Les pays où l’on a interdit la « burqa »

Maria Rodriguez-McKey

Le New York Times a recensé les pays qui ont interdit la « burqa » (voile à visage couvert). Il s’agit du Denmark, les Pays Bas, la Norvège; l’Autriche, France, Belgique, Allemagne et cette année la « belle province », le Québec.

Les défenseurs dissent que la loi sert à encourager les immigrants à s’intégrer. On adopte une loi punitive pour mieux intégrer?  Ils dissent aussi qu’ils veulent éviter les communautarismes.  Mais les raisons pour le communautarisme sont multiples. Comme exemple, je vais parler de mon expérience Américaine avec l’immigration.

Il y a quelques années quand je vivais et travaillais à Washington D.C.  mon quartier était très mixte.  Il y avait surtout beaucoup d’ immigrants de El Salvador. Je travaillais pour un cabinet d’avocats d’immigration. Ces immigrants issus de la campagne ou de petit villages, parfois ils se connaissent de là-bas ‘ « the old country »), ils étaient souvent analphabètes, parlaient quasiment pas l’anglais, ils avaient plusieurs petits jobs, les familles vivaient entassés dans des petits appartements. Comme les italiens au début du siècle, ou les irlandais à la même époque ou avant.

Justement, concernant les Irlandais, des catholiques, L’Amérique n’a pas toujours été  le « melting pot » d’aujourd’hui. Au début de son histoire c’était un pays majoritairement anglo-saxon, c’est-à-dire d’origine anglaise et protestante. Mais dans les années 1840 les Etats-Unis a eu besoin de main d’œuvre. Les anglo-saxons ont donc fait venir les on a fait venir des irlandais, des Catholiques.

Les Catholiques représentaient 1% des Américains en 1790, en 1840 3,5%  mais en une génération la population américaine avait augmenté de 70% et les Catholiques de 300%. De nos jours ils sont 29%. (« Early U.S. Catholics and Catholic Immigrants 1790-1850 » –  Par: Tom Frascella, mars   2014)

Une réaction à cette immigration massive le mouvement nativiste est né et le parti Know Nothing. Un parti anti Catholique qui ne gagna jamais une élection sauf une fois à la mairie de Boston dans le Massachusetts, d’où est originaire John Kennedy.

Les Catholiques étaient perçu comme de immigrants obéissant le Vatican donc un Etat étranger. Heureusement qu’aux Etats-Unis il y avait et il y a toujours le scrutin majoritaire à un tour qui difficile voir impossible la percé d’un troisième parti. Aux Etats-Unis les Catholiques votent majoritairement ( ) pour le Parti Démocrate et représentent la droite du parti.

Si je mentionne l’aspect politique c’est parce qu’Europe, dernièrement l’Allemagne, les partis dits « populistes » ont le vent en poupe. Ils sont majoritairement anti – musulman. Et d’ailleurs le New York Times en fait un article.

Les lois contre la « burqa » sont discriminatoires contre celles qui le portent et pour ceux qui croient que cela combat les djihadistes, et il ne faut pas se tromper d’ennemi.

Voici deux articles du New York Times. Le premier traite la question de l’interdiction de la burqa par nombreux pays, le deuxième ou comment le l’extrême droite gagne l’Europe.

Burqa Bans: Which Countries Outlaw Face Coverings?

By LIAM STACKOCT. 19, 2017

PARIS — The Canadian province of Quebec is the latest place to make it a crime to wear a face-covering garment in public, a move that critics derided as discriminatory against Muslim women.

Quebec’s law, enacted on Wednesday, is the first of its kind in North America, but similar measures — sometimes referred to as burqa bans — have existed in Europe for years.

Very few Muslim women in Europe or North America wear full-face veils, but laws that forbid the coverings have come into force in at least five West European countries. Many more lawmakers — including in Denmarkthe Netherlands and Norway — have considered them.

Supporters of the laws say they are necessary to protect public safety, defend Western values or encourage migrants to assimilate into their new societies. But rights groups say they discriminate against Muslim women, some of whom view garments like niqabs and burqas as a religious obligation.

Here’s a look at efforts in some Western countries to restrict the wearing of face-covering garments in public.

CoCanada

The French-speaking province of Quebec has barred people with face coverings from receiving public services or from working in government jobs.

That means it is illegal for them to ride a public bus, work as a doctor or teacher, or receive publicly funded health care while covering their faces.

The government said people could apply for exemptions, but some are already built into the law: Doctors are allowed to wear a surgical mask that covers the lower half of the face, but not a veil that does the same thing.

Quebec’s minister of justice, Stéphanie Vallée, said the law fostered social cohesion, but critics disagreed. Ihsaan Gardee, the executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, called it “an unnecessary law with a made-up solution to an invented problem.”

Austria

Austria’s ban on face coverings took effect in October. The law forbids women from wearing garments like burqas or niqabs in public, including in universities, public transportation or courthouses. Violators can be fined 150 euros, or about $175.

Muna Duzdar, a state secretary in the office of Chancellor Christian Kern, told reporters in May that the measure was part of a broader package intended to help immigrants assimilate to life in Austria.

But the law has proved difficult to enforce.

Last week, the police issued citations to two people: a male activist protesting the law by wearing a mask and a suit covered in €100 notes; and a man wearing a shark costume as part of a sidewalk advertising campaign for a chain of computer stores called McShark, who refused to remove the head piece when asked to do so.

France

In 2011, France became the first country in Western Europe to ban face-covering garments like the burqa or niqab in public, although the law did not explicitly mention Islam. The move made it illegal to cover one’s face in public places including streets and stores, as a security measure. Those who break the law face fines of up to €150.

The law has been divisive in France, which has long been riven by tensions between its Muslim population, Europe’s largest, and those who support the state ideology of secularism.

Last year a string of beach towns went one step further, driven in part by a string of deadly terrorist attacks, and banned the burkini, a full-body swimsuit worn by some Muslim women.

Belgium

A law that banned face-covering garments in public also came into effect in Belgium in 2011. Violators could be sentenced to seven days in prison and face a fine of €137.50.

The law was quickly challenged in court by two Muslim women who said it violated their right to privacy and freedom of religion.

But in July, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against them. It said it agreed with Belgium’s argument that the law was meant to “guarantee the conditions of ‘living together’ and the ‘protection of the rights and freedoms of others.’”

Midday prayers at a mosque in Berlin.

Germany

A law banning face coverings while driving took effect in Germany this month, coming on the heels of legislation prohibiting anyone in the civil service, military or working for an election from covering their faces.

Bavaria took the measure one step further, banning teachers and university professors from covering their faces.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced increasing pressure from the right in recent years and supported the new legislation last year as part of measures to help assimilation into society. She told reporters at the time, “From my standpoint, a fully veiled woman scarcely has a chance at full integration in Germany.”

There are roughly four million Muslims in Germany, about a quarter of whom arrived from 2015 to 2016 from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, after Ms. Merkel opened the border.

Muslims in Ribnovo, Bulgaria, in 2014. The country passed a law on face coverings in 2016.CreditSean Gallup/Getty Images

Bulgaria

Following in the footsteps of its larger European Union partners, Bulgaria banned face-covering garments in government offices, schools and cultural institutions in 2016.

Lawmakers who supported the measure denied it was discriminatory. They said it was intended to help the country respond to potential security issues posed by the migrant crisis.

But most Muslims in Bulgaria are native-born members of the country’s long-established Turkish minority. They make up about 12 percent of the population and few of them wear niqabs or other face coverings, according to Reuters.

In Czech Election, a New Threat to European Unity

By RICK LYMANOCT. 17, 2017

nytimes.com

Right-wing parties have been achieving electoral success in a growing number of nations.

PRAGUE — He’s a media-wise billionaire used to getting his own way, and promising to run the government like a business. He wants immigrants to stay away. And although his political positions are tricky to pin down, they are tinged with populist and muscular rhetoric.

Andrej Babis, 63, who built an agribusiness and media empire in the ruins of the Soviet collapse, is the front-runner to become the Czech Republic’s new prime minister, running as the leader of a movement he created a few years ago for that very purpose.

He is like Trump, really,” said Jiri Pehe, a political analyst and director of New York University in Prague. “You can watch him and see how he suffers in Parliament, forced to listen to other people.”

In a year in which Europe has teetered through a series of fateful votes — in the NetherlandsFranceBritainGermanySpain and then this weekend in Austria — the outcome of Czech parliamentary elections on Friday and Saturday may well determine whether a fissure between the more prosperous nations of Western Europe and the increasingly authoritarian countries of the East will widen into a chasm.

In the West, nationalist and populist parties have made substantial gains in recent elections. But in the East, resentment of Brussels and resistance to immigration have helped propel such parties to power in several countries, notably Poland and Hungary. Now, the Czech Republic may join them.

Whether a wealthy oligarch with vast financial interests would prove as illiberal as Viktor Orban, Hungary’s populist prime minister, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s governing right-wing party, remains uncertain in a country as secular and Western-oriented as the Czech Republic. But Mr. Babis has suggested abolishing the Czech Senate and trimming the lower house of Parliament, moves that would strengthen the executive branch.

Following a pattern that has become familiar in European elections, the Czech vote pits longstanding mainstream parties in decline against anti-establishment upstarts from all corners of the political spectrum.

The youth-dominated Czech Pirate Party, which began in 2009 by calling for using the internet to streamline democracy, has seen its support in polls cross the 5 percent threshold to qualify for Parliament.

On the far right, Tomio Okamura — a half-Czech, half-Japanese entrepreneur whose Liberty and Direct Democracy Party opposes immigration, and calls Islam an ideology rather than a religion — drew 6.9 percent in the last election and is expected to do better this time around.

Ivan Bartos, the leader of the Czech Pirate Party, at a rally in Klatovy this month. The youth-dominated party has seen its support in polls rise above 5 percent, the threshold to qualify for Parliament.

Mr. Babis refers to his party, Ano, as a movement to overturn a culture of corruption among the political elite. Ano means “yes” in Czech, but it is also an acronym for Action of Dissatisfied Citizens. Its slogan is simple and vague: “Things will get better.”

Mr. Babis’s movement, formed in 2012, stunned the establishment by finishing second in parliamentary elections the following year, a strong enough showing to propel him and several supporters into major roles in a coalition government with the center-left Social Democratic Party and the center-right Christian Democratic Union. Mr. Babis served as finance minister.

But this spring, with Ano surging in popularity, the coalition fractured. Mr. Babis was investigated over possible tax crimes. His parliamentary immunity was revoked. He was fired as finance minister. And this month he was indicted on charges of misusing European Union subsidies — accusations that he calls politically motivated.

“The other parties are trying to push Babis out of politics, but it hasn’t worked,” said Pavel Fischer, the director of Stem, a nonprofit polling and research group in Prague.

President Milos Zeman, a populist with strong ties to Moscow, has said that if Ano wins, he will name Mr. Babis prime minister — even if Mr. Babis is in prison.

Ano still leads the polls, helped in no small measure by the oligarch’s grip on the Czech media. He owns or controls the two most popular newspapers, which regularly praise his efforts and denigrate opponents, as well as a popular radio station and a television network.

“He has tremendous power,” said Otto Eibl, a political scientist at Masaryk University in Brno. “So the concentration of power in Babis’s hands is enormous and some people are nervous about it. And they are right.”

But Mr. Babis has been difficult to pin down on the issues. He opposes sanctions on Russia and seeks more trade with Moscow. He does not want to adopt the euro. He is fiercely resistant to accepting refugees, especially Muslims.

He also controls a conglomerate with interests in agribusiness, forestry, food processing and chemicals that stretches across several European countries. A Bloomberg index of global billionaires puts him at No. 492, with an estimated worth of nearly $4.1 billion.

And he is careful to keep his Brussels-bashing on the vague side.

“Babis’s position on the European Union is not clear,because he is not talking about it most of the time,” Mr. Eibl said. “Sometimes he is forced to say something, but he usually avoids such topics.”

Like other former communist nations, the Czech Republic had to create new parties from scratch after the fall of the Soviet Union. Center-left Social Democrats lined up against center-right Civic Democrats, with the remnants of the Communist Party hoping for a return to power.

For more than a decade, with the economy rising at a brisk clip, voters seemed content to pass power among them. But the 2008 financial collapse shattered the equilibrium.

“Now, Czech voters are weary of traditional parties,” Mr. Pehe said. “And we see the rise of these populist movements.”

Antonin Gold, a real estate agent with no political experience, stood outside a subway station this month, wearing a badge identifying him as an Ano candidate for Parliament.

Mr. Gold said he had become so upset by news reports about yet another corruption investigation that he decided to join Mr. Babis’s movement.

“I didn’t think I could ignore it any longer, and I had to take action,” Mr. Gold said, pressing a leaflet into the hands of a woman scurrying past. He shrugged off the corruption charges as a move by the political establishment to cling to power.

Polls show Ano drawing 25 to 30 percent of the vote, well ahead of the second-place Social Democrats, though predicting the outcome is complicated.

“Many people still are not sure who they will vote for,” Mr. Fischer said. “The last days will be crucial.”

For his part, Mr. Babis has gone back and forth on comparisons with Mr. Trump, initially calling himself a much better businessman than the American president but later finding more to like in Mr. Trump’s hard line on immigration.

Mr. Okamura, of the far right, certainly sees a connection between his approach and Mr. Trump’s.

“I say we must make the Czech Republic good,” Mr. Okamura said. “Not great. I wanted to choose a word that Trump had not chosen. But of course, great would be fine.”

 

 

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