The French Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill banning the burqa-style Islamic veil in public after being assured it didn't trample on religious freedoms. Other European nations with large Muslim populations may follow the French lead in this apparent restriction on civil liberty.
This action came after Muslim scholars have said there's nothing in Islam that mandates full body coverings for women. The nijab and burqa have developed culturally in some Islamic nations. This fact apparently convinced French politicians the ban wouldn't effect the religious freedom of the nation's 3.5 million Muslims.
But, any ban of any dress is a restriction on freedom. People should be allowed to wear what they want as long as they don't offend others. For that reason men and women can't walk around the streets nude. In the case of female Muslim face coverings, security is also an issue.
Western nations, whether they will admit it or not, are now under constant perceived or real threat of terrorist attacks. And, as it has been shown in the past, some Islamic terrorist suspects will try to escape detection under a full body covering. Thereby, the security threat is a rationale for such a ban, along with preserving the national image in the French case.
Economy and Threats Spread Islamophobia
Yet all this only fuels the Islamophobia growing in the western world, the product of past terrorist attacks, fear of future outrages and even more importantly, the declining economic fortunes of the West.
The Nazi antisemitism prior to WW2 was built on an economically ruined Germany. Today Germany has eight times more Muslims in the country than Jews there before the War. As the European Union's economy declines or simply stagnates, the ingredients are there for growing hostility against Islamic immigrants in Germany, France and other countries with Islamic communities.
This can best be prevented by economic well being returning to the West and assimilation of the immigrants. This is easier said than done, right?
America and the West have two great challenges ahead of them that will likely determine the shape of the world. First, the West must maintain itself as a wealthy collection of nations enjoying high living standards and second, it must insure that all citizens are able to enjoy the fruits of the society. The best way to insure domestic tranquility is to keep people well fed and happy with their lives.
On my Talk Radio show, about 14-years-ago, I commented the best way to end the violence in Northern Ireland was to make everyone there middle-class. People who are enjoying a good life and have a decent future don't support terrorism. But, we must remember that since numerous Muslims in the US are a relatively new phenomenon, they haven't had time to blend into the culture.
Now couple this with the fact the single enemy the West now faces is a small but ever present group of Islamic terrorists who base their actions on the Koran's teachings, and you have suspicion planted in the collective public's mind. It's a suspicion based on a call to convert everyone to Islam and to kill the Infidels who are left. And to make matters worse, since the passages in the Koran are irrefutable, no Muslim leaders dare publicly denounce them.
US Cartoonist in Hiding After Fatwa on Her Life
A current example of why Islamophobia is spreading is the case of Molly Norris, a cartoonist for the Seattle Weekly newspaper. She has gone into hiding after Islamic extremists put a fatwa on her head following her “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” cartoon.
According to the Seattle Weekly, the FBI has encouraged her to “go ghost” by moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity … She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program of sorts—except, as she notes, without the government paying for it.
Norris created “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” as a protest against the censorship of TV's South Park after Comedy Central refused to allow it to depict Mohammed after it received threats.
But Norris made the same mistake that many of political leaders make, thinking as a civilized and sophisticated westerner. How many Christian riots in Europe have you seen over the Muslim Massacres of Christians in Darfur or the Muslim-Christian confrontations in Nigeria? But, an insult to Islam is another matter for people living on a different planet, something that Norris has learned the hard way.;
An opinion poll in the UK, which has a large Muslim population, showed nearly half of young British Muslim men support Sharia law in some form and even believe so called “holy wars” (jihad) are justified. And many of these young men also figure into the latest crime figures as a part of surge in racial and ethnic gang violence.
America is another matter, because unlike Britain, we have a stronger moral center as a religious nation. And militant groups of any kind no they can't get away what they often can in Europe.
A major problem we have since we appear to be in decline, is being able continue to offer immigrants the good life that older Americans have enjoyed. If we can't, the urge or need to assimilate will be negated. And that could lead to trouble as unhappy young men look to vent their frustration. But, it would be a condition that might only fuel more extreme Islamophobia.
For Muslims to exist happily in the West, Islamic clerics and authority figures must take the lead in repudiating offensive and threatening passages in the Koran and condemning all violent actions against people in the name of Islam.