Spanish Senate Votes To Ban The Burqa

The New York Times reports:

MADRID — In a significant escalation of Spain’s debate over how to handle radical Islam, the Senate on Wednesday narrowly and unexpectedly approved a motion to ban Muslim women from wearing in public the burqa or other garments that cover the whole body.

The vote, 131 to 129, was another setback for the Socialist government of Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, which had favored more-limited restrictions on Islamic clothing and has instead been pushing to curtail religious fundamentalism through better education.

The Spanish vote comes amid several national initiatives across Europe to restrict the spread of radical Islam and defend liberal values.

In Belgium, the lower house of Parliament has already approved a measure that, if unamended by the upper house, would make it a crime to wear in public “clothing that hides the face.”

The Senate’s position also came as a surprise because although Spain has become a major European entry point for Muslim migrants from North Africa, few of those immigrants wear either the burqa or the niqab, which does not cover the eyes. A similar argument has also been made by opponents of a burqa ban in countries like France, where only an estimated 100,000 women wear the burqa out of a Muslim population of about 5 million. France, however, already passed a law in 2004 to ban head scarves or any other “conspicuous” religious symbol from state schools in order to preserve their secularism.

The Spanish government is supposed to follow the Senate’s motion. However, given that Socialist senators opposed the ban, the governing party is likely to seek ways to circumvent the vote.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Cat

    It’s a slippery slope. While we must be sensitive to the religious requirements of dress when it doesn’t hurt anybody, covering one’s face is not generally safe, nor is it desirable. That said, many here wear ski masks in cold weather, so I am not sure how to justify no burkhas that cover the face.

    It is, of course, to keep the radicals from gaining a foothold, but really, could they? It is not my call, however, being a citizen of the U.S.

  • Cat

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Why-Banning-the-Muslim-Burka-Is-Not-Religious-Persecution

    according to this man, perrya, banning the full faced burkha is good because, as Skarkozy said, “The full veil is not welcome in France because it runs contrary to our values and contrary to the idea we have of a woman’s dignity.” He went on to say it is not racism unless you wish to put that spin on it, as many will. He said, “Let us undertake not to give opponents of democracy, dignity and sexual equality the chance for a victory which would put our society in a very difficult situation.”


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