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Re: Your comment

Reader comment on item: Ban the Burqa, Allow the Burkini

Submitted by Jonathan Keiler (United States), Aug 29, 2016 at 17:23

Thanks for your comment to my AT article, and let me add, apropos of nothing, your dad's book "Russia under the Old Regime" which I had in college, was one of the best straight history books I've read.

That said, I don't see how your argument undermines mine, that a avowedly secular state must combat avowedly non-secular provocations. As a pure matter of politics and social media the French response to the burkini has failed.

If France were a healthy secular state, as is the United States (at least for now) I would agree with you. However, France is not. The lashing out over the burkini, even if futile in the end, is a natural and I would say healthy response to a a teenie weenie aspect of a potentially fatal phenomenon.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

The problem is, this leads to absurdities. The National Front, the stalwart of laicité, wants to ban "ostentatious" crosses, kippas, and hijabs, not to speak of burkinis: http://www.marianne.net/fn-veut-interdire-kippa-voile-grande-croix-rue-ce-n-est-pas-nouveau-100245344.html

But what exactly constitutes ostentatious? Must a cross be under a certain size. Does a Star of David have to be worn under clothing? How does one distinguish between a light hijab and a kerchief? When does a modest bathing suit such as Westerners used to wear to the beach verge into burkina-hood?

These are ridiculous questions for a serious government to be concerning itself with, especially at a time with Islamism poses an existential threat to France as it has been the last millennium.

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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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