Europe’s Burqa Ban


The burqa is not a sign of religion. It is a sign of subservience 

It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic.

 ~French President Nicolas Sarkozy


Europe is deeply embroiled in a raging conflict over something quite small and ordinary: a simple piece of cloth that some women chose to wear over their face.  The article is about the clash that is occurring as many European countries ban the burqa.  In France only a few thousand of the 5 million Muslim women choose to wear them.  The ban is mostly a symbolic expression of disdain for an unpopular minority.   European culture meets Muslim culture.  The article highlights the different values. 

Interestingly, the article points out that conflicts no longer arise through colonialism (like it use to); instead, conflict now arises through migration.  In this case, Muslim minorities are transplanted to aggressively liberal communities.  Beligum, Italy, and France are all moving towards a total ban on face-covering veils in public.  Although most European countries embrace cultural relativism, the burqa ban is somehow gaining popularity. 

Cultures constantly have conflicting ideas on the role of women in society.  The article pokes fun at the Europeans who pride themselves on rights in a country “where women are often overexposed and objectified” in the capital of the fashion world in a county of topless beaches.   And France has the audacity to lecture others on the dignity of women?  How powerful is this thought?  In reality the French are doing what they think is right for women—giving women freedom and freeing women of the restricting that a burka might have in making women helpless, dependent, and anonymous.  In reality the Muslim women are also doing what they think is right for women—shielding the innocence, guarding a woman’s honor, and following their God’s desires.  

Although the burqa ban may only create resentment, as I follow the news throughout Europe, I often see riots and conflicts that arise relating to the Muslim minority.  Instead of embracing relativism and adapting to and accommodating people from all different backgrounds, Europeans are taking a stand and objectifying Muslims as “the other.”  Instead of realizing that both sides both just want what they think is best, both sides are resisting one another in what will only continue to a constant source of cultural conflict.

by Mikita Weaver

This article is in response to Europe’s burqa rage”  by Michael Gerson (Washington Post)

Mikita is the Editor-in-Chief of ADR Times. She is also an attorney at Seastrom Seastrom & Tuttle focusing solely on Family Law . Before that, she worked predominantly in litigation and arbitration in the field of construction and business litigation insurance defense. She received her Juris Doctorate at Pepperdine and a Masters in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute. Mikita has been published in the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal and worked at the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in London. As an avid traveler, she continues to explore various dispute resolution issues and how they vary from region to region.