More From Alder's Ledge

April 22, 2010

Socialist or Fascist?

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Battle of Burkas
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It is obvious that we Americans have just a few things in common with the Belgians. We both call ourselves democracies. We believe in civil liberties to an extent. And we both are capitalist to a point. But is it possible that our government could pass the same sort of fascist laws as Belgium?
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I would like to hope not. But when you have the French, Danes, and even the English looking at this Brussels style "Burka law" with mouths watering you might wonder. I mean this is a country that fell to Nazism with record speed and now they are moving back to the same hard line socialist style.
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You might be wondering by now what law I am referring to. This would be the law that vaguely references the Islamic headscarves some generically refer to as "burkas". The content of the law would make it illegal to wear such garments in public. Thusly banning a voluntary practice of a well established religion (under punishment of jail time or heavy fines).
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Now rewind the time period a hundred years or so and pass the same law under the same context. We aren't tossing Turkish or Moroccan Muslims into prison but instead are jailing entire monasteries. That's right... Catholics wear similar headscarves voluntarily now don't they? At least their nuns do and their priest wear those funny hats. And don't forget Jews... they wear funny hats too.
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But seriously speaking... I would be willing to fight for the right of any Muslim who willing wore a traditional garment. And despite the ideals and fantasies of the western world, most Muslim women in our sector of the world wear these garments willingly. The headscarves and the more conservative clothing worn with them are a display of modesty when the Muslim woman wears them.
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Sure, I have heard every ideal put forward on the topic. The Islamic tradition of "forcing" women to conceal their hair or face is oppressive is a popular one. The "fact" that "most or all" women who wear them are forced to do so by their husbands is another one. But after having met several dozens of Muslim women, even having befriended several, I have never met one that has worn the traditional headscarves forcibly.
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In fact, a very close friend of mine once told me that her ex-husband had tried to convince her several times to wear the headscarves. She said that he had quoted scripture and said that she should wear it out of respect for him. But in the end, she never once has put on a burka, niqab, hijab, al-amira, shayla, khimar, and especially not a chador. All of which are worn by differing Islamic cultures around the world.
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Now on the other hand, her mother wore the al-amira each and every day. Her sister wore one only when she felt like it. And several other women I worked with at this store wore al-amira scarves daily. But when asked politely, most said they wore their headscarves for the same reason I wore my cross around my neck.
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Hence where I come to my next point. If a government can ban a symbol of religious tradition why not ban another offensive symbol... crosses? Or maybe the governments of Europe can propose bans on rosary beads and dots of ash on the forehead following Lent? No, now that would be taking hard line Nazism style socialism just a bit to far. I mean after all, Europeans don't like Nazism... just agnosticism.
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So I will move on to my next point.
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Is it possible under the current administration that we too could be looking at a ban on religion or religious practices?
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It is hard to imagine that any administration would take our system of government any further toward European socialism. But at the same time we now will suffer under "Obamacare". We are looking at another expansion of government into Wall Street. And the current administration would like to gay up the military a little more too (more than Clinton did).
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So yes it is very possible that our government could find it, in much the same manner as the Belgians, a security threat to allow the "burka". After all this could also be a way to further our cultural experience by eliminating all barriers between our cultures.
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Green MP Stefaan van Hecke- "If you want good communication between all communities, and there are a lot in Brussels, it's important that we see each other when we speak to each other. I think it's very important to social contact."
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But we will have to overlook the idea that we are forcing a select group of people conform to an idea of fashion we traditionally condone. And in doing so we will strip them of a religious symbol they have traditionally condoned. Fair enough right?
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After all, they aren't asking you to turn in your cross necklaces or to give up your stars of David... if you happen to be of that minority. So why worry right? Its just a group of people you don't really care about anyhow right? Belgium

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