In a heartening development, the lower house of France’s parliament has voted 335 to 1 to ban the burqa. The measure, which is overwhelmingly supported by the French people, will go to the Senat in September.
Reaction was swift, and predictable.
“A complete ban on the covering of the face would violate the rights to freedom of expression and religion of those women who wear the burqa or the niqab in public as an expression of their identity or beliefs,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s expert on discrimination in Europe.
Amnesty International’s “expert on discrimination” is, of course, spouting nonsense. Given that rights are nothing more than human conventions in the first place, such a ban would not violate this alleged “right”, but would, rather, simply make clear that in France, the homeland of an ancient Western people with a magnificent and deeply beloved culture to protect, this particular “right” simply does not exist. No, if there is a “right” to be considered here, it is the right — which has even been explicitly declared by the United Nations — of an indigenous people to preserve its cultural integrity.
It is gratifying to see that the French, along with much of Europe, are beginning to understand that like any living organism, a culture without the ability to “discriminate” between self and other, between symbiont and pathogen, cannot survive. Perhaps as time goes by all of Europe and the West will become “experts on discrimination” too — expert enough, that is, to discriminate between what nourishes their culture and what destroys it from within. (The Ummah, of course, are already experts in this — as shown, for example, by the warm reception given to expressions of the Christian and Jewish faiths in Saudi Arabia.)
Meanwhile, here in New York, the controversy over the Cordoba House continues. (The Cordoba House, for those of you who don’t know, is the suggestively named giant mosque that is being built, as John Derbyshire put it, ” just a stone’s throw — or, to modify the metaphor slightly, an airline passenger’s body-part trajectory — from Ground Zero”.) We are assured that the institution (whose name, curiously, is that of a region of Europe subjugated by Muslims during the Umayyad Caliphate), will be a monument to multiculturalism, a temple of tolerance, a Pharos of fellow-feeling: fully in accord with, and dedicated to nothing other than the promotion of, the ennobling liberal ideals of Diversity and Inclusiveness.
Of course, of course. How could anyone doubt that? But just to be on the safe side, a group called the Former Muslims United has sent the “man behind the mosque”, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a copy of a document they’ve put together, by the signing of which Muslim good-will ambassadors may express, in harmony with the Western spirit of religious tolerance and individual freedom that this mosque will so radiantly embody, their dissociation from the atavistic (and thoroughly intolerant) Islamic convention of mandatory execution of apostates.
Curiously, there has been no response, but that’s probably due to how busy they are, getting ready for the mosque’s eagerly awaited Grand Opening — on September 11th, 2011.