EditorsEdit : Netherlands bans the Burqa - and takes a step back
The ban has caused a huge uproar in
Public opinion against immigration in
Where the Dutch, on the other hand are erring is that by targeting religious practices , like wearing of the Burqa, they are trampling over some fundamental religious rights, which not only legally questionable (The EU might have a hard look at this particular ban),but are also discriminatory. As Imran Khan rightly pointed out in a recent interview, liberalism is a two way street and if there is no ban against wearing the skimpiest of clothing, there should be no ban on wearing the Burqa, if that is what some women, VOLUNTARILY wear. I whole heartedly agree.
For example, Holland has extra-ordinarily liberal legal framework against a range of issues ranging from prostitution (legal) to consuming psychotropic substances (marijuana is legal- I remember a shopkeeper telling me that perhaps even the police might ask for a 'push') and gay rights. If some people feel offended by these, would the Dutch consider banning them?
Sadly, some of the western countries seem to believe that cultural integration can be achieved only by immigrants adopting their culture wholesale. True cultural integration is a two way street and the mainstream has to realize that they have to make as much effort to integrate with immigrants as the immigrants themselves. In our Dutch office, for instance, I met one Turkish manager, who complained to me bitterly that despite being on the job for more than a decade, his Dutch colleagues would never invite him for a beer in the pub, after work, or in another social setting. How would the Dutch Govt. punish such behavior?
Measures like banning the burqa, would only aggravate tensions and perhaps draw some more youth into being extremists and perhaps a repeat of the incidents like murder of the far right politician Pim Fortuyn (who incidentally was the first politician to speak against immigration and hence became very popular). More importantly, they would not serve to do what should be the priority of all western politicians- promote cultural integration in its truest form.