Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Night With a Beer (or whatever) -Part 2

We went on a kayak trip down a rain swollen river today, the scout troop and I, and save for a nasty sunburn on the top of my foot (actually both-but one is decidedly worse than the other)  I fared fairly well. The water was moving faster and higher than we had ever seen it on our annual trips down the Guadalupe, taking almost two hours off the trip (though part of that was due to the fact that we did not stop and swim as usual).
Good fun but I am fairly whacked.

Still, I cannot forgo a new tradition on only its second night, so here we go.

Here is tonight's question. Once again, feel free to change the question around or add your own completely different question.

France and Belgium have recently gone about banning, or attempting to ban the Muslim veils. Switzerland has passed legislation in the the same regards concerning new Minarets.
Do you think this is a result of a position against Muslims, a security issue or an attempt at preserving specific cultural identity? Or perhaps a combination of all three or some thing else?

I'm working on getting chat added to the blog to make these discussions easier but until then, we'll have to make due with the comments.


Delirious said...

I would say that it is probably a security issue. But being a religious person myself with what might be deemed "strange" religious customs, I would hate to see those strict controls put upon my own religion. Therefore I would hate to see a government force people to go against their religious beliefs. Surely there is a way that they can satisfy their security demands without impeding religious practice.

Magister Christianus said...

I would agree that it likely has to do with security issues, but I also think it is part of a culture war against faith of any kind. Enlightenment notions about faith as a purely private matter have grown into a monstrous plant producing gigantic, wicked fruit, especially in Europe right now. This has more to do with moving all matters of faith and religion off the table, out of the public square, and into the private closets of one's own home. For this reason, I completely agree with Delirious. I am a Christian, and I am appalled at the idea of Muslim women being unable to wear their veils.

Now, pardon me while I go to bar and, if only in my memory, get another pint of Whitbread.

kkollwitz said...

First a defense of culture, then security. In one case the culture weakens as its people are killed, in the other it weakens due to a problematic alien presence.

France and Belgium have long enforced the idea of laïcité, which you can check on at Wiki. The veil business is happening within that political philosophy.

BTW, Mormons can't legally practice polygamy here. I'd say the French forbidding the veil is way less intrusive, and not any different from the no-veil policy in Turkey as far as I know.

eutychus said...

Good comments. My inclination is to go more with a culture defense as veiled women haven't typically been the usual suicide bombers (outside of an isolated few in Iraq)
Laïcité may indeed be a part of it but I think even more so is the backlash to, as KK put it a "problematic alien presence" that insists in large part on remaining separate from the surrounding culture. I think the same thing is going on with the Swiss in an even more overt way with the banning of new minarets. If those who supported such a ban were being honest, then the ban was not so much against religion as it was the political symbolism behind the minaret.

kkollwitz said...

"insists in large part on remaining separate from the surrounding culture."

Yes. France, like most countries, is founded on ethnicity, but has nevertheless, done a good job of assimilating ethnic outsiders into the mainstream...provided the outsiders want to do so.

kkollwitz said...

I'm reminded of a book called Journey to Poland (1925) by Alfred Doblin. Doblin, an assimilated German Jew, visits Poland to learn about Polish Jewish culture, and is somewhat alienated from his own people. The unassimilated Jewish communities' distinctives such as clothes, hair, hats, language, etc. are as great a shock to him as they would've been to us.

eutychus said...

Now that's a thought provoking post. In what way, if any, does an unassimilated Jewish (or Amish etc) community differ from an unassimilated Muslim community, at least from a preservation of distinctive culture stand point?

that question could probably be asked in a better way, so feel free to do so. It seems to make sense to me at the moment but that could change by the morning.

kkollwitz said...

I think both Jews and Amish require little-to-no accommodation by the host culture.

eutychus said...

So the distinction is the need for accommodation, then?

kkollwitz said...

Minorities that in the eyes of the host culture do not require undue acommodation aren't likely to find themselves the subject of legislation they don't like.