Not ‘veilcome’ anymore

Though Nicolas Sarkozy may have played a part in getting the Muslim full-face veil banned for purely political reasons, a fall in approval ratings which forced him to go nativist, he has set off a chain reaction in Europe. Italy has now joined Belgium and France in their frantic efforts to ‘empower women’ and ‘embolden individual choice’.
If the Romans thought they were the only ones to face the heat in Italy, they now have Muslims who too are being increasingly ostracised by a society that was once deemed tolerant of other faiths besides their own, ?for company.
Italy’s populist Northern League party, the main ally of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, has presented to parliament a bill to ban full-face veils. According to Marco Reguzzoni, leader of Northern League lawmakers in the lower house, not only is the bill “aimed at enforcing the principle of equality between man and woman that exists in our society,” but it is meant to support the French initiative.
The proposed law may be in an evolutionary stage now, but if it does get implemented and the chances are that it eventually will, it will give the police the authority to yank off that ‘offending piece of clothing’ off any Muslim woman who dares defy the law right in the middle of the street. As if to rile the community further, fines and even imprisonment in some cases are being proposed to deter any show of dissent.
As far as the world, the Muslim world in particular, is concerned this is nothing more than Europe turning vigorously rightwing where the essentials of democracy and the right to choose are being trampled over by a logic so warped that it seems almost medieval. Clearly, Islam is a target. Post 9/11 that reduced much of inter-faith trust to rubble along with the Twin Towers, Muslims all over the West and Europe are finding themselves being increasingly isolated from the mainstream, so much so that even attempts to reach out and build bridges are being rebuffed.
Such is the insecurity that prevails in these countries that nothing less than a complete subservience to their way of life is deemed to be good enough. If you are minority, then you have no choice but to toe the line. For countries which have prided themselves on their set of liberal and progressive ideas, it’s surprising that they have to get so radical to protect them.
(Courtest Khaleej Times)