(This was originally written right after the European Court of Human Rights hearing on burqas and niqabs came out, July 1st.)

You know how when you click a trending link on the right side of Facebook and it brings you to all these people talking about whatever’s trending. Well this one lady posts about the European Court of Human Rights upholding the ban on burqas and niqabs saying: “Good. The thing is one never knows what is really under that tarp. With Muslim terrorism run rampant it is best to be cautious and not allow possible threats to others lives.”

Hers was the first post I saw that seemed to agree with the upholding and so I was like, “that’s weird why would anyone be OK with that.” Then I clicked to her profile and noticed that she was very liberal based on the posts she shared and her status updates. She even commented on the recent Hobby Lobby ruling essentially saying it was bullshit that women couldn’t have access to contraception but men could be covered for Viagra pills.

So I’m like, “how does this make any sense?”

This lady is AGAINST the Supreme Courts ruling that closely held corporations can refuse to cover certain medical things under the insurance programs they have to offer their employees (pretty sure that’s what it is about but I’m not a legal scholar so could be oversimplifying). This lady is against that – I think – because it’s not fair that women’s rights are trampled because of religious views of their employers.

This lady is AGAINST women having the right to live their faith. Not only that, she’s being extraordinarily bigoted in her view that banning the burqa/niqab will mean terrorists will not be able to hide their faces. Have we heard of an attack where this was done? (Actually, this DID happen in the Kathryn Bigelow film Zero Dark Thirty, but it was AMERICAN FORCES that disguised themselves in order to assassinate a “threat” so…)

I don’t understand so I’m going to try to understand – public safety threat maybe? I wasn’t allowed to carry around a fake gun at Princeton because it could be mistaken for a real gun (or I guess, a real gun could be mistaken for a fake gun, I don’t know they never actually explained why). But no, I don’t think so. People can commit all kinds of crimes in plain sight. To infringe upon people’s INDIVIDUAL RELIGIOUS BELIEFS (their INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS) does not seem to out-weight public safety when there isn’t a high likelihood of this type of threat.

The European Human Rights Court seems to agree with what I just said. According to reporting from the Wall Street Journal: “The Strasbourg-based court ruled the general ban imposed by the government wasn’t justified on public-safety grounds, or to protect women’s rights. But it said France’s aim of improving social cohesion through the ban was legitimate.”

NO SENSE. THIS MAKES NO SENSE. Why. Why. Why. Why do people think that living together in society means becoming socially homogenous? Why can’t living together in a diverse society mean being more tolerant. I understand there will be abrasions over certain issues where there is not a clear distinction between the rights of the individual and other individuals. But of all things, this specific case of “can I wear my niqab or burqa in public?” seems to be a complete INDIVIDUAL ISSUE when you take away any public safety concerns. How does what another person wear or not wear effect other individuals in the society? It’s bad enough people are not allowed to walk around naked (I’m a recent proponent of eliminating this mystique around nakedness), now people are not allowed to walk around fully covered.

I don’t understand. I don’t understand certain people. People who just spew ridicule at “the other” be it the other who doesn’t look like them, or act like them, or believe in the God(s) they believe. I don’t understand certain people who don’t think critically about what they believe with regards to what other people believe. Put yourself in their shoes. Try and figure out where they’re coming from. You see nothing is black and white. Everything is grey. Nothing is as easy as “you are wrong, I am right.” Critical thinking skills, discussion skills, being able to talk. There is nothing more satisfying than having a really good conversation with someone about what they believe in which you don’t just blindly say “you’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” but actually listen and respond to what they’re saying. You will either A) alter the way you think about an issue because you have learned something new; or B) feel the same about the issue, but now you are even more secure in what you believe! THIS IS A WIN-WIN PEOPLE!


P.S. The Facebook lady is anti-elitist and anti-men if that helps you paint a picture. I would engage her in conversation, but online is NOT the way to do it. Maybe that’s why I liked the Princeton Charter Club a lot: you could talk face-to-face with people about issues that you may not have seen eye-to-eye about.