General Article Fear factor: Europe bans the burqa

Topic Selected: Religion
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By Herman Salton

About the author

Herman Salton is the author of Veiled Threats? Islam, Headscarves and Religious Freedom in America and France, 2008, 380pp. A researcher and freelance writer, he holds a degree in International Relations from Exeter College, Oxford University.

Fear has become the defining trait of contemporary Europe. A savage financial crisis, a single currency in disarray, Greece’s economic turmoil and doubts about further EU integration are good reasons to worry about the future. Yet these are epiphenomena of more fundamental troubles, for Europe’s systemic fears involve nothing less than the extent of her territorial and cultural boundaries. To put it bluntly, an aged Europe feels under threat from a world she once dominated, but which she never properly understood. It is this post-colonial world that is coming back to haunt her. And it is wearing a burqa.

A full veil with a grille through which women can see, this garment was originally introduced by the Ta...

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