Disclosure: I am not a fan of the burka, a garment that I find vaguely ridiculous, oppressive towards women, and worst of all, horribly unfashionable. The burqa’s highest and best use is in comedy. Remember the great Curb Your Enthusiasm episode in which Larry dry cleans a Muslim woman’s burqa and gives it to Cheryl as a Halloween costume?
So, given where I’m coming from, I was
pleased not deeply troubled by this recent incident in France, reported in the London Telegraph:
A 60-year-old lawyer ripped a Muslim woman’s Islamic veil off in a row in a clothing shop in what police say is France’s first case of “burka rage.”
The astonishing scene unfolded during a weekend shopping trip after the woman lawyer took offence at the attire of a fellow shopper resulting in argument during which the pair came to blows before being arrested.
Bodice-ripping is commonplace, but burka-ripping is rare. How did this happen?
The Telegraph explains:
A 26-year-old Muslim convert was walking through the store in Trignac, near Nantes, in the western Loire-Atlantique region, when she overhead the woman lawyer making “snide remarks about her black burka”. A police officer close to the case said: “The lawyer said she was not happy seeing a fellow shopper wearing a veil and wanted the ban introduced as soon as possible.”
At one point the lawyer, who was out with her daughter, is said to have likened the Muslim woman to Belphegor, a horror demon character well known to French TV viewers. Belphegor is said to haunt the Louvre museum in Paris and frequently covers up his hideous features using a mask.
An argument started before the older woman is said to have ripped the other woman’s veil off. As they came to blows, the lawyer’s daughter joined in.
Daughter FTW. By the time the mother-daughter duo was done, that burqa probably looked like a burqini.
All three women were arrested, according to the Telegraph, and dueling complaints were filed. The Muslim woman accused the lawyer of racial and religious assault, while the lawyer accused the Muslim woman of common assault.
The altercation took place against the backdrop of possible anti-burqa legislation in France:
The French parliament has adopted a formal motion declaring burkas and other forms of Islamic dress to be “an affront to the nation’s values.” Some have accused criminals, from terrorists to shoplifters, of wearing veils to disguise themselves.
A ban, which could be introduced as early as the autumn, would make France the second country after Belgium to outlaw the Islamic veil in public places….
[President Nicolas] Sarkozy’s cabinet is to examine a draft bill which will impose one-year prison sentences and fines of up to £14,000 on men who force their wives to wear a burka. Women themselves will face a smaller fine of just over £100 because they are “often victims with no choice in the matter”, says the draft.
You know how I feel about the burqa. Readers, what do you think?
France has first ‘burka rage’ incident [Telegraph U.K.]