Banning head scarves

I gather that France has banned head scarves for some people (school kids in particular). Quebec has proposed do it for all people in public service (this includes all teachers and professors) along with all other religious symbols (except a cross, of course). I thought of an interesting analogy, which I herewith share.

When I took anthropology about 60 years ago, the professor, a cultural anthropologist who was himself South American and who studied primitive societies there mentioned that in some of these places, especially in the tropics, women generally went topless. You can imagine how teen-age boys (including me) reacted to this, but he insisted that you quickly learned to pay no attentions. Now imagine some American women immigrated to one of these places but insisted on wearing blouses to cover their breasts because they didn’t feel comfortable otherwise. Then how would they feel if a law were passed forcing women to go topless? I assume that some Muslim women feel “undressed” without the head scarf.

I would say that if I was a woman who was very uncomfortable with the idea of going topless in public, I would not immigrate to such a place. Immigration is voluntary, right?

Oh and, since it is relevant to the OP:

China is banning, in one province, among other things:

“Wearing or forcing others to wear full-face coverings”


“Hyping up religious fanaticism through growing beards or choosing names in an abnormal way”

Which is surprising, because the Chinese government has historically been so tolerant of religious expression.

Unless you come from a place where your spouse has absolute power over you.

The OP was talking about American women immigrating, I believe?

I’m interested in why you’re so keen to ban something as innocuous as a headscarf. What’s your reasoning?

OP: I haven’t been able to find anything solid to corroborate this. Most of us know about the Quebec “Charter of Values” bullshit where they tried some years ago to ban “religious symbols” in a way that, for some strange reason, managed to ban Muslim symbols but not Christian ones, and specifically not the paraphernalia associated with French Catholics. And we know how that went down – it brought the party in power to an ignominious defeat at the next election and the “Charter of Values” ended up in the dustbin of history.

All I’ve heard subsequently is that a former contender for the PQ party leadership. Bernard Drainville, was proposing a watered-down version of the same thing, but that was nearly two years ago and he dropped out of the running anyway. I’ve seen nothing further about it, though I don’t really follow Quebec politics unless it makes the national news. If they’re really planning anything like this, it’s not going to end well for them.

Huh? Can you point to anything I posted, ever, that would cause you to think of me as “keen to ban” headscarves?

Forcing a woman out of a covering is exactly the same sin as forcing her into one.

They going to enforce this on Catholic nuns too? The Amish?

What if I’m not Muslim but want to wear a headscarf? Is it then a religious symbol? Or a fashion statement?

Virginia law:

§ 18.2-422. Prohibition of wearing of masks in certain places; exceptions.
It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age to, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood or other device whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, to be or appear in any public place, or upon any private property in this Commonwealth without first having obtained from the owner or tenant thereof consent to do so in writing. However, the provisions of this section shall not apply to persons (i) wearing traditional holiday costumes; (ii) engaged in professions, trades, employment or other activities and wearing protective masks which are deemed necessary for the physical safety of the wearer or other persons; (iii) engaged in any bona fide theatrical production or masquerade ball; or (iv) wearing a mask, hood or other device for bona fide medical reasons upon (a) the advice of a licensed physician or osteopath and carrying on his person an affidavit from the physician or osteopath specifying the medical necessity for wearing the device and the date on which the wearing of the device will no longer be necessary and providing a brief description of the device, or (b) the declaration of a disaster or state of emergency by the Governor in response to a public health emergency where the emergency declaration expressly waives this section, defines the mask appropriate for the emergency, and provides for the duration of the waiver. The violation of any provisions of this section is a Class 6 felony.

The OP is about headscarves. Not face covering hijabs, I believe.

(I wonder if that law is enforced? On people wearing hoodies. Or winter scarves and entering stores? Or just still on the books?)

From the first sentence:

with the intent to conceal his identity

I know it was enforced on bikers who wore balaclavas in cold weather.

Exactly. It’s still mostly men deciding what a woman should wear (or not wear). Discrimination under the banner of “more rights for women” is still discrimination.

It’s telling that most of the push comes from the same old chauvinist guys that had no problem with legal inequality against women in the past few years.

In the 1950s, and in some Italian areas still today (the Vatican…) when entering a church, men had to take off their hat, and women put on a covering.
In Spain and Hispanic countries, one verse from a Pauline letter about how women should be “modest in church by covering up their hair” developed into the tradition of the Mantilla Mantilla - Wikipedia - a wide shawl. (And ironically, as is often the case once a custom become tradition, a shawl originally intended for modesty quickly became an elaborate status symbol with lace and silk: expensive. The opposite of what Paul was talking about).

If France forbids the Burka - nobody wear the Burka. If they forbid the Niquab, about 2000 Niquab-wearing women will stay at home. So less interaction with the population, less integration, less opportunity for aid workers or moderate women of their own community to reach them and talk to them and get them out of their bubble. How does that help feminism?

Similar for schools: For decades, catholic nuns wore habit when teaching, but nobody was worried about influencing little girls (and catholicsm is misgoynistic! Women are second class). But when a Muslima wears a head-scarf as teacher, she’s not a symbol for the muslim girls in the class that they are accepted by the state and society, that they can get an education and a career, no, they must be forbidden because they might pressure muslim girls into wearing a headscarf.

When talking to the young Muslimas themselves, many are highly educated and have researched what the Koran passages actually say, before deciding to wear the scarf. There are even female Mullahs arguing for reform of more liberal Islam. (Just like Judaism and Christianty has groups that forbid women from teaching, and groups that allow women as priests/ Rabbi).

Many women have not immigrated to (the US/ Western Europe), they are born here. Their mothers and grandmothers often wear the scarf as part of their tradition and culture, and don’t see why they should give up a tradition that doesn’t harm anybody. The young women decide for different reasons. The capsters were developed by a young non-muslim design student in Netherlands because her fellow muslim students were fed up with getting the hate over wearing the scarf, since the Netherland society equated the scarf with “uneducated, repressed, backward older women”. So she designed, got feedback from Mullah about what it should cover, got feedback about wearbility after tests, and now the young women are glad that they can look cool and modern and still follow their own beliefs.

The Burkini was developed in Australia, and from what I’ve heard, is a hit not only in Muslim countries like Egypt and Emirates etc., but also beloved by the white-skinned European Australians, to prevent sunburn (skin cancer) when on the beach. With modern swimwear material, it’s not as much as a bother as the heavy, sodden two piece bathing suits of cotton or knit wear that US women were required to wear just 100 years ago Swimsuit - Wikipedia and


Post #2. Which came roaring in a mere two minutes after the OP, apparently to breathlessly make the point that if western countries ban particular apparel that Muslims are accustomed to wearing, then Muslims have the option of not coming here. Which, to many – the sorts who also support a Muslim immigration ban – is precisely the point.

If you meant something else, now is the time to explain what you meant, and why you even bothered posting in this thread and are continuing to do so.

“I spoke in favor of the bill, and explained that I had been stopped and told I was in violation of the law punishable by a felony.”

Did you read my post? I addressed the hypothetical that the OP posed, which was about topless women in some societies. And yes, if I was a woman who absolutely had to wear a hijab, I would not consider immigrating to a place that banned them. Isn’t that common sense?

Note that this says nothing about whether I advocate banning hijabs. I think you have some preconceived notions that seem to be leading you into putting ideas into my post that are not there.

So your point was… ? That it was a bad analogy? And that therefore … what?

This thread isn’t about topless women (notice the thread title). Why don’t you just tell us how you feel about laws banning headscarves as worn by Muslims. Maybe you can even opine about Trump’s Muslim ban, as you did elsewhere. Why not tell us what you really think?

That implies that the only women who wear headscarves (which are very different from Niquab) are those who immigrate. This is not true. There are:

women who are born here (3rd and 4th generation)

women who convert to Islam

Women who come as tourists from a strict Islamic countries (those often wear not only a headscarf, but the full Niquab - because the very rich Muslim countries like Emirates, Saudi Arabia etc. are both rich enough for tourists, and very strict). These often stop coming, thus losing your country valuable income from rich tourists.

Besides, there are non-religious reasons to wear a headscarf: as acessory, because the sun is hot, but you dislike baseball caps / hats, out of solidarity with the prejudice Muslimas experience…

When I worked on a farm, I quickly wore a headscarf, too (though tied in the pirate style) when I cleaned out the stable, because it cut down on how much stink got into my hair, so I had to wash it less often. (That’s probably also the origin for why most women in the Middle Ages wore head coverings, different according to class: washing long hair without warm water and a blow-dryer is a real bother. Wearing a scarf means longer time without washing).