Saturday, August 27, 2016

Daniel Pipes: "Ban the Burqa, Allow the Burkini"

Writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer (August 23, 2016), Daniel Pipes advises, "Ban the Burqa, Allow the Burkini," and he starts with a remark that I myself might have written:
France has been seized by a silly hysteria over the burkini, prompting me to wonder when Europeans will get serious about their Islamist challenge.
Pipes is right - this burkini phobia is serious silliness. Here's why he's right:
This development[,namely, banning the burkini,] astonishes me, someone who has argued that the burqa (and the niqab, a similar article of clothing that leaves a slit for the eyes) needs to be banned from public places on security grounds. Those formless garments not only hide the face, permitting criminals and jihadis to hide themselves but they permit the wearer to hide, say, an assault rifle without anyone knowing. Men as well as women use burqas as accessories to criminal and jihadi purposes. Indeed, I have collected some 150 anecdotes of bank robberies, abductions, murders, and jihadi attacks since 2002; Philadelphia has become the Western capital of burqas and niqabs as criminal accessories, with at least 34 incidents in 9 years.

In contrast, the burkini poses no danger to public security. Unlike the burqa or niqab, it leaves the face uncovered; relatively tight-fitting, it leaves no place to hide weapons. Men cannot wear it as a disguise. Further, while there are legitimate arguments about the hygiene of large garments in pools (prompting some hotels in Morocco to ban the garment), this is obviously not an issue on the coastal beaches of France.

Accordingly, beach burkinis should be allowed without restriction . . . . So, my advice: focus on these real problems and let Muslims wear what they wish to the beach.
Pipes is clearly right. This focus on the burkini is a distraction. The burkini is not a secuity risk. Banning it will only bring ridicule upon France and weaken attempts to ban the burqa and niqab, both of which are security risks. Focus on the real threats!

UPDATE: Burkini ban overturned by France's highest court!



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