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A Burqa Ban? Keep the State Out of America's Closets

5 years ago
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Delia -- thanks for a thoughtful response to Bonnie Erbe's great conversation starter on banning the burqa, especially the argument that the melting pot (or salad bowl, or whatever metaphor you prefer) is one of the things that makes America great.

And as someone who has covered the (disconcerting) wave of Muslim countries cracking down on women in Western dress, I'll throw in an additional reason for letting women wear what they want: getting the state involved in fashion is a slippery slope.

Granted, France is not suggesting public lashings for women donning full-face veils, but here's a point that folks on both the right and left can probably agree upon: deciding who should wear what is not something we need our government, immigration officers and/or national service officials involved in.
To me, the idea that Indonesia employs roving sharia police posses to trundle around town, armed with shredders for any woman caught wearing jeans, isn't just absurd -- it's demeaning and inappropriate. Isn't the notion of having immigration officials examining potential U.S. citizens with an eye toward those who might wear burqas in their new homeland and those who would readily shed them for oh, I dunno, Juicy Couture sweatsuits, equally so? Shouldn't we judge our candidates for citizenship based upon their creed and not the cut of their clothes?
In other words, by conjoining citizenship -- and all the rights that go along with it -- and dress, aren't we treading (albeit lightly) on the very same ground we find so abhorrent in countries like Sudan and Indonesia, where a distaste for Western vs. Muslim dress is reversed?
The only other thing I'll say is that with America's present inability to manage the visas and entry papers to screen even would-be terrorists, the last thing our immigration officials need is for us to throw dress codes in the mix.

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