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extremely poor analogy; NOT discrimination

Reader comment on item: Niqabs and Burqas Banned at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
in response to reader comment: Discrimination!!!!

Submitted by commonsense (United States), Jan 18, 2010 at 16:36

Bans on obscuring the face in unsealed public spaces are NOT religious discrimination, since everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, is subject to them.

A veiled person who lifts her/his veil, shows her/his face and a photo ID to security personnel before s/he steps on a plane is a TOTALLY different case from the case of people wearing face-obscuring attire in larger public spaces such as the streets, most buildings and so forth!. The analogy is NOT even remotely close. Someone getting on a plane today is temporarily getting into a sealed space where weapons and other potentially lethal devices have been rigorously screened for, and where no one who has not been so rigorously screened can enter or exit for the duration of a flight. Obviously, in larger public spaces hardly anyone (except perhaps those on parole), including those with face-obscuring attire, has been pre-screened for their identity, weapons-possession, or etc. .Face-obscuring attire in public allows the perpetrators of assault, theft, hit-and-run, murder and many other types of serious crime to hide their identity and make conviction impossible unless the perp is immediately apprehended (which very rarely happens) and forced to reveal his/her face. Eyewitness testimony against perpetrators who wear face-veils during a crime or accident will be impossible.

Face-obscuring attire also allows criminals to hide the identity of those that they have victimized by abduction or physical abuse. (A kidnapped child named Elizabeth Smart was hidden in plain sight from detection because she was forced to wear a face-mask in public; intervention to help victims of domestic abuse sometimes occurs when an outsider sees the evidence of abuse on the face or body). In America, almost all abducted children that have been recovered have been recovered because someone recognized their face from a publicly-released photo. If children and teens are routinely veiled this will be impossible, since the abductor will simply veil the abducted child or teen, knowing that outsiders dare not interfere with a supposedly "religious" right to veil someone who appears to be part of a household.

In a highly mobile, populous societies, where weapons are readily available (i.e. most modern societies) the obscuring of facial identity in non-sealed public spaces makes it impossible to identify anyone who commits a crime in public or who has been victimized by crimes. By allowing people to obscure their faces in public you take away the right of anyone vicitimized by the dangerous of acts of those in face-obscuring attire (or those who impose it on their victims) a chance to apprehend or prosecute those who wronged them.

At a minimum, if governments are going to allow face-obscuring attire in public, they need to impose very severe additional punishments on anyone involved in an accident or accused of a crime who fails to immediately remove his/her face-covering attire to anyone claiming to be victimized by them. There is a very good reason why hit-and-run is punished more severely than someone who duly identified him/herself after being involved (as perpetrator or victim) in an accident.

Submitting....

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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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