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October 11, 2004
More Scarf Stupidity

The London Telegraph reports that a German initiative banning headscarves for Muslim teachers has backfired in Baden Wuerttemberg, where a federal judge ruled the ban must also apply to Roman Catholic nuns who teach:

Nuns who teach in state schools in the Black Forest region of Germany are to be banned from wearing their habits in the classroom in line with a judgment on Muslim headscarves, a federal court has ruled. The federal administrative court decreed that it would be unjust if a law passed this year in the southern state of Baden Wrttemberg prohibiting Muslim women teachers from wearing headscarves did not also apply to Christian symbols.

"There can be no exception. Any form of religiously motivated clothing in certain regions is not in question," said the written ruling from the court in Leipzig, eastern Germany.

I wrote earlier this year, regarding the broader French ban, that such laws not only were virtually unenforceable but would lead to the squelching of all religious expression, and that the poorly-written laws would generate all sorts of unintended consequences. Entire bureaucracies would have to be created to determine which types of dress and jewelry violate the law and which conform, and in the end the subjective nature of such judgements would only result in anger and frustration.

Welcome to Baden Wuerttemberg.

Laws that intrude on personal expression for such little overall gain -- and their can be no doubt that eliminating headscarves do nothing for German society except give the illusion of homogeneousness -- create contempt for the law, and later contempt for the government which imposes it. The federal judge has just made the subset of people impacted by this law exponentially wider, as the majority Catholics in the state will no doubt find the idea that a nun's habit could be threatening laughable. It's too bad they didn't come to the same conclusion about Muslim headscarves.

If the Europeans would quit engaging in folly about the superficial aspects of the Muslim problem, perhaps they would have time to do something constructive about Islamofascist terror in the Middle East, such as actively support the creation of a liberal democratic state in Iraq. Such an example could spread across the region with enough backing from the West, eliminating the oppression that fuels the radicals. Once the terrorists have become marginalized and the Arabs free for the first time in history to determine their own governance, the flood of Muslims into central Europe would cease and perhaps even reverse itself -- solving their immigration problems naturally.

However, as long as France, Germany, and others insist on prosecuting for the way they cover their heads, then we cannot count on them for any serious thought or leadership in the war on terror.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 11, 2004 7:52 AM

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