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Uncover for Security's Sake?

Reader comment on item: Boston Bombing Lesson: Ban Niqabs and Burqas

Submitted by Martin H. Katchen (United States), Apr 21, 2013 at 19:31

I have to confess that back during the Second Intifada when Israelis were being murdered by suicide bombers right and left, I toyed with the idea that for the sake of preventing suicide bombing, everyone in Israel should dress in revealing clothing in public places and that Orthodox Jewish values of snius must give way to pikuach hanefesh in order that bombs not be concealed. Fortunately, a combination of the Security Fence, increased watchfulness and arming of Israelis and the exhaustion of Palestinian Arabs ended the Second Intifada before such measures became thinkable, but the question does remain. Or even insist that bags and backpacks be transparent, which would seem to be an elementary and reasonable first precaution before going to the extent of legislating fashion.

In a free society, especially one with religious freedom, what is the balance between modesty, fashion and security when religiously based covering can be easily used to cover up a criminal or terrorist's identity and what is the proper response?

Countries like France or Mexico or even the UK with traditions of secularism and Parliamentary superiority may be able to get away with banning burkas in public places, but I cannot see the United States managing to do so. Though I can easily see PRIVATE public places such as banks, retail outlets and even private universities managing to do so.

Fortunately, technology was developed by the Transportation Safety Administration (though too controversial for them to fully implement) that deals with that particular problem if it can be installed on our surveillance cameras and drones and in police cars. It is possible for police and security people to see under people's clothing and under these circumstances, people are just going to have to live with the loss of privacy that that entails. We may have to accept that police have a right to see inside people's clothing and see who is carrying a weapon and if it is a place like New York with a strict anti-gun law, arrest them for it and if it is a place with a legal carry permit, ask to see that carry permit. That may be the price for seeing if someone is carrying a bomb, and it will stop a lot of street crime cold too. And banks and storeowners may need cameras that can see underneath burkas and masks in the event of a robbery, since robbers may not politely come up to the teller window with a note while wearing a burka or a balaclava. (And if occasionally, details of customer's anatomy turn up online, the bank can only cringe and invest in better internal security and pay higher insurance premiums later). After all, the United States, Canada and much of Europe have cold climates in which covering up in winter is necessary. Terrorists could simply wait for winter to attack when their identity would be obscured by the context of inclement weather. Even in a place like O'Hare Airport on the day before Thanksgiving--the biggest tavel day of the year. Or in the lift line of a ski area or a ski competition where a ski mask would not be out of place.

The real problem with going after burkas, though is that it distracts people's attention on a mutitude and minority of individual Muslim citizens and residents and what they happen to be wearing, instead of focusing American's concern on the real problem which is continued American investment in Saudi Arabia and continued Saudi investment in the United States that funds terrorism. surely we should be more concerned with the Saudi royalty and it's money that t continues to fund terrorism, some of which we contribute at the pump, than with what people from a variety of countries, mostly women happen to be wearing. WAe need to worry less about the niqab and more about what's in the bank account of the man three paces in front of the woman wearing the niqab and where that money might be going.


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Reader comments (90) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Reverse discrimination? [133 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
PrashantMay 29, 2013 17:06206563
Inequality [67 words]Mohamed HussainMay 17, 2013 06:22206116
Irrelevance [81 words]Just BeinfairMay 28, 2013 07:03206116
1islamists use the niqab to hide their terrorist actions [28 words]Phil GreendApr 27, 2013 18:02205683
1Inquiry [14 words]JGApr 25, 2013 11:31205596
Inquiry [53 words]J GApr 25, 2013 11:23205595
Distinguishing Motives that are Not Purely Religious and Cannot be Hidden [432 words]M. ToveyApr 22, 2013 18:00205460
1Enemy Combatant [46 words]Clifford IshiiApr 24, 2013 14:08205460
Determination of a Legal Premise or a Political one [571 words]M. ToveyApr 25, 2013 19:12205460
2After Boston, Ban Guns Not Burqus... [124 words]Jerry DeibertApr 22, 2013 17:37205458
9Other Lessons of the islamic Boston Bombings et al. [272 words]Domenic PepeApr 22, 2013 17:32205457
4Only a beginning [250 words]John GrenierApr 22, 2013 10:55205441
John Grenier missed the point [408 words]PrashantApr 23, 2013 21:10205441
stop a series, the danger of cameras [144 words]mythApr 22, 2013 06:48205429
proliferation of Burqa and Niqab into South Africa [243 words]howard hersh pageApr 22, 2013 04:43205425
1Safety for all [59 words]WilsonApr 22, 2013 02:39205421
2I have had enough of Islam and what it represents [203 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
NuritGApr 22, 2013 02:35205420
Re Nurit's comment [189 words]Kepha HorApr 28, 2013 08:40205420
Judge Jeanine Pirro speaks for me [34 words]NuritGApr 29, 2013 23:25205420
Jeanne Pirro [8 words]Kepha HorMay 4, 2013 15:19205420
Disagreement [107 words]cmtljnpkirptsvji1683Jun 21, 2013 23:09205420
Were they double agents who betrayed the US? [25 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
PTApr 22, 2013 01:41205418
1Right again [46 words]LauraApr 22, 2013 01:08205417
2Muslims ban all religious attire of infidels. [11 words]IamJosephApr 21, 2013 21:45205406
Tsarnaev Brothers Forgot to Wear Their Niqabs & Burqas [265 words]RexApr 21, 2013 20:43205404
1what happened to religious freedom? [187 words]miri schwartzApr 21, 2013 19:56205400
1Fallacy of moral equivalency [201 words]DmitryApr 22, 2013 08:03205400
1Religious Freedom Can Be Abused [254 words]Mike RamirezApr 22, 2013 09:12205400
1Religious Freedom??? [97 words]John GrenierApr 22, 2013 09:24205400
Reread the post [69 words]Susan KApr 22, 2013 12:08205400
2They Lost Their Rights to Religious Freedom When They Waged Jihad on Us [28 words]SteveApr 22, 2013 12:24205400
10Veiling of Women: Qur'an 33:59 [167 words]Mike RamirezApr 22, 2013 20:51205400
VEIL [156 words]Susan KApr 22, 2013 23:53205400
not bashing anyone [64 words]miri schwartzApr 23, 2013 20:18205400
is there a solution? [131 words]miri schwartzApr 23, 2013 20:31205400
Rights of religious freedom [284 words]PrashantApr 23, 2013 20:31205400
decapitation of animals?? [38 words]miri schwartzApr 23, 2013 20:33205400
solutions?? [130 words]miri schwartzApr 23, 2013 20:41205400
interesting [35 words]miri schwartzApr 23, 2013 20:43205400
1Abrogated Surahs [194 words]Mike RamirezApr 23, 2013 20:54205400
Correction [48 words]Mike RamirezApr 23, 2013 22:06205400
3But faces are what is being discussed [117 words]saraApr 24, 2013 21:30205400
Veil [137 words]Susan KApr 24, 2013 22:36205400
Veil [360 words]Susan KApr 24, 2013 23:01205400
Yes, it's about covering the face. [271 words]Mike RamirezApr 25, 2013 00:29205400
Not offended [246 words]Mike RamirezApr 25, 2013 01:35205400
Waste of time [57 words]DmitryApr 25, 2013 18:38205400
A Matter of Interpretation [344 words]Mike RamirezApr 26, 2013 00:23205400
2Uncover for Security's Sake? [666 words]Martin H. KatchenApr 21, 2013 19:31205398
Tracking terrorists via e-imagery [215 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
GloriaApr 21, 2013 19:04205396
Response to Dr. Pipes' response [82 words]GloriaApr 22, 2013 10:59205396
Boston Bombers [241 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Argus 4Apr 21, 2013 18:25205394
Great tip [7 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
nickApr 21, 2013 18:06205393
Yes it is definitely about surviellance [66 words]SoloApr 21, 2013 17:19205392
4KKK [11 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
jeremy neimandApr 21, 2013 16:49205390
I hold my breath. [39 words]DmitryApr 21, 2013 16:06205388
2It seems that the 19 year old criminal might have also killed his 26 year old criminal brother [84 words]dhimmi no moreApr 21, 2013 15:37205386
In the fog of terrorism [21 words]James J.Apr 22, 2013 13:11205386
2Yes, Outlaw the Wearing of Niqabs and Burqas in America [115 words]Mike RamirezApr 21, 2013 14:43205384
8Ban Sharia Laws too [86 words]Michael Hanni MorcosApr 21, 2013 14:21205383
1Agreed, but a step further.... [96 words]John GrenierApr 22, 2013 09:33205383
2Sharia-free is the answer [135 words]Michael Hanni MorcosApr 22, 2013 23:28205383
1trojan burqa or niqab [56 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
jeromeApr 21, 2013 14:19205382
3Why? [180 words]Jon TekmaApr 21, 2013 14:13205381
Why not? [8 words]James J.Apr 22, 2013 13:17205381
people of the book [43 words]miri schwartzApr 23, 2013 20:48205381
2Wrong on both counts, Miri [81 words]saraApr 24, 2013 21:35205381
We're just a couple of cool guys, pay us no attention [161 words]Edward ClineApr 21, 2013 13:55205379
But would it work? [147 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
John in Michigan, USAApr 21, 2013 13:48205378
1Politically Corrrect Rules [20 words]Carey PageApr 21, 2013 13:06205375
Loyalty & subversion [91 words]DAVID R.GROESBECKApr 21, 2013 12:50205373
1COMMON SENSE [82 words]Susan KApr 21, 2013 12:32205372
2Theroerically ... ? [46 words]DevonApr 21, 2013 12:31205371
2This type of thinking has weakened our society [72 words]John GrenierApr 22, 2013 09:42205371
1for John Grenier [20 words]Kepha HorApr 22, 2013 19:45205371
proves its not theorhetical [22 words]miri schwartzApr 23, 2013 20:57205371
1Got that backwards... [90 words]saraApr 24, 2013 21:39205371
An Unfortunate Article [33 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Susan IrelandApr 21, 2013 11:57205370
common sense [28 words]Jan LapterApr 22, 2013 05:33205370
2they already know [42 words]rick oneilApr 23, 2013 16:25205370
Burqa Jihad [111 words]cmtljnpkirptsvji1683Jun 21, 2013 23:45205370
4Kuffar to the rescue [138 words]PrashantApr 21, 2013 04:17205354
1Kuffar [23 words]LilyApr 21, 2013 23:59205354
Not familiar with this term [34 words]John GrenierApr 22, 2013 09:36205354
2The term 'kuffar' [35 words]stanley bApr 22, 2013 19:13205354
2The meaning of the word Kuffar [37 words]RaoApr 23, 2013 10:36205354
Thank God for the Kuffar! [37 words]Jack Z.Apr 23, 2013 12:16205354
1Kuffar [73 words]Ali BabaApr 23, 2013 16:38205354
4Meaning of Kuffar- Hebrew word [87 words]saraApr 23, 2013 19:38205354
17Borowing without consent-is Stealing [134 words]Michael Hanni MorcosApr 23, 2013 22:57205354

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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