The ECHR decided that the blanket ban should be upheld. This was on the understanding that the ban is necessary to help boost the concept of "living together" and was justified under the French law based on "respect for the minimum requirements of life in society". As though France is actually some shared house in which Genevieve needs to stop using all the hot water, Dominique needs to stop leaving Post-it notes everywhere and Cecile should wear pants in the communal areas in order to continue "living together".
I'm not sure that the concept of living together should involve alienating a large number of people. It's not surprising that two judges argued that "the concept seems far-fetched and vague."
But no! Dear reader you shouldn't feel confused or a mite suspicious of the justification for this ruling. And anyway, now's not the time to ask questions about other cultures and religion. You know when you can't live with something and when your minimum requirements of life in society are not being met. DAMMIT.
A pair of inverted cross leggings are kind of unattractive and I doubt the wearers are just big fans of St Peter
Now...there are a lot of things I can see people finding offensive when it comes to religion and clothing. A pair of inverted cross leggings are kind of unattractive and I doubt the wearers (condemned to be cut off from normal human interaction) are just big fans of St Peter (the Pope has an inverted cross on his throne. So doom.), rather they have made the mistake of thinking it's offensive to Christians. Or they were on sale at Urban Outfitters - we can never know.
Recently Sufi Muslims have expressed anger at seeing one of their holy symbols used in a perfume campaign. Appropriating religious imagery can be offensive.
Am I offended by the use of questionable interpretation of holy texts to control women? Yes, of course. And I see it done in all kinds of faiths and cults. However I'm also offended by thinly veiled (thank-you!) islamophobia. So, what to do?
Pearson writes that the niqab as an accessory to some women's failure to integrate with society, before getting completely baffling: "The French and Belgian bans on the burka are the opposite of racism: they insist that all citizens are treated the same and have an equal chance of belonging. The burka is a cause of racism, not a symptom."
Non-niqab wearing Shelina Janmohamed says more soberly: "I have some sympathy for the view that what is different makes us nervous, and that talking to someone who looks very different is hard, especially if the non-verbal cues we are used to connecting with are absent. But the building of community relations cannot be forced by the law. A social change must by its very nature be made through social means".
Come on everybody, don't make me read But Martin! aloud again.