Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Debate on the burqa

There was an interesting debate on TV last night about the wearing of the burqa. The opponents basically cite security concerns and protection of women from oppression. Some proponents say wearing burqa is an act of worship, while other proponents say it is about freedom to choose what you want to wear. Naturally in a debate like this you will find strong arguments coming from both sides, as well as leaky arguments.

For example, when they say it is an act of worship, history says the burqa has been worn a few centuries prior to the coming of Islam. Yet on the other hand, that does not mean it cannot qualify as a God-sanctioned act of worship. As for freedom to choose, this is not a good argument either, because there are laws, like it or not, that bar people from dressing inappropriately and the burqa cannot be made an exception if society is strongly against it. Next point; clearly there are burqa wearers who do it willingly, yet the pro-choice people are unwilling or unable to to admit that many are forced to wear it, to the extent of physical abuse.

My turn to say now. I think the country should hold a nationwide survey. This is not an issue about a federal offence or a criminal act where there is need to research into precedence set at some other place or some other time. It is simply about how we can all live together peacefully. Based on the survey result, legislation can be enacted if it is necessary to ban the burqa.

If you are a guest in somebody's house, you do not go around doing things that upset the host. So it is with issues of culture and religion when one chooses (yes, there is a choice!) to live in another country. The freedom to choose does not equate to freedom to upset and offend those who want to be your friends. There are many laws against anti-social behavior and the argument that people have the freedom to carry out anti-social behaviour as they like is simply a wrong interpretation of democracy.

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