French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the Muslim burqa is a sign of subservience for women that undermines their dignity.For clarity. This is a burqa:
And for the nitwits who think a hijab and a burqa are basically the same thing here's the difference:
Mr Sarkozy made the comments during a historic address in a special sitting of both houses of the French Parliament at the Palace of Versailles.
For more than a century, French presidents have been banned from speaking directly to Senators and MPs.
The argument has always been that parliament should preserve its independence from the president but Mr Sarkozy changed the rules.
That was controversial enough, but perhaps not as controversial as what he used the address for: stating that the burqa was an affront to women.
"The burqa is not a sign of religion. It is a sign of enslavement. It is a sign of subservience," he said.
Exactly correct. There are few greater symbols of oppression than the burqa. It's up there with the swastika, the hammer and sickle and the KKK insignia.
The French leader spoke in favour of a recent call by 65 French MPs to create a parliamentary commission to study a small but growing trend of wearing the full body religious garment in France.
"I want to say officially, it will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic," he said.
"We cannot accept in our country women imprisoned behind netting; cut off from any social life, deprived of any identity.
"This is not the idea the French republic has of a woman's dignity."
Some parliamentarians boycotted Mr Sarkozy's historic speech, dismissing the President's address as nothing more than a public relations stunt.
But Mr Sarkozy struck a chord among the French population, who voted overwhelmingly in favour of his centre right UMP party in the recent European elections.
The head of European research at the Global Policy Institute at the London Metropolitan University, Jacques Reland, is a keen observer of French politics.
"I think a lot of people in France feel really ill at ease with the burqa," he said.
I went to the local shopping mall on the weekend and there was a woman dressed in a burqa. It is a confronting sight. How it can be defended as a personal choice when it's clearly not is yet another sign of the cognitive dissonance of the left.
"I am pretty sure that a lot of French people are saying yes, [what Mr Sarkozy said] is the way it should be."
Sarah Joseph is the editor of Britain's only Muslim lifestyle magazine, emel.
She says many Muslim women use the burqa as an expression of their faith and are not forced to wear it by anyone else.
"I mean, I colour my hair. I don't wear [some forms of Islamic dress] myself but I will defend someone's right to do so or not to do so," she said.
"If you deny a woman's right to choose, that is denying them dignity and denying them their freedom, and it won't create a society of more integrated French citizens, it will create a division in France which will be very unfortunate and deny women their right to participate fully in French society."
Cognitive dissonance on full display in all its glory...
Mr Sarkozy says he is just defending a secular state.Charles Johnson at LGF used a very appropriate quote from Christopher Hitchens the other day, "The secular state is the guarantee of religious pluralism. This apparent paradox, again, is the simplest and most elegant of political truths."
France is home to an estimated five million Muslims. In 2004, the country passed a law forbidding any conspicuous religious symbols from state schools, including veils, which were also banned in government offices.
The burqa is a symbol of a backward, unenlightened society.
If we in the modern world accept such a symbol of oppression then do we advance our society, do nothing to our society or diminish or society and values?
Paradoxically, those on the left think that accepting the burqa is an example of our advancement.
Clear thinking people have a different view.