Although I dislike the idea of legislating a dress code and infringing upon the personal freedom of individuals to wear what they want, or in the case of hijabs, niqabs, and burqas “want”, I do support banning burqas, niqabs, ski masks, and any other identity-concealing attire in public spaces because arguments regarding the oppressive and divisive nature of the religious clothing in question aside these garments pose a legitimate security concern.
If you don’t feel governments have the right to infringe on the personal freedom of their citizens by dictating what should or shouldn’t be worn in public just remember they already are. Most societies don’t let people go walking around naked in public or even let women walk around topless and this dress code seems to be widely accepted. Personally I think there’s a much better argument for banning burqas than there is for banning boobs.
If you’re against a ban and for freedom of choice ask yourself if the 12 year old girls I saw at the beach wearing niqabs chose to eat their dinner from underneath a black pillow case with eye holes? Did they choose to look like unapproachable freaks to all the children outside of their cults who are allowed to show their faces in public? Did they choose to give up the ability to smile at their friends or make any other kind of facial expressions in public?
Regardless of whether or not you support some form of a ban on identity-concealing garments in public spaces I hope you agree that forcing/brainwashing a child to cover their entire body from head to toe including their face every time they leave the house is a form of child abuse and should be recognized as such. If you want to defend individual freedom then consider defending the freedom of all girls and women to exist as people with their own faces, voices, and identities in society.
P.S. Just to be clear, if all the environmentally concerned freethinkers in the world got together without me and unanimously decided that from now on they were all going to wear green ski masks in public to identify themselves as environmentally concerned freethinkers and to raise awareness on issues related to environmental health and freethought I’d still be in favor of a ban and I’m confident that if members of a secular group were hiding their identity in public rather than members of a religious group many more people would also be in favor of some kind of a ban. Especially if on multiple occasions members of that group and people simply borrowing their dress had used it to disguise themselves and commit crimes. Rather than constitute the singling out and unfair treatment of any particular group this ban constitutes people standing up to not give religion or culture another free pass to abuse children, oppress women, divide people, or create a public security risk.
Regarding burkini bans and that recent controversy in France, despite my dislike of burkinis and all other religiously affiliated attire I am against a ban. Yesterday at the beach I saw a tour group comprised of around 20 young women who I imagine followed some interpretation of Islam because they were all in what looked to be sopping wet black bed sheets with only their face, hands, and feet showing. They seemed to be having fun and enjoying the much needed sunlight on their exposed patches of skin. Still probably not enough to remedy the vitamin D deficiency I suspect they all have but enough to put smiles on their faces, faces which the dominant males in their life allowed them to share with the rest of the world like the vast majority of males who practice some interpretation of Islam do. It got me thinking again about my objection to banning the burkini and wishing that these young ladies had been wearing burkinis because if they were at least they’d be able to move better in the water and dry more quickly when they got out.
Intolerance is good when it’s directed at irrational, unsafe, divisive, oppressive, and barbaric practices regardless of which religion, culture, or country they’re most associated with; not when it’s directed at a broad group of people who identify with a certain culture or religion that is interpreted and practiced in many different ways, some compatible with a modern and just society and others absolutely not.