Never known for its warm and welcoming manner, France has outdone itself.
First, it has deported Gypsies, an act condemned by the European Union. But no sanctions were levied.
Now the legislature has banned burqas — the Muslim full-on veil. Maybe people — me included — think that it is a little imprisoning to be totally covered at all times. But the government of a politically democratic (and culturally snobby) country outlawing an outward sign of piety? What if France wanted to outlaw the kipah (the beanie worn by religious Jewish men and cardinals and popes) or the sheitl (wig worn by religious Jewish women), would there be an outcry?? I think the answer is clearly yes.
Deportations . . . singling out customs of a religious minority . . . hmmm. . . . Is it Germany 1933? Sad, but true, it is France 2010.
And don’t think this is an aberration. Belgium and Spain are considering a burqa ban, too.
Lest we forget . . .
First, they came for the Jews. But I was not a Jew, so I did not speak up.
Then they came for the communists. But I was not a communist, so I did not speak up.
Then they came for the trade unionists. But I was not a trade unionist, so I did not speak up.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
(Attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984))