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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.


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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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