Burqa Bans and Muslim Identification

Lew Rockwell makes a most peculiar comment:

Thousands of Muslims Protest Burqa Ban in Austria

I agree. Not only is it an offense against self-ownership, it’s a leftist attempt to hide the deliberate de-Austrianization of Austria. “

What? A leading libertarian activist claims that once the burqa is banned, you won’t be able to tell an Austrian….from a Muslim.

But here’s what.

Austrian is a type of nationality. Muslim refers to religious belief. The two are apples and oranges…or, more accurately, apples and cut flowers.

Two. Can anyone really tell nationality from an item of clothing?

Are there no French citizens in burkas?

Three. If, by Austrian, Rockwell meant “white” Austrian, well, a lot of Muslims from the Middle East are whiter than Europeans and a lot of native-born Austrians are dark-skinned, since they are second or third-generation immigrants.

Four. Even native-born non-immigrant Caucasian Austrians can be Muslims.

Five. Do all Muslims wear burqas? If the burqa were banned, Muslims who would have worn them, would still probably be identifiable as Muslims, from head-scarves, for instance.

Unless Rockwell really thinks that a ban on burqas means conservative Muslim women in Austria  will now be running around in shorts and tank-tops.

Does he really think that?

Rockwell is a smart guy.

So when I read such loopy arguments, I have to suspect some deeper agenda.

Banning the burka is a bad idea because it is a radical intrusion of the state into the realm of personal choice in an area where there is no valid community interest at stake that might conceivable justify some  voluntary compromise between individual choice and community interest.
A burqa could be a security threat, for example. In that case, the ban should be not on the burqa but more generally on any item of clothing that covers the face and body in such a way to make an interlocuter clearly vulnerable to assault in a limited number of  clearly defined public spaces.
But, in general, I think a ban on something that doesn’t obviously pose a threat to anyone else’s freedom or life is a bad way to go.

 

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