

Apart from the Occupiers (in Portland among others) that threw such things as bottles and rocks against the police, you mean? Besides, radical does not mean violent it only means it lies outside of the conventional or traditional.

Here, let Dictionary.com help you:

rad·i·cal
adjective
1.
of or going to the root or origin; fundamental: a radical difference.

2.
thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms: a radical change in the policy of a company.

3.
favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.

4.
forming a basis or foundation.

5.
existing inherently in a thing or person: radical defects of character.

Either way, do you care to prove to me that women wearing burqas or niqabs are much more violent then non-veiled women? Alternatively, can you prove the burqa or niqab incites violence from those that wear it? Or are you trying to get to violent, radical muslims by infringing on the rights of women that proably have done nothing to deserve such infringements?

Aerodyamic:

Wolverine18:

Aerodyamic:

All in all, I'm not really concerned that some individuals want to retain items that pertain to their culture, religion or ethnicity, provided that those items do not cause an undue risk of accident or an opportunity to readily defy laws by means of rendering themselves unidentifiable.

So you plan to ban all face coverings? Surgical masks? Ski masks? Wooly scarves? Motorcycle helmet face shields? Probably sunglasses too? While we're at it, excessive makeup, hair dye, wigs, theatrical makeup, prostetic facial devices, etc. LOTS of things make you hard to recognize visually.

If those things are used to prevent identification of a person committing a crime, then most countries have laws concerning those actions, and prosecute accordingly. Maybe you should read my post above with the spoilers, and especially read the bit about the fitness centre my girlfriend goes to, and in particular, examine the bit where I describe how the female muslim patrons gain access to the facility.

If you're hoping to find something to be offended about, just keep looking hard enough, and you'll always find something.

As a note:

Most of the things you've described can actually be items which make identification easier; what's the one thing that almost everyone born in the western world in the last 60 years remembers the most about Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford?

I'd say we remember their legs. So lets ban pants! Skirts only!

As for the laws in place against wearing a disguse during a robbery, yes, those laws already exist, so we don't need to ban legitimate use of ski masks, sun glasses, fake noses, and burkas.

BrassButtons:

Luna:

If there was a public vote to ban such headwear, I would not vote against it, (I would not vote to ban it). Simply put, if it happened and it were banned I would not be very sad about it.

Do you mean that you wouldn't vote at all, or that you would vote against the ban?

If you wouldn't vote at all, then I think JSF01's point is still somewhat valid, because you're allowing other people's rights to be taken away due to apathy.

I wouldn't vote at all.

I can see why you'd say apathy because I haven't given much of a real explanation yet.

These women wear these things because it is a part of their religion. Frankly I think Islam is as much of a fairy tale as Christianity, so there is no logical reason to wear one. Maybe Islam is the right religion. Maybe, and much more likely considering the many many thousand types of religions, it is the wrong religion. Maybe there is no right religion. Maybe everybody goes to heaven except women who wear burquas. Hell, maybe everybody who plays guitar goes to heaven. Who knows?

These women choose to wear these things which I find intimidating and distasteful. They are however very important to them, easily more important to them than they are important for me to want to get rid of. So I'm in the middle on this one. Hence I would not vote.

The idea of religious freedom sounds nice. But if it were someone's religion to be homicidal, they'd be locked up. Hence there are limitations to religious freedom, limitations decided by common sense. I'm not comparing these women or Islam to a homicidal religion, simply that it should not be so surprising that people want to limit things which affect them directly, especially in a country where the cultures clash.

Wolverine18:

Aerodyamic:

Wolverine18:

So you plan to ban all face coverings? Surgical masks? Ski masks? Wooly scarves? Motorcycle helmet face shields? Probably sunglasses too? While we're at it, excessive makeup, hair dye, wigs, theatrical makeup, prostetic facial devices, etc. LOTS of things make you hard to recognize visually.

If those things are used to prevent identification of a person committing a crime, then most countries have laws concerning those actions, and prosecute accordingly. Maybe you should read my post above with the spoilers, and especially read the bit about the fitness centre my girlfriend goes to, and in particular, examine the bit where I describe how the female muslim patrons gain access to the facility.

If you're hoping to find something to be offended about, just keep looking hard enough, and you'll always find something.

As a note:

Most of the things you've described can actually be items which make identification easier; what's the one thing that almost everyone born in the western world in the last 60 years remembers the most about Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford?

I'd say we remember their legs. So lets ban pants! Skirts only!

As for the laws in place against wearing a disguse during a robbery, yes, those laws already exist, so we don't need to ban legitimate use of ski masks, sun glasses, fake noses, and burkas.

I very clearly associate their beauty marks with the mention of either of them, but maybe that's just me.

That said, if a situation requires positive identification of an individual, then the complaint that a religious garment supersedes the rights of the legal system to demand positive identification is invalid.

Look at the example concerning my girlfriends gym again; the Muslim women that frequent that gym dress in a conservative manner outside the premises, and only remove their head-scarves and/or veils once they are in areas where they CANNOT be seen by unrelated men. In order to enter the premises, they are required to produce a key-tag with a bar-code and use a fingerprint scanner to confirm their identity.

I don't object to those women CHOOSING to wear whatever clothes they feel are most comfortable to them, for any reason they may have; I object that we automatically fold to the 'religious prerogative' argument when the subject of them being personally responsible for providing proof of identity, when asked to do so by a authorized representative of a government.

If a Muslim woman is wearing a full burkha, and is asked by a police officer to prove her identity, I don't object that that woman would feel justified in requesting that she do so only in the presence of a female police officer, in a private manner; I object that possibility exists that she could refuse to prove her identity on religious grounds, be defended for that choice, whereas if I were to refuse that same request, I would be criminally charged and prosecuted for it, and told I'm an idiot for the whole situation.

Luna:
The idea of religious freedom sounds nice. But if it were someone's religion to be homicidal, they'd be locked up. Hence there are limitations to religious freedom, limitations decided by common sense.

Incorrect.

The limitations on religion are not decided by common sense, because as this thread has more than adequately demonstrated what many people consider to be common sense is merely their own biases for the status quo they are familiar with. Limitations on religion are decided by the degree of impact the religious behavior has on others. One does not have the absurd religious freedom to be homicidal because homicide infringes on other people's right not to be murdered. In certain situations, such as identifying women for drivers license photos for example, a niqab infringes on other people's rights (namely their right to safely regulated travel). In general however Islamic coverings in public do not infringe on people's rights because you do not have an established right to force the person you are speaking to, to show you their face or body. Therefore niqabs must not be banned in any free society except for in specific situations where their concealment can be shown to jeopardize public safety.

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